In FaZe’s IEM Katowice win, the substitutes prevailed

Justin ‘jks’ Savage arrived at the last minute and helped FaZe win IEM Katowice as the frontrunner. It’s a fairy tale for the Australian, who is at the lowest point of his career.

When the CS:GO league season kicked off in late January, jks braced for what was to come. More weeks, maybe months, stuck in limbo, watching old enemies from afar, waiting for something to happen.

And then his phone rings.

On the other end of the call was FaZe, asking if he could replace Robin ‘⁠ropz⁠’ Kool in the early stages of IEM Katowice after the Estonian tested positive ahead of the Polish tournament.

Jks has barely touched the game since being benched by Complexity in November following the disbandment of Project ‘Juggernaut’. He’s also having a forgettable year with that team, so he knows that if he gets his way, he could find himself in an even worse position in the market.

But he concluded that he had nothing left to lose, so he decided to give it a try and hope for the best.

In the end, he made history for Australia’s Counter-Strike match.

Become Australia’s pet

Jks has established himself as the best player in Australia and one of the best in the world during his time with Renegades and 100 Thieves. He became the first player of his country in history to make the HLTV Top 20 list in 2019 – a magical year for him and his team, who reached the knockout stages at the IEM Katowice and the Starladder Berlin Majors, in addition to finishing second to Astralis at IEM Beijing.

It is clear that jks has outgrown his surroundings and he should move to a bigger, non-Australian team to reach his full potential. So when 100 Thieves decided to pull out of CS:GO, Complexity and jks seemed like a match in the sky.

Complexity's jks at IEM Cologne
Stephanie Lieske / ESL

jks ‘time with Complexity didn’t go as expected

But reality is far different. There was an atmosphere of turmoil when jks joined the team, and things got even worse during his time there as problems kept popping up. In an interview with Dexerto at the end of 2021, head coach Luis ‘peaceful’ Tadeu said that the perception that the team was falling apart was very real.

In a system that Benjamin ‘dirtyF’ Bremer built around himself, jks looks like a player he was on his previous teams, with an average rating of a meager 1.02 HLTV. He takes part in the blame for his low influence and struggles to adapt to new circumstances, but instability within the team, coupled with role conflicts and internal problems, makes him unable to perform to the best of your ability.

“It could have been really good, but it’s not,” jks said in an interview with Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields in November, describing his time on Complexity as “an overall negative experience. “.

Join FaZe

Wearing a Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken jersey with the Canadian flag on the front, the shirt helped FaZe get through the Play-In Round and win their first match of the group stage. Still cranky and mostly worried about not letting his teammates down, he averaged a 1.03 HLTV rating, surpassing the 1.05 rating mark in just two maps.

With ropz returning to the team for the second game against Fnatic, that is supposed to be the end of jks’ spell of standing still. But a positive test result returned by another FaZe player, Håvard ‘⁠rain⁠’ Nygaard, sent Australians into alarm. Just 30 minutes before the team was due to head to Spodek Arena for their first playoff game against Gambit, jks was announced that he would be playing the rest of the tournament.

The rest, as they say, is history. Despite only having a few days of preparation, jks looks much more comfortable with his feet in the rain boots and playing in some of his familiar positions. He became more consistent in the knockout stages and delivered some classic moments of personal excellence, most notably the 1v2 clutch that helped secure the Mirage marathon against G2 in the match. final. He averaged 1.13 ratings in the playoffs, helping to unlock several situations with 0.15 kills per inning, the fourth-highest in the knockouts.

How important the IEM Katowice win was to this FaZe team, built to climb the highest peaks, cannot be overstated. Ropz has agreed to a pay cut to join FaZe in the hopes that winning moments like these will become a regular occurrence. After the game, emotional Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen expressed his relief at finally lifting the trophy in Katowice after losing the 2017 and 2018 finals to Astralis and fnatic.

For jks too, it was a remarkable moment. He added another entry to his impressive resume as he became the first Australian player to win a top-level event in CS:GO.


jks is the first Australian CS:GO player in history to win an elite event

But at the same time, the victory in Katowice added to his frustration. With the season underway, he will most likely have months of waiting ahead as most teams will qualify for the Major before triggering the roster change. FaZe might be a destination in itself, but they’ll likely put the team on a couple of LAN events before making a verdict on rain’s future.

Upon witnessing jks lift the trophy, Complexity owner Jason Lake wrote on Twitter that he hopes the successful standing spell will spark interest in players. According to him, the organization has not received any offers from European teams since he was on the bench.

In a way, there’s a sense of irony to it all: jks’ struggles over Complexity ultimately helped him win the title he’s been chasing all his career. And it’s not just because he’s available to hire because he’s in a chair. By his own admission, he has now “become a more complete player”, having “learned to play differently” during his difficult tenure with the international team. That certainly comes in handy when he has to fill out notices for two different players at one of the biggest stages.

With the big trophy in his name, jks will be back to normal but with renewed confidence, his stock is once again soaring. He knows it’s only a matter of time before his phone rings again.

“Who wants to contact me, I’m on Twitter,” he told reporters after the event. “I’m waiting to see what happens.” In FaZe’s IEM Katowice win, the substitutes prevailed

Emma Bowman

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