The talent announcement for the FACEIT Major in London was finally made this week, via the medium of YouTube, and the immediate impression given is that the company has gone with a relatively small team for what is the biggest event in UK CSGO history. While some big names have made the cut, there are a few notable absences, and the gaps in the roster look even more gaping in comparison with recent Dota 2 events, for example.
Leading the line for FACEIT will of course be Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson, a man who has recently worked both TI8 and Dreamhack Masters Stockholm, but he’ll be feeling a bit lonely in comparison with the amount of company he had in Vancouver. FACEIT staples James Bardolph and Dan ‘DDK’ Kapadia will bring their unique style of casting to the event, and are set to be joined by Anders Blume, Henry Greer, Jason ‘Moses’ O’Toole and Matt ‘Sadokist’ Trivett, and Freya Spiers due to take on stage hosting duties.
At the point of publication, FACEIT has only announced those names, although we know it is also due to let some competition winners cast part of the Major, which seems like an incredibly dull move. There have already been many stories and rumours about potential cost-cutting attempts in the run up to the event being the reason for such late announcements, as FACEIT allegedly attempts to get the cheapest rates possible by leveraging the pull of the Major itself.
New faces on the analyst desk
For the analyst desk, there are some new faces and some old ones too, with the move into team coaching by Janko ‘YNK’ Paunovic having opened up a spot at the top table. As always, Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill will add his unique brand of charm, alongside former pros Jacob ‘Pimp’ Winneche, Bjorn ‘Threat’ Pers, Sean Gares, and Damian ‘daps’ Steele.
There is no place for English pundit Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, much to his surprise and chagrin, but in the wider context that is no big shock, with the ‘esports historian’ having recently gone to bat for the likes of Alex Jones and moE, the CSGO streamer banned for using homophobic slurs on stream. Both Henry G and Machine will be in attendance, meaning there is already a good level of home representation, topped up by the inimitable Pala Gilroy Sen.
With the event due to start on September 5th, the anticipation for the Major is building, but there has been a notable lack of hype in the places you’d expect to see it. Part of that is down to the player break and TI8 taking all the headlines, but some also comes down to the lateness of this announcement, and other news, such as the release of the official sticker pack, which also only happened this week.
Still, when you have all of the world’s best teams at your event and the biggest prize pool in CSGO, which can’t even touch what Dota 2 has to offer, there is going to be an audience whatever you do. With this being FACEIT’s first Major, the pressure and attention will be at peak level, and every decision they make will be scrutinised, so it only to be hoped they are able to deliver a premium event.