You know that old movie trope of 'failure isn't an option'?
For BIG, it rings true at the play-ins. And before you think that sounds weird, think about the other teams here.
All of the teams who will probably be better than BIG once things shake out, bar Entropiq and OG, have some sort of issues. Astralis came in in dodgy form, MOUZ, NiP and FaZe have stand-ins, and fnatic are a UK team.
But, they're BIG!
"Wait, I'm supposed to be calling? I'm our best player?"
BIG's signing of faveN was, by their own admission, one of unprecedented size in German CS - which suggests it was probably a record signing for them, unless XANTARES was a whole lot of money.
While this doesn't mean it was super expensive, you wouldn't make this move to tread water.
Since cutting XANTARES, BIG have become more stable, but their ceiling has completely collapsed. What was a slightly inconsistent, but well-structured team with pop-off potential became a plodding, lethargic, predictable team with the addition of gade over XANTARES. gade is not the same player as the Turk, and isn't going to straight up win or lose you the game on his own - but BIG needed a spark.
faveN is that spark.
man this sucks cuz I know we are way better than this, looking forward for the gauntlet stage where we will show a much better face 100%#gobig
— faveN (@favenCS) January 28, 2022
He's a super talented player with the ability to turn rounds, and games, on their head - or at least was on Sprout, and that's why BIG bought him.
For the uprooting of a decent team, for the gade experiment, and the money now spent on replacing those two, this move has to work, and IEM Katowice Play-Ins should be an absolute lock. This is a team who are structured - to the point where faveN doesn't seem to have the same freedom as before - and that usually makes it easier to beat the teams with stand-ins, and weaker teams.
Maybe you believe this move needs time to bed in; after all, XANTARES took ages to really feel like himself on this team, but that argument falls on its face quickly if FaZe get out without their best player.
If BIG do fall here, what exactly is next? They have to give this team time, but it doesn't look good and it's hard to believe they'll come back and be anything more than the 15th best team in the world.
They've had the same core for a long time now, and they've only been a great team for a few months in the online era. We're back on LAN now, and they have to prove they're at least better than the patched-up tier one and full strength tier two teams, or just become another also-ran in the pack.
Time to sh*t or get off the pot.