FaZe Clan's Epic Journey to Intel Grand Slam Season 4 - Hellcase Blog
Over several years, professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams have been fighting in epic battles seeking to claim this elite title of the Intel Grand Slam winners and the ultimate $1,000,000 prize.
In this article, we will go over FaZe Clan’s journey of completing a prestigious “side quest”, overview their run at the ESL Pro League Season 17 in detail, and learn about other teams that managed to etch their names in esports history in previous seasons of Intel Grand Slam.
In article you will find:
What Is Intel Grand Slam?
The Intel Grand Slam is a series of seasonal competitions, each featuring a reward of $1,000,000 to CS:GO teams that have won four S-Tier tournaments organized by ESL during a window of 10 consecutive events. These events include ESL Pro League, IEM Katowice, IEM Cologne, and others.
Also, teams that prevent their opponents from clinching the Intel Grand Slam by beating them in the tournament finals receive an additional bonus – $100,000.
It is a prestigious “side quest” competition that adds spice to the tournaments, with fans from around the world tuning in to watch their favorite teams compete for the ultimate prize.
The latest Season 4 of the Intel Grand Slam was won by FaZe Clan. They proved to be a dominant force in the esports world, with their excellent team coordination and individual skills. We will go over their $1,000,000 run and how did they succeed.
FaZe Clan Are The Intel Grand Slam Season 4 Winners
It took 392 days and six failed attempts for FaZe Clan to emerge victorious in four tournaments organized by ESL and claim their $1,000,000 prize, but in the end, they managed to solidify their status as one of the greatest teams in CS:GO history. These tournaments are:
- Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI – Katowice.
- ESL Pro League Season 15.
- Intel Extreme Masters XVII – Cologne.
- ESL Pro League Season 17.
FaZe Clan won IEM Katowice at the end of February 2022, and it was starting point on their way to the ultimate prize of $1,000,000.
Let’s overview their thrilling journey to the elite status of the Intel Grand Slam winners.
Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI – Katowice
IEM Katowice 2022, held from February 15 to 27 in the Spodek Arena, had a $1,000,000 prize pool and Pro Tour and BLAST Points up for grabs. FaZe Clan was one of the twenty-four teams competing for the main prize of $400,000.
Prior to IEM Katowice, FaZe Clan Robin “ropz” Kool tested positive for Covid-19, leading to Justin “jks” Savage standing in for him during the Play-in Stage and the first round of the Group Stage.
FaZe Clan with jks started their IEM Katowice 2022 run in the Play-in Stage, where they defeated Sprout in a close fight on Overpass and MOUZ with a 2:1 score to advance to the Group Stage of the main event.
In the Opening round of Group B, FaZe Clan faced Team Liquid in a BO3 match, in which the American team won the first map, Mirage. Despite a harsh start, FaZe Clan managed to do a comeback, easily winning the remaining two maps, Ancient (16:6) and Inferno (16:9), and closing the series with a 2:1 score.
By that time, ropz was out of isolation. However, the next two group stage matches were the only series FaZe Clan played with their starting five.
After knocking down Team Liquid to the Lower Bracket, FaZe Clan played against fnatic for a spot in the Group B Upper Final. They beat the British team on the opponent’s pick, Overpass, but then were defeated on their Inferno. The winner was decided on Mirage, where FaZe Clan emerged victorious with a 16:9 score.
At this point, FaZe Clan has already secured their spot in the IEM Katowice 2022 Playoffs, but based on the outcome of the match against Natus Vincere, they would either advance to the semi-finals in case they win or go to the quarter-finals if they lose.
The BO3 started on Overpass, which was picked and won in a close fight by FaZe Clan with a 16:13 score. Natus Vincere, in turn, won Dust 2 with a 16:12 score. The decider map, Mirage, became a field for an epic battle that led to overtime, during which Natus Vincere secured the win with a 22:19 score.
The Playoff Stage of the IEM Katowice 2022 was held in the Single Elimination Bracket format, meaning that losing any series meant getting eliminated. It was enough pressure already, but bad news hit FaZe Clan with Håvard “rain” Nygaard testing positive for Covid-19.
