Being victorious at four ESL Pro Tour competitions, FaZe Clan takes home the fourth ever Intel® Grand Slam and its $1,000,000 cash prize
|PRESS RELEASE SUMMARY|
– FaZe Clan secure Intel® Grand Slam IV after winning ESL Pro League Season 17, IEM Cologne 2022, ESL Pro League Season 15, and IEM Katowice 2022, taking home the $1,000,000 worth in gold ingots and marking their era in esports history.
– FaZe Clan’s Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken becomes the first player ever to complete an Intel® Grand Slam twice.
– The new format for ESL Pro League saw more teams compete, a new schedule, and an exciting broadcast vision.
– In the Grand Final of Season 17, FaZe Clan took out Cloud9 3-1 also taking home $200,000 of the $850,000 total prize pool.
– With the ESL Pro League win under their belt, FaZe Clan has also qualified for the next ESL Pro Tour Championship: Intel® Extreme Masters Cologne 2023.
– With the ESL FACEIT Group announcing non-exclusivity for broadcast rights earlier this year, fans from around the globe had more opportunities to tune in during the live broadcasts, leading to more than 517,000* people tuning into the Grand Final.
– ESL Pro League Season 17 also hosted the world’s first Counter-Strike 2 showmatch on LAN.
Cologne/New York – By securing the ESL Pro League (EPL) Season 17 title on Sunday, March 26, the popular esports organization FaZe Clan achieved what only very few teams have managed: winning the Intel® Grand Slam (IGS).
The Intel® Grand Slam IV race
As one of the most prestigious titles in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), the Intel® Grand Slam gives teams from around the globe the opportunity to mark their era in CS:GO history. Delivered by Intel® and ESL FACEIT Group, the race features a $1,000,000 cash prize and follows the vision of rewarding the world’s most dominant team.
To secure the Intel® Grand Slam, a team must win four competitions within ten consecutive competitions. These four wins should include:
- At least one ESL Pro Tour (EPT) Championship level tournament such as Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice, IEM Cologne, or an ESL FACEIT Group operated CS:GO Major Championship;
- And other EPT Master level tournaments, e.g., EPL seasons or Master-level IEM competitions.
FaZe Clan joined the race for Intel® Grand Slam IV in February 2022, as they beat G2 Esports 3-0 and took home the coveted IEM Katowice trophy. Shortly after, they secured their second triumph, beating ENCE 3-1 and claiming the EPL Season 15 title. Finally, in July last year, their 3-2 victory over Natus Vincere at IEM Cologne 2022 left FaZe Clan only one win away from completing the Intel® Grand Slam.
Come EPL Season 17, and FaZe Clan was heading for their fourth and final title in the race. Taking out Cloud9 3-1 in the Grand Final showed they had geared up for success. Joining the elite group of Astralis (IGS I winners, 2018), Team Liquid (IGS II winners, 2019), and Natus Vincere (IGS III winners, 2021), FaZe Clan has truly shown their dominance as they take home the icon gold ingots.
Furthermore, for FaZe Clan’s Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken the completion of Intel® Grand Slam VI marks an additional milestone as he becomes the first player ever to accomplish that twice. In 2019 the Canadian also showed his value as part of Team Liquid’s roster.
FaZe Clan Director of Esports Operations, Edward Han commented after the teams win: “The team is incredibly proud to finally close out the Intel Grand Slam, especially in Malta at EPL Season 17. The team worked extremely hard to prepare for this game because they knew how important it was. We want to thank all the fans and the organization for supporting us. The next event will be the RMR and we hope to continue this streak at the Major.”
“To win four out of ten prestigious ESL Pro Tour tournaments is an extremely remarkable achievement. On behalf of ESL FACEIT Group, I congratulate FaZe Clan on their exceptional accomplishment,” said Shaun Clark, Senior Director Game Ecosystems – CS:GO at ESL FACEIT Group. “Intel plays an unparalleled role in supporting our efforts to underline and foster greatness within the EPT ecosystem, crowning their involvement with the one-of-a-kind Intel Grand Slam.”
ESL Pro League Season 17
Beating Cloud9 3-1 in the Grand Final of EPL Season 17 also means that FaZe Clan will take home the largest share of the $850,000 total prize pool and qualify for the next ESL Pro Tour Championship event, IEM Cologne competition later this year.
EPL Season 17 saw exciting new changes and updates to its existing format, schedule and broadcast vision. It commenced on January 16-20 with the Conference Stage as 23 teams battled for the eleven available spots in the Group Stage. The top contenders would join the 15 Louvre Partner Teams, three ESL Challenger winners, and three teams at the top of the ESL World Ranking.
Beginning on February 22 in a laidback studio atmosphere in St. Julian, Malta, the Group Stage then saw 32 teams divided over four groups of eight to compete in the new format. Combining double-elimination groups with a last-chance bracket, each team had three chances to proceed to the next stage of the competition.
In the Playoffs on March 21-26, the top 16 teams battled it out to make their way to the Grand Final. Encouraged by the intimate live audience and fans from around the globe tuning in during the live broadcast, FaZe Clan claimed their victory.
FaZe Clans’ journey to victory offered fans a CS:GO masterclass. The North American powerhouse dominated their way through the tournament, defeating FURIA (2-0) and forZe (2-1) in the Playoffs to secure their spot in the semi-finals. The semi-final round against IGS III Champions Natus Vincere was one of the most spectacular rivalries witnessed in recent years giving viewers a very intense series with FaZe Clan taking home the victory with a score of 2-1, confirming their rightful place in the final against Cloud9.
The live audience was electric as the Grand Final delivered an exciting clash of the titans. Starting strong, the NA giants tasted their victory already up 2-0 in the early rounds, however, Cloud9 wasn’t going down without a fight, winning the third round. The fourth and final round delivered the excitement and masterclass that the live crowd were promised, with FaZe Clan staking their claim to be the Intel® Grand Slam Champions and taking home the $1,000,000. The international squad has become only one of four of the most dominant teams in CS:GO including Astralis, Team Liquid and Natus Vincere to complete the demanding task. They are also the first international squad with players from countries that do not share a language to earn the title.
EPL Season 17 saw a total of almost 34 million hours watched* and a peak viewership of more than 517,000*.
Apart from the spectacular and thrilling gameplay, EPL Season 17 saw more highlights. During the league season, fans were eagerly waiting for an update from CS:GO’s developer and publisher, Valve, about the game’s successor. Eventually, Counter-Strike 2 was officially announced during the final week of EPL Season 17.
This led ESL to host the world’s first Counter-Strike 2 showmatch taking place on LAN. On Sunday, March 26, right before the Grand Final, the following two teams faced off against each other:
- Beta Boys
- Guy “NertZ” Iluz
- Casper “cadiaN” Møller
- Harry “JustHarry” Russell
- René “TeSeS” Madsen
- Vladislav “Krad” Kravchenko
- Team 27015
- Pyotr “fame” Bolyshev
- Paweł “dycha” Dycha
- Richard “Xizt” Landström
- Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer
- Aleksandr “shalfey” Marenov
A perfect opportunity to see how the latest iteration of the game is shaping up, Team 27015 bagged a 16-14 victory. The showmatch saw Team 27015 take an early lead off the back of winning the pistol, but the Beta Boys squad recovered to tie the score thanks to a ”TeSeS” clutch. The second half saw the Beta Boys put on a streak of rounds to bring things close, but a “fame” clutch kept 27015 in the driver’s seat. The final round saw legend “Xizt” called upon all his experience to help haul Team 27015 over the line in the Counter-Strike 2 showmatch.
“This season has been a rollercoaster for fans here in Malta as well as those who tuned in on YouTube or Twitch,” said Alex Inglot, Commissioner of the ESL Pro League. “Not only did Valve drop Counter-Strike 2 and unleash havoc during our playoff week, we also saw our Partner Team FaZe Clan complete the Intel Grand Slam – a tremendous achievement. Furthermore, the whole team crafted and delivered a new proposition in the ecosystem, creating relentless drama and new content, bringing the players and their personalities to the fore, and, most importantly, giving Counter-Strike fans an upgraded ESL Pro League to enjoy twice a year.”
The ESL Pro Tour continues
Next up in the ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO are ESL Challenger League Season 45 taking place online on April 4-May 28, and IEM Rio 2023 taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 17-23. ESL Pro League will return to Malta in the second half of August with Season 18.
*According to Escharts.com
About ESL FACEIT Group
ESL FACEIT Group (EFG) is the leading esports and video game entertainment company dedicated to creating worlds beyond gameplay where players and fans become community. EFG is built on a legacy of world-renowned brands including ESL, FACEIT, DreamHack and DreamHack Sports Games, providing innovative ecosystems for global communities of players, fans and creators around the games they love. Working alongside leading partners, brands and global IPs, EFG operates an unmatched portfolio of live events, digital platforms and developer tools that reach and engage millions of gamers worldwide. For more information visit www.eslfaceitgroup.com.
ESL creates a world where everybody can be somebody. For more than two decades, we have been shaping the industry and leading esports and gaming innovation globally across the most popular video games, creating a comprehensive ecosystem with opportunities for players to go from zero to hero and for fans to witness the best stories esports has to offer. The ESL portfolio consists of high-profile products such as the ESL Pro Tour, Intel® Extreme Masters, the Snapdragon Pro Series, and many more, ranging from grassroots to global elite competitions. ESL is part of ESL FACEIT Group, the leading competitive games and esports company.
About ESL Pro League
The ESL Pro League is the world’s longest-running professional league for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, featuring the best teams from Europe, North America, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. Broadcast across various platforms and staged over the years in landmark venues across the globe, the event, split into two seasons a year, provides a unique challenge in the CS:GO calendar and is highly valued by teams, players and fans alike. Originally established in 2015, by 2019 it offered a total prize pool of $1,5 million US dollars. Following the signing of the Louvre Agreement in 2020, ESL Pro League brings 15 of the biggest brands in esports to compete alongside 17 teams trying their best to capitalise on their recent successes (https://pro.eslgaming.com/csgo/proleague/).