The first half of this year’s League of Legends World Championship Group Stage is now behind us. G2 Esports have managed to go 3-0, putting them in the sole position of first place in Group A. While some of the games haven’t been as clean as they could have been, G2’s still one of the most dominant teams Europe has ever sent to Worlds – and the European first seed currently also holds the fastest average game time of groups.
Explosive teamfights and unrelenting aggression are two concepts that go hand in hand with G2 Esports’ playstyle. In the first three games we saw this, but we also met a completely different G2 in their game against Korea’s Griffin. Marcin ‘Jankos’ Jankowski together with Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther share their thoughts on the first part of the group stage, and what they think about the rest of the teams in the competition.
From complete control to unrelenting aggression
Domestically, G2 Esports are known for explosive early games and pushing individual talent to its limit. Many fans and analysts were surprised to see G2’s draft against Griffin. Orn and Orianna aren’t known to be early-to-mid-game powerhouse champions, yet G2 opted in for the combo. Caps says it was all part of the plan: “It seems like everyone is too scared to do stuff and we had a really good scaling composition. We knew exactly what they were going to do in the draft.”
In the first game, Jeong ‘Chovy’ Ji-hoon managed to kill Caps in-lane, but the G2 midlaner wasn’t too afraid because, “I knew that we would always win the late-game so I wasn’t that worried”. Caps said that the moment Jankos killed Renekton, the game was over, since Griffin wouldn’t be able to put enough pressure on them to stop the scaling part of their composition.
In the second and third game, G2 Esports showed their true colours. Against Cloud9 they managed to close the game out in 24 minutes, and in the Hong Kong Attitude game they destroyed the Nexus at the 31-minute mark. However, early games were far from clean. Jankos had some trouble against Cloud9, where he admits that: “If I make a mistake against opponents like Cloud9, I want to make up for them. Instead of stepping back and letting my team take the charge, I keep playing aggressive and snowball it into more deaths.”
Jankos says it’s something he can fix, because he’s aware of it. “It’s a mindset thing,'' he adds. “I know I’m better than them, so I want to outplay them instead of playing the proper League of Legends. I take more risks than I should.”
“If we play well, we can beat everyone”
The Worlds meta
After just four days of games, the Worlds meta seems to be shaping up nicely. There are only a few champions that are 100 percent pick/ban, like Pantheon and Qiyana, so there is a lot of freedom in how teams can draft in their games. Some teams tend to lean into scaling compositions, others draft more for the early game. Teamfighting, split pushing and full-on dive compositions – we’ve seen it all in just the span of four days of games.
G2, however, have shown vastly different team compositions in all three games that they have played. “We definitely haven’t shown everything we have yet,” says Caps. “Obviously, we can’t really talk about what we have in store, but we have a lot of different strategies that we can use.” Jankos, similarly, is enjoying the Worlds meta so far. Domestically he played a lot of Sejuani games, so he likes the change of pace; Elise, Lee Sin and Qiyana are all early game junglers that he enjoys playing. “With Elise you can just start diving turrets at level three, with Qiyana you can do crazy stuff before level six too, but she really comes online when she has her ultimate.”
Everyone has their eyes set on SK Telecom T1. Previously, G2’s Martin ‘Wunder’ Hansen said that they are the team to watch. We quizzed Jankos if he thought that there were any other teams that were performing well. “SKT are definitely the team to watch, but teams like Royal Never Give Up, Damwon and Invictus Gaming are playing very well too. I know that Fnatic can play great too, but they haven’t hit their stride yet”. FunPlus Phoenix had a disappointing day one performance, “But they seem to be ramping up as well,” adds Jankos.
In their own group, both Jankos and Caps think they will make it out as first seed. Caps thinks Cloud9 have a chance to make it out of groups too, but he’s not too worried about them. “They always have their Worlds buff, so we might be in for a surprise,” he adds.
To make it out of groups, Caps says that they have to stay focussed. “We have shown that if we play well, we can beat everyone – but we have also shown that if we don’t play well, we can lose to anyone.”
Jankos thinks that the quarters are going to be really exciting, where all of the top teams are evenly matched. “Obviously we don’t know yet if we can secure first seed, since Griffin is also playing really well, but I think it’s going to be really great once we get to that point.”
On Friday, G2 Esports will play the rest of the remaining Group Stage matches. With a 3-0 record, they most likely only need a single victory to make it to the knockouts. Winning two matches will at least guarantee a tiebreaker for first place. Will Europe’s first seed be able to take first place in their group? We’ll soon find out, but with their current form, they’re definitely poised for a strong run.