One of esports’ and gaming’s biggest organizations, FaZe Clan has spent the past decade spreading its reach across every aspect of modern pop culture.
“Not only has gaming become an integral part of pop culture but so have gamers, and that’s not something that really ever existed before we were created,” says FaZe Clan founding member Sabastian “CBass” Diamond. “I think that’s what we’ve been able to do such a great job at within the gaming industry over the last 12 years — take something that was not a viable career path or even a revenue source at all and turn it into not only a career but an attainable one.”
When not winning competitions in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fortnite, the organization is also collaborating with iconic fast-food franchises like McDonald’s and even signing hip-hop legends such as Snoop Dogg. Somewhere in between all of that, FaZe is still constantly on the lookout for who’s next in the world of streaming.
That recruiting initiative previously consisted of the company weeding through hundreds of thousands of submissions before whittling it down to five competitors. This year, FaZe Clan switched things up significantly through FaZe1 Live. In this series, 20 content creators from around the world were filmed 24 hours a day for 15 days participating in various challenges while the world watched in real time.
Québec native Gabriel “Proze” Gelinaswas was the one left standing to win a spot on FaZe’s roster, a million-dollar signing bonus, cryptocurrency from MoonPay, a $250,000 sponsorship from Ghost and a Nissan GT-R. According to CBass, who also hosted FaZe1 Live, Proze had all the attributes that makes someone a suitable candidate for the organization.
“He did it all and fit perfectly into what we were trying to do,” explains CBass. “Proze came from a background of content creation in entertainment outside of bringing new concepts and pushing ideas. He was already doing this whether or not we’d known anything about him. Proze was able to take whatever was being told to him and apply it in the right way when creating content.”
When contestants weren’t participating in hilarious activities like the Call of Doodie challenge involving crane-rigged porta-potties and toy guns, they were also being judged on the entertainment value of their livestreams on gaming PC rigs. These setups aren’t hard to re-create at home, so we talked to CBass about FaZe’s go-to gaming gear and how it can enhance your own setup whether you’re looking to dominate Twitch or step up your Fortnite game.
The gaming gear that FaZe Clan uses and recommends
Customizable gaming PC cases for all price ranges ($79 to $399 at NZXT)
Building a gaming PC starts with the case, and NZXT is the brand to beat when it comes to bang for your buck within a customizable yet efficient design. CBass mentions that when he got into PC gaming around 2018, he knew the brand was the one to get. This translated to the FaZe1 Live competition where contestants came in already knowing what they wanted for their NZXTs.
“The actual top-of-the-line NZXTs were the ones that we outfitted the cast with for the FaZe1 show, and they’re specifically designed to be able to take anything that was thrown at them,” says CBass. “We had some people come in who not only knew everything they needed to do but knew better than some of the production staff.”
Split between various mid-tower and Mini iTX cases, NZXT cases come packed with a breathable design that allows for lots of airflow in addition to other options like fans and RGB lighting.
A monitor for serious competitive gaming ($289 at Amazon)
Gaming monitors with high refresh rates are essential for competitive gamers. High refresh rates mean smoother image quality and more visual information reaching the user faster. According to CBass, Zowie displays have been the go-to monitor solution for FaZe for quite a while.
“These are monitors that our esports teams use and have used for a decade,” explains CBass. “They’re obviously very good at their jobs, being 34-time champions across multiple different professional games. Esports pros are incredibly picky about the peripherals they use. So for us, it’s a pretty simple recommendation. If this is what they use, this is what we should use too.”
Besides having a high 240Hz refresh rate and Black eQualizer for brightening blacks without overexposing lighter areas, the Zowie XL2411K features XL Setting to Share, which allows monitor setting profiles to be easily uploaded and downloaded between different displays.
Lightweight wireless mouse with 9 programmable buttons ($139.99 at SteelSeries)
CBass says that one of the things they asked SteelSeries to do when they partnered up was to make a gaming mouse with plenty of side buttons. Weighing 74 grams, the SteelSeries Aerox 5 packs in both 2.4GHz wireless transmission and Bluetooth 5.0 as well as nine programmable buttons, and promises to provide over 180 hours of battery life.
Though there have been many arguments over wireless versus wired in esports competition, CBass says there’s really no difference now as long as the mouse is well made.
“Now that the speed technology is improving in wireless technology and Bluetooth, there’s no difference at all,” says CBass. “Wireless mouse is the exact same as a wired mouse. At least the good ones anyway.”
Beyond more esports-focused features like 1-to-1 tracking, 18,000 CPI and 40G acceleration for smoother movement alongside better response time, the Aerox 5 Wireless Mouse is IP54 rated. This means the mouse is water-resistant while also offering particle protection.
For gamers seeking the ultimate edge ($99.99 at SteelSeries)
“When it comes to Fortnite, the amount of actions you have to do within a second negates the worry of [missing a keypress],” says CBass. “I just need what I’m actually trying to do to happen as fast as I possibly can, and the Apex 5 delivers that.”
FaZe Fortnite player Mongraal once dubbed the Steelseries Apex 5 Keyboard the “God Keyboard,” leading it to be one of the most used mechanical keyboards for the ultra-popular battle royale game. Besides featuring hybrid mechanical switches, per-key RGB lighting and an OLED display for everything from profile customization to providing in-game information, it’s held together by an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy chassis.
There’s also the Apex Pro for 100 bucks more that CBass is a huge fan of too. For the extra money, users get adjustable mechanical switches for customizable per-key sensitivity that allows 0.4mm to 3.6mm of travel during keystrokes. This allows multiple input prompts without having to press keys all the way down. It’s not just FaZe-approved either; the Apex Pro is our current pick for the best gaming keyboard you can buy.
One of the best sub-$100 gaming headsets ($69.99 at SteelSeries)
How professional gamers hear and communicate with one another is just as important as visuals.
“You’ll never see a player who has the ability to listen choose not to, and SteelSeries does a great job of that,” says CBass. “A lot of information when playing competitive shooters also comes through audio.”
Beyond being one of the most comfortable gaming headsets available due to the fabric Airweave ear cushions, the Arctis 3 features compatibility with Windows Sonic spatial audio for PC and Xbox. Its ClearCast noise-canceling microphone is built to ensure that communication between teammates is never confusing.
A beautiful and great-sounding USB microphone ($119 at Amazon)
CBass mentions that he first started using the HyperX QuadCast S microphone during the prelude to FaZe1 Live titled The Road to FaZe1, and he’s been a fan ever since.
“It was my first experience with having a mic that was that good of quality as everyone I’ve gamed with [who] told me that my mic sucked,” jokes CBass. “I really like how this mic has a unique muting feature where you tap the top of the mic and the LED turns off to let you know that you’re on mute.”
Outside of the customizable RGB lighting through HyperX’s NGENUITY Software, the QuadCast S microphone has four selectable polar patterns for recording, making it ideal for everything from solo streams to group podcasts. It was a close runner-up in our best microphone rankings, thanks to its crisp sound quality and attractive aesthetic.
A reliable chair for both work and play (
$289 $170 at Amazon)
A comfortable gaming chair is essential for esports players. The Respawn 200 Gaming Chair features an adjustable headrest pillow, lumbar support and full body-contoured support. It can also recline at up to a 130-degree angle while offering both height and depth adjustability.
According to CBass, Respawn makes chairs that don’t just look like someone took them out of a race car.
“They just make good chairs,” he says. “Those are chairs that I use and sit on every day in our office in Toronto. They’re just so comfortable and work as a gaming chair and traditional office chair as well.”