Because the rules of the tournament prohibited players from participating in the playoffs at the Spodek Arena while in quarantine, Justin “jks” Savage had to stand in again, but this time for rain.
In the IEM Katowice Quarter-finals, FaZe Clan played against Gambit. They won this match with a 2:0 score, nailing both opponent’s and their picks, and advanced to Semi-finals, where they faced Heroic. FaZe Clan was unstoppable and eliminated the Danish team with the same 2:0 score.
February 27 was the day of the big Grand Final between FaZe Clan and G2. Both teams smashed everyone on their way to the event’s final, not dropping one map in the playoffs.
The BO5 final started on Inferno, picked by FaZe Clan. G2 played on the CT site in the first half and scored 11 rounds by the end of it, making the score 11:4. After teams switched sides, G2 had problems with attacking, and FaZe Clan managed to perform a comeback, transfer the game to overtime, and score the map by winning four rounds in a row.
On Mirage, the tables had turned, but the situation repeated itself. FaZe Clan finished the first half leading with an 11:4 score, but G2 made it 15:15 in the second half, and it led to a very long overtime. The match ended with FaZe Clan winning with a 31:27 score. In total, 58 rounds were needed to determine the winner of Mirage.
After the two most intensive maps, FaZe Clan was only one step away from the championship title, so they gave it all to secure the win. There was a pretty close fight on Dust 2 as well, but FaZe Clan managed to secure the map with a 16:14 and claim the IEM Katowice trophy after beating G2 with a 3:0 score in the Grand Final.
Despite having to play under additional pressure due to the circumstances and roster changes, FaZe Clan showed an amazing performance at the IEM Katowice 2022. This championship title was the first on their way to the Intel Grand Slam.
ESL Pro League Season 15
In the spring of 2022, ESL Pro League Season 15 was held in Düsseldorf, Germany. From March 9 to April 10, twenty-four professional teams competed for a prize pool of $823,000 and a ticket to the BLAST World Final 2022, and FaZe turned out to be the strongest.
FaZe Clan are a partnered ESL team, meaning they had their spot secured at the ESL Pro League Season 15 and did not have to play in the qualifiers.
In Season 15 of the ESL Pro League, the Group Stage was held in the “round-robin” format, and each of the six teams in one group had to play at least one BO3 match against each other. FaZe Clan was seeded in Group B with FURIA, ENCE, Team Vitality, Outsiders, and Sprout. The matches of this group happened between March 16 and March 20.
The first match FaZe Clan played in the ESL Pro League Season 15 Group Stage was against ENCE, which they lost with a 1:2 score. FaZe Clan won their opponent’s pick, Nuke (16:13), but then things escalated, and they lost both Dust 2 (7:16) and Overpass (13:16).
The next day, they faced Outsiders. FaZe Clan played great in the first half of Inferno, securing eight rounds as attackers. However, the Europeans did not manage to win a single round as defenders and lost the map with an 8:16 score. On Dust 2, Outsiders took a 9:6 lead, but FaZe Clan made the score 15:15. In overtime, FaZe Clan lost the map with an 18:22 score.
In round 3, FaZe Clan got their first win in Group B in the match against Sprout. They won Ancient and Inferno, both with a 16:9 score.
The next opponent FaZe Clan faced in the ESL Pro League Season 15 Group Stage was Team Vitality. Mirage began with FaZe Clan dominating the server, ending the first half with a 10:5 score. Teams had an even fight in the second half, but the map still ended with FaZe Clan winning 16:10. Then, FaZe Clan had a quick and easy win on Dust 2, finishing it with a 16:2 score.
In their last BO3 series of the Group Stage, FaZe Clan were up against FURIA, a Brazilian team that won all their matches. The Europeans had to stop their win streak, and this is exactly what happened.
