FaZe within reach of Intel Grand Slam after promising bracket draw
The world's best team is one event away from the coveted Intel Grand Slam title.
FaZe are within arm's reach of adding yet another historic achievement to their tally this year. After winning the PGL Antwerp Major, as well as both IEM Katowice and IEM Cologne, they have set their eyes on the Intel Grand Slam.
The international team can secure the $1,000,000 in prize money if they win their next four games and claim the ESL Pro League Season 16 title, which would make them the fourth team to win the IGS alongside Astralis, Liquid, and Natus Vincere.
Finn "karrigan" Andersen's side have won three of the last four IGS events that were held, their first two trophies coming back-to-back at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Season 15. They earned their third notch on the Grand Slam at IEM Cologne where they defeated rivals Natus Vincere in a five-map thriller ahead of the summer break.
FaZe can accomplish the feat in the second-least amount of time possible should they triumph at EPL, only behind the 2019 Liquid roster that emerged victorious at four consecutive Intel Grand Slam events to win the second season.
For comparison, Astralis won four out of nine tournaments to claim the first season's title, clinching their victory at the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals in 2018. Natus Vincere ended 2021 on a high note and claimed three events in the latter part of the year, in addition to their IEM Katowice 2020 victory, to win the third season.
Starting the new season, FaZe placed 4-6th in their first event, BLAST Fall Groups, and most recently finished second in Group A at ESL Pro League with a 4-1 record, not showing their peak performance quite yet. However, their playoff run at EPL begins with a favorable first-round matchup against Complexity, who have largely struggled on the international stage in 2022. Awaiting the winner of the first match is Cloud9, the only team to defeat FaZe at an Intel Grand Slam event this year which they did in the quarter-finals of IEM Dallas, with fnatic, MOUZ, and Liquid also on FaZe's side of the bracket.
Natus Vincere, who have constantly challenged FaZe throughout the year, are located in the opposite side of the bracket together with other Big Event mainstays such as G2, Heroic, Vitality, and FURIA. Given the format of the playoffs, karrigan's crew can only meet one of these teams, and that is at the tournament's BO5 grand final, where the international squad's experience with this 5-man lineup should give them the edge over anyone else in the field. If FaZe were to lose in the grand final, though, their opponent will earn an extra $100,000 "giant killer bonus".
Looking at the status of the IGS race, Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov and company currently sit on one win which came from IEM Dallas 2022. Vitality also have a notch on the IGS from their IEM Winter 2021 victory when they were a fully-French lineup, but it doesn't count towards their current roster's tally as they made three player changes, losing their core after the addition of Lotan "Spinx" Giladi.
The events and winners of Intel Grand Slam Season 4 so far are: