FaZe NiKo's remarkable claims ahead of Blast Pro Series Miami

FaZe Clan star and in-game leader NiKo has given an explosive interview to HLTV in the build-up to Blast Pro Series Miami, in which he reveals a number of frankly shocking details about the inner workings of the team, and his own time as leader. The talking points to come out of the interview are many and varied, but perhaps the most surprising bit is NiKo’s characterisation of some of the most storied and experienced players in the world.

Watch the action: Blast Pro Series Miami Twitch streams and schedule

Speaking to HLTV’s Lucas in the build-up to Blast Pro Series Miami, NiKo was asked about his role as leader, and stated that he would prefer to play under a "real" IGL, allowing him to go back to being secondary caller. The reasoning he gave will surprise some fans, though, when you consider the likes of Olofmeister, GuardiaN and rain are all in his team, and both experienced and talented enough to have been considered world stars at certain points.

“The thing is, this team needs a second in-game leader, it needs two guys calling all the time. We have players who don't take too much initiative, so you have to push them, you have to tell them what to do, how to react in the game.” Logically, many fans and pundits have speculated that the likes of Olof or GuardiaN could help with the calling, or even take the reins themselves, but NiKo makes it clear he feels alone at the top when it comes to FaZe games.

FaZe need a leader

“Right now it's only me calling on every side of the map, and that's very hard to do because I don't see everything, I don't see what's happening on the other side, that's the biggest reason why you want to have another in-game leader,” he told HLTV. “As I said, I'm ready to just give up on it as soon as we have an option that we really want to go for.”

The interview contains much more, as you’d expect from HLTV, and hints at the financial limitations FaZe are working with, but assuming NiKo is being truthful, we can finally start to unpick the FaZe mystery. What looked like the idea situation for karrigan, with a team full of experienced stars, may actually have been something of a poisoned chalice, and there is a logic behind Olof and GuardiaN being as passive as they are based on their history.

You see, most star players never do what NiKo, coldzera and s1mple have done at times, and take control of the team to make it function. Olof and GuardiaN would have been given free rein for the majority of their playing careers, suchs is their talent, with the rest of the team allowed to work around them, as it’s only in recent years that CSGO sides like Astralis have started asking their stars and snipers to do specific things, rather than just giving them their head.

As for FaZe, we wish them well in Miami. Judging from the interview, things are pretty strained in the camp right now, and it would be great for CSGO fans everywhere if they were able to come back to 2017 levels, allowing NiKo to once again wreak havoc without having to call the shots.

Ready for Blast Pro Miami

Head of Esports Content Tim Masters is joined by CSGO enthusiast Dr Waldo for the latest installment of The Week In CSGO, with Blast Pro Miami among the main talking points.

The Luckbox Podcast is an CSGO and Dota-focused podcast available on YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.