The match kicked off on Nuke, which was picked by FURIA. FaZe Clan had a great start and won the first map with a 16:9 score. Then, on Nuke, things got out of hand for them. FaZe Clan managed to get only six rounds and was defeated by Brazilians. There was a close fight on the last map of the series, Mirage, but FaZe Clan secured their victory with a 16:13 score.
Based on the results of matches FaZe Clan played within the Group Stage, they earned nine points, ended up in third place in Group B, and qualified for the Round 1 of the Playoff Stage.
For FaZe Clan, the ESL Pro League Season 15 playoffs started with a series against Players (ex-Gambit). Inferno ended with a quick win for FaZe Clan (16:4), and Mirage ended with a quick loss (5:16). Things got more intense on Overpass when Players finished the first half with an 8:7 score. After switching to defending, FaZe Clan won round after round, closing the map 16:9 and series 2:1.
In the Quarter-finals, FaZe Clan played against Natus Vincere, which had won five games in a row before this one. The series started on Inferno, picked by the Europeans. FaZe Clan dominated the first half, winning 10 rounds in attack, and got six more in the second half to secure the map. Then, FaZe Clan also won Dust 2 with a 16:12 score, eliminating NAVI from the event and advancing to the next stage of the playoffs.
FaZe played their Semi-final match against FURIA, which they had previously defeated in the Group Stage. The fight felt even throughout both maps, but FaZe Clan closed the series with a 2:0 score, winning Inferno (16:13) and Mirage (19:16) and securing their spot in the Grand Final.
The ESL Pro League Season 15 Grand Final was a BO5 match between FaZe Clan and ENCE started on Vertigo that was won by FaZe with a 16:11 score. ENCE then redeemed themselves in a close fight on Overpass that ended in their pockets after overtime.
Then, FaZe Clan won Mirage (16:9) and Dust 2 (16:12), claiming the championship title and the main prize of $190,000.
Apart from the prize money, FaZe also got a direct invite to the BLAST Premier World Final 2022. The ESL Pro League Season 15 championship was yet another step on their way to Intel Grand Slam.
Intel Extreme Masters XVII – Cologne
IEM Cologne 2022 was an S-Tier event organized by ESL and held between July 5th and July 17th in the Cathedral of Counter-Strike, LANXESS arena. This trophy was the third needed to get even closer to the Intel Grand Slam.
FaZe Clan started their way to the championship title in Group B with a match against 00Nation, a Brazilian team that qualified for the event from the Play-in stage. FaZe Clan won Ancient (16:13) and Inferno (16:10) in this series.
The next opponent that FaZe Clan played against was Team Spirit. The Europeans performed great on Ancient, confidently leading in both halves of the map and winning it with a 16:10 score. On Nuke, Team Spirit gained an advantage in the first half while defending, but FaZe Clan redeemed themselves by changing the score from 5:10 to 16:13.
While FaZe Clan had already booked their spot in the IEM Cologne 2022 Playoff Stage by winning Team Spirit, they had to play one more game to determine the round they will go in, and it was a match against Astralis.
FaZe Clan gave Astralis hard times in the first half of Overpass winning 12 rounds. Despite the Danish team trying their best to attempt a comeback, FaZe Clan players finished the map with a 16:13 score.
Inferno was a bumpy ride for both teams as they were neck-and-neck throughout the first half, with neither team able to pull ahead significantly. By the end of it, FaZe Clan was only one round point ahead, but quickly after, they took the lead and won the map with a 16:11 score.
After winning the series against the Danes, FaZe Clan advanced to the IEM Cologne 2022 Playoff Stage Semi-finals, where they faced Movistar Riders. On the first map, Ancient, FaZe Clan gained a huge advantage by winning 11 rounds as defenders, and then won five more, finishing the map with a 16:12 score.
On Nuke, FaZe Clan did not play very confidently while attacking, but they demolished the Spanish team after switching to defending, winning the map with a 16:9 score. With this win, FaZe Clan proceeded to the Grand Final.
IEM Cologne 2022 Playoff Stage was played at the LANXESS arena, the Cathedral of Counter-Strike. An unforgettable spectacle was expected from the teams playing in the Grand Final: FaZe Clan and Natus Vincere, the latter having a win streak of eight last matches.
