Money. Fame. Resources. The Peeps truly got it all when they signed with FaZe Clan earlier this year, becoming the organization's first-ever professional Rocket League team in the process.
But if you were wondering what specifically FaZe can do to help its new players realize their full potential -- and perhaps win the RLCS X North American Championship this week -- the answer might surprise you.
"You see this chair?" Jirair "Gyro." Papazian asked, pointing over his shoulder at his FaZe Arc gaming chair by Vertagear. It's gorgeous, the org's logo stitched into the seatback. More importantly, it's comfortable.
"Pretty much I was sitting on something like this," he continued, holding up an industrial-style stool with no cushion or seatback. No reasonable person would willingly play games seated on this thing, let alone while trying to compete professionally.
Not only did Gyro make it work, but some true moments of brilliance took place on that stool. For example, that was his chair when he and Austin "AYYJAYY" Aebi left the Pittsburgh Knights and went out on their own, re-forming The Peeps last year with Braxton "Allushin" Lagarec.
"When we heard Envy was dropping Allu, we were like, 'Oh my god, this is our chance," Gyro said.
In an exclusive interview with Nerd Street Gamers, Gyro reflected on feeling demoralized after finishing outside the top six in the RLCS with the Knights in 2020. Understanding there were playstyle issues involved, though, the 18-year-old believed it was simply a matter of finding the right mix.
They went the unsponsored route with The Peeps, but the team performed better -- and it paid off in the end.
"While our motivation was low because we got such a low ranking, we also had a resurgence because we wanted to show we were better than seventh place," Gyro said. "We know we're not seventh place. AYYJAYY is one of the most mechanical players in the world. Allu is really rotationally sound, he's always on the top team. And, ya know, I'm me.
"We knew it could work out. We just needed to figure out our group a little bit more."
Gyro, right, won DreamHack Montreal with The Peeps in 2019. Photo credit: DreamHack
Lofty goals for FaZe
Gyro has been in the competitive scene for a minute now, coming up through the Rivals Series with the original version of The Peeps in 2018. Playing alongside Slater "retals" Thomas and Nick "mist" Costello, he won DreamHack Montreal 2019 just before the trio joined the Knights in RLCS.
Still, this feels like a new experience.
"Honestly, being picked up by FaZe, it is something special," Gyro said, sharing that he got goosebumps before the announcement in March. "They actually gave us an amazing offer, and they're literally one of the best orgs in the world, so it's such a difference."
And it isn't all about a chair, either, no matter how nice or large an upgrade it was.
FaZe hooked Gyro up with a new keyboard and mouse and is talking about hiring a fitness instructor for the team. He also has a friend in the org trying to keep his sleep schedule in check, sending reminders to go to bed -- though it was unclear how successful those efforts have been!
The benefits extend beyond improving the team's performance at competition, too.
"They got me a stream deck for my stream, they're helping me with my content and they're giving us so much more exposure," Gyro said. "It's literally everything I could ask for."
Of course, with all of that comes added pressure to win, albeit probably not much more so than what Gyro and his mates were already putting on themselves.
"My goal is always to be at the top," Gyro said. "FaZe is telling us we want to be a top team, and if it doesn't happen right now, it's OK, they'll work with us to get there. And that's all we could ask for them.
"There's a little bit of pressure going into it because it's FaZe, but for me and the rest of the team, we know the pressure is only gonna make us play better."
A bold prediction
So far, the team appears to be handling everything well. Securing one of the final two spots in the RLCS NA Championship came down to the final tournament of the season, where they clutched up when they needed to most, managing a top-four finish -- their best since joining FaZe.
Gyro acknowledged there was a sense of relief in making it into the bracket after last year's disappointing conclusion to the season.
"It seems like we're on an upward trend," Gyro said. "We're playing better. We were placing pretty low, but now we're starting to place a bit better. We're starting to find our groove more.
"Too bad it's toward the end of the season, but as long as we made top six, it's still the right time to get there because now we can show them how we really play the game."
With that improved play comes a boost in confidence, too.
"If we beat G2 [in Round 1], we will beat the next round team, because I think we have a good matchup against [Spacestation Gaming] or Rogue. So, if we do that, you'll be seeing us in the top three, I think."
Gyro did offer a warning of sorts to FaZe fans who might be new to the Rocket League scene.
"I am sorry because we will give you a lot of heart attacks," Gyro deadpanned. "We will go to a Game 7, overtime, everything, whenever it matters most, and I'm extremely sorry, but that's just how we do things."
Even though The Peeps have hit the big time, the guys are continuing to just be themselves, which means carrying the lessons of that journey with them as FaZe.
"We have a saying, 'Don't sleep on The Peeps,' for a reason," Gyro said.
Lead image credit: FaZe Clan