The NiKo Effect

Faze and NiKo look strong, ever since Niko’s departure from Mousesports, the international line-up of ex. players seem stronger and better than ever.Thus far the each player brings their own individual renown to the team. So why are Faze a top contender for being the best team in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
Well...                               I really like this gray box. I can go really far to the right too! woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

300px-FaZe_Clanlogo_squareYou’ve got Karrigan‘s in game leading; who’s style of explosive T-sides and set pieces have made Faze a deadly team to play off. Karrigan was part of TSM in their CS prime and a key founding member in Astralis. He’s arguably the most knowledgeable IGL in scene. Rain‘s consistent fragging and site holds have made him a dangerous player to be caught off guard by. He’s also the only player to be a part of the line-up since the group was first formed. KioShiMa was kicked from what was the old dream french team, labeled as “the problem”. Ever since being picked up by Faze, he’s prove time and time again he’s no problem. He consistently is a star player in his own right, being one of the best riflers and dropping mad frags game after game. Allu being the ex AWPer for NIP had been floating around quite a few unsuccessful teams ever since he left the line-up before being picked up by Faze. When he’s comfortable and can play his own game, he plays his best. In the BO5 final’s of IEM Katowice Allu got this amazing AWP ace. Worryingly though is the fact that if he doesn’t find his comfort zone, he doesn’t have the explosive start to his

matches, yet thankfully the AWP role is taken up by Karrigan from time to time who is more than capable to fill in..

This brings us to NiKo. I think it’s hilarious how much I seem to idolise this man. I always had faith in him in his old line-up. He stuck with them for what was a massive slump, where he had to carry them through games, and where they were not qualifying to tournaments, disappointing fans. All the while he had some of the best ratings at all these tournaments. Earlier this week I was watching the Faze vs Immortals at IEM Katawice, with a friend who was staying at mine after school while she was finishing up with french oral work. I eventually described the whole situation with NiKo and how this new Faze roster has huge potential and the fact that he’s made it into the semi-finals with this new team after only 4 days of being together, getting better results than his years of work with Mouz. She told me earlier this week that she went home and watched a few highlight videos on Niko and how incredible he seemed to be. In my last article (and technically first) on the blog, I described him as:

“NiKo” who was considered by all in early 2016 to be the best player in the world. Mousesports fared horribly at the major but at DreamHack Las Vegas, they had albeit small, a resurgence, making it into the group stages, this will be last time “NiKo” plays for mousesports as he moves over to FaZe in what a lot of people consider an overdue team change for one of the best players in the world.

As you can see, I hold Nikola “NiKo” Kovač in very high regard and I consider him one of the best players in the game. I don’t want to drag on and discuss the many things he brings to the team, except that for the number 1 spot;

Faze are a now a big contender.

But wait,

Astralis            are a big contender.

Virtus. Pro      are a big contender.

SK                         are a big contender.

North               are a big contender.

Never before in Global Offensive history have 4 teams been in a position to jostle and fight close games for the top position. We’ve got massive and diverse talent. Arguably North haven’t gotten to a grand final just yet, but the same can be said for Na’Vi and the new supposed “french super team” of G2.

In CS:GO we’re used to teams swapping positions on the leader-board but out of each chaotic phase of uncertainty, there’s always been a dominant team to take over and reign as the best. You had the NIP era, the Fnatic/LDLC era and then the Luminosity/SK era. We’ve had the fall of the Fnatic reign and out of that came the unbeatable Luminosity (now SK) group. The problem now is, the SK line-up haven’t, and don’t want to give up their crown. Instead we have a ruling of 4 teams, and like the plot of Game of Thrones they all fight for power and dominance over rival clans. The addition of NiKo to Faze signals a new banner on the battle-field.  As the old Banners of Fnatic and NIP lay trampled on the battle-grounds we call competitive counter-strike, we have four main rivals gearing for war, with other clans resting at the frays ready to step up if and take the position if any of these teams falter.

This long winded metaphor over, this means great things for the future of competitive cs. As we gain more and more popularity and continue our lead past other eSports in viewership, more teams are becoming better than before. It’s no longer just a confidence game, where teams are scared to beat the most dominant team but a battle for proving you’re the best, of the best. In the coming tournaments we’re going to see harder fought games, more rivalry between teams and from each player on one of these teams, a new passion to be the best.

CS:GO has come a long way from being a simple eSport that was relatively successful, it’s now the most popular Electronic sport we can show the world. It’s a flag ship in introducing the world to sports beyond the physical realm. We are on the way to becoming the most recognised online sport in the world and with that, the effect of NiKo making Faze one of the “possible best” in the scene, we’ve increased the competitive pool of teams for the top spot. For new people introduced to Counter-Strike, this is an exciting time and one we should pay close attention to as one of these teams is either going to be the best and unbeaten for a very long stretch of time or we’re going to be stuck in a constant glorious battle of skill as each team topple each other. I hope for the second, as it makes for great spectacles and more enjoyable games where players can get behind a team a rally for them. This rivals my experience in primary school where we had 4 of the best football teams all play close games against each other and each player would wear his favorite teams jersey and we could feel the rivalry between ourselves.

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