The crowd was absolutely wild, and the energy in the arena was off the charts. It was a fiercely competitive match with a series of close battles with both teams playing their best.
The IEM Cologne 2022 Grand Final kicked off on Inferno. Although Natus Vincere had taken the lead in the first half, they had trouble attacking successfully after switching sides. FaZe Clan saw that as an opportunity and won the first map with a 16:13 score.
Natus Vincere then won two maps in a row, Overpass (16:13) and Ancient (19:16). Both maps featured intense and close fights, and the Ukrainian team was only one map away from the championship title. FaZe Clan had no room for mistakes anymore, and they had to get together.
Mirage, the fourth map of the Grand Final, started with FaZe Clan performing great on the CT side and finishing the first half with a 5 rounds lead. The Europeans continued with a series of great attacking rounds and secured the map with a 16:9 score.
The score was 2:2, and both teams were evenly close to lifting the trophy. The atmosphere both on Nuke and at the arena was extremely intense. The outcome of the map and the Grand Final was uncertain until the end, with both NAVI and FaZe Clan having a chance to win.
FaZe Clan started the fifth map as terrorists and won seven rounds in the first half, which is a decent result considering the general opinion of Nuke being a CT-sided map. After switching sides, the Europeans took the initiative and finished their opponents, winning the map with a 16:14 score and emerging victorious in the IEM Cologne 2022 Grand Final.
It was a nail-biting game that could have gone either way, but FaZe Clan proved once again that they are one of the best CS:GO teams in the world. Alongside the trophy, they took home $400,000, tickets to IEM Katowice 2023, and 3,200 BLAST Premier points.
ESL Pro League Season 17
The latest tournament FaZe Clan won was ESL Pro League Season 17, and this championship title secured their Intel Grand Slam.
ESL Pro League Season 17 was held from February 22 to March 26, 2023. As FaZe Clan is a partner team, they had their spot at the event secured and did not have to qualify for it to participate.
FaZe Clan started their run at the ESL Pro League Season 17 in Group C, where they beat both Rooster and Ninjas in Pyjamas with a 2:0 score. In the match against the Australian CS:GO team, Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken became an MVP, and in the match against Ninjas, this title was claimed by Robin ‘ropz’ Kool.
According to the results of the first two matches of the ESL Pro League Group Stage, Håvard “rain” Nygaard turned out to be the best player of FaZe Clan based on statistics of individual performance. He played four maps with an average 2.0 rating of 1.45, a K/D ratio of 1.61, and an ADR of 96.4.
These two wins in Group C guaranteed FaZe Clan a slot in the Playoff Stage at the event, but they still had to play against Team Vitality to determine which round of the playoffs they would get to start from. Both teams had a great start in the Group Stage without one map lost, and it was a highly anticipated match.
Team Vitality picked Anubis, FaZe Clan picked Nuke, and Inferno was left as a decider map. FaZe led the first half on Anubis with a 14:1 score, and it seemed like it would be a quick match. However, Team Vitality performed a miracle, made an unbelievable comeback, and managed to make it to the overtime, which they won 19:16.
On the second map, the tables had turned. Team Vitality dominated in the first half of Nuke and finished it with an 11:4 score. When FaZe Clan switched to the defending side, they evened the score to 15:15, and overtime began again. In the end, Team Vitality won Nuke with a 19:15 score and got their spot in the quarter-finals, while FaZe Clan ended up in Round 2.
For FaZe Clan, the ESL Pro League Season 17 Playoff Stage began with a match against FURIA, in which they suceeded with a 2:0 score, winning 16:9 on Anubis and 16:7 on Nuke. This time, Helvijs ‘broky’ Saukants received the Player of the match title. With this win, FaZe Clan advanced from Round 2 to the Quater-finals.
The next opponent FaZe Clan had to face on their way to the $1,000,000 prize was FORZE.
The BO3 series seemed like a close fight at first, as both teams won their picks: FaZe won Inferno with a 16:13 score but got defeated on Overpass, losing 14:16.
