Rewind a few months back, Gen.G and FaZe Clan were two middling teams in North America, both talented, but shaky in execution. Yet, after two incredibly fruitful coaching hires and some roster transformations, both squads stand as two of the best teams in North America, having made it all the way to the top three of Valorant Masters.
Both Gen.G and FaZe Clan have shown incredible amounts of improvement in the first Valorant Masters tournament, but in the Lower Bracket Final, it was FaZe Clan’s aggression winning out against Gen.G, earning the team its Grand Finals rematch against Sentinels.
FaZe had an impressive run in the Upper Bracket, only losing its first series this past Friday, getting outplayed by Tyson “TenZ” Ngo and Sentinels. However, Gen.G was knocked to the Lower Bracket way back on the first day of competition after losing to Envy, and quietly ran through the entire Lower Bracket before finally losing to FaZe in the lower finals.
An Adaptive Smeag
One of the concerns raised about FaZe Clan’s aggressive “Smeag,” is that the players hadn’t yet shown the ability to adapt mid-game. FaZe had been rolling its way through the recent Valorant Champions Tour events, only getting stopped by Sentinels on Friday, who had a perfect read on FaZe, shutting them down fairly dominantly.
On Saturday, Gen.G came out with some creative techniques in an attempt to shut down the Smeag. Playing very slowly, Gen.G sat back patiently, played for map control and countered FaZe’s aggression by spamming utility.
This worked, with Gen.G winning a fair amount of rounds on Bind, but FaZe read its opponent’s strategy and played around the utility spam. Babybay found ways to dodge the incoming utility and weaved his way around the spam to pick up kills on unsuspecting Gen.G members.
It was incredibly impressive from the FaZe squad; heading into the Grand Finals rematch against Sentinels, FaZe Clan’s chances lean on its ability to adapt to the opponent’s strategies.
The Impact of a Great Coach
It wasn’t long ago when the outlook of both Gen.G and FaZe Clan seemed to be on an ever-lasting ski-trail. Both roster showed signs of potential, but neither were able to translate that potential into tangible results.
In early February, however, Gen.G brought in coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore. In early March, FaZe Clan brought in coach Thomas “Trippy” Schappy. Since those hires, both rosters have completely reinvented themselves. The incredible talent both rosters possess has finally been unlocked, playing off their teammates with coordination, something neither roster showed fans in 2020.
Although the credit rightfully belongs to the players actually competing on stage, it’s important to note the impact that a great coach can have on those players. Coaching is an area that many professional teams in various games underutilize, and FaZe Clan and Gen.G have shown the world why.
The Rematch is Coming
One of the most hyped Valorant matches in recent memory ended in disappointment for many fans, as TenZ and his new teammates dominated FaZe Clan on Friday. Sentinels had a perfect read on the Smeagin’ squad, outgunning FaZe to a 2-0 series sweep.
After shutting down red-hot Gen.G, FaZe Clan has earned its rematch against its aggressive counterpart. At the end of the day, it will all come down to whether or not FaZe Clan will be able to adapt to Sentinel’s reads.
We’ve already seen Sentinels outgun FaZe once, and no one wants to see the exact same thing happen again in the Grand Finals of Valorant Masters. Will babybay, Corey “corey” Nigra and the rest of FaZe Clan be able to stand up to the challenge? All we can do is watch and find out. The Grand Finals take place on Sunday, March 21 with the first map kicking off at 4 p.m. EDT.