On Mirage, the decider map, FaZe Clan easily beat their opponents with a 16:6 score and secured their spot in the Semi-finals, taking one more step to the championship. Once again, ropz became the Player of the match.
In the ESL Pro League Season 17 Semi-Finals, FaZe Clan were up against Natus Vincere, a Ukrainian team that made their way to the Playoff Stage from the Group D lower bracket, had a six-match win streak, and eliminated 00Nation, Outsiders, and Heroic from the event.
The match happened on March 26. FaZe Clan had a slow start as they lost Ancient, the opponent’s pick, with a 7:16 score, and Twistzz was the only FaZe player with a positive K-D difference.
FaZe defeated their opponents on Nuke, their pick, with a 16:8 score, winning ten rounds on attack and six more on defense.
Mirage, the decider map, was won by FaZe Clan as well. Leading 16:9, they closed the series with a 2:1 score and eliminated Natus Vincere from the tournament.
After defeating Natus Vincere, the only thing FaZe Clan had to do to get the long-anticipated golden bars was to beat Cloud9 in the ESL Pro League Season 15 Grand Final. We have covered this BO5 match in detail, read here.
Four intense maps were needed to determine the winner of the ESL Pro League Season 17. FaZe Clan won the Grand Final against Cloud9 and claimed their championship title. The winning team got $200,000 and secured slots at IEM Cologne 2023 and Blast Premier World Final 2023 for placing first at the event.
However, the after-final award ceremony did not end right after FaZe Clan players lifted their well-deserved trophy. ESL Pro League Season 17 was the fourth ESL tournament needed for FaZe Clan to win the Intel Grand Slam Season 4, and they did it!
FaZe Clan claimed their $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam prize and became the last team ever to win a Grand Slam in CS:GO. Apart from that, Twistzz became the first player in history to become a winner of the Intel Grand Slam twice.
FaZe Clan Socials After Winning Intel Grand Slam
Other Intel Grand Slam Winners
During their era, Astralis won the first season of the Intel Grand Slam and once again asserted their dominance in the CS:GO scene.
It took them nine months and nine tournaments to complete the prestigious “side quest”. Here is the list of four tournaments they won to complete the race to the $1,000,000 prize.
- DreamHack Masters Marseille 2018
- ESL Pro League Season 7 – Finals
- Intel Extreme Masters XIII – Chicago
- ESL Pro League Season 8 – Finals
In 2018, Astralis had a 50% win rate on tournaments they participated in and won over $3,500,000 of prize money, including the $1,000,000 for securing the Intel Grand Slam.
Here is the video by ESL from the ESL Pro League Season 8 showing the winning moment of Astralis.
In 2019, Team Liquid completed the race to the Intel Grand Slam by winning four consecutive tournaments in an impressive time frame of only sixty-three days, and it was a historical event. To compare, it took Danes 323 to do so in the first season.
- Intel Extreme Masters XIV – Sydney
- DreamHack Masters Dallas 2019
- ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals
- ESL One: Cologne 2019
The legendary North American roster, which consisted of nitr0, Twistzz, NAF, Stewie2K, and EliGE, pocketed $1,575,000 in prize money in three months.
Who would have thought that in four years, Twistzz would win another Intel Grand Slam, but this time with FaZe Clan?
It took almost a year and a half for Natus Vincere to secure the Intel Grand Slam because several events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 756 days, they emerged victorious in four tournaments, leading them to the ultimate $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam prize.
- Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship
- DreamHack Masters Spring 2021
- Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Cologne
- ESL Pro League Season 14
As we wrap up our coverage of an incredible journey FaZe Clan had on their way to Intel Grand Slam, we congratulate the players on achieving such an amazing accomplishment and forging a legacy.
By winning Intel Grand Slam, Astralis, Team Liquid, Natus Vincere, and FaZe Clan have all battled relentlessly to cement their names in the history of CS:GO and the hearts of their devoted fans. Let their stories serve as a beacon of inspiration for gamers everywhere!
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