The 'kings of Europe' G2 Esports have reclaimed their domestic crown in Spring 2022, winning the League of Legends European Championship after a spectacular Playoffs run. In doing so, they qualified for the Mid-Season Invitational – an international tournament that pits the finest teams from regions around the world against each other.
Looking at the Group draw, it's fair to say that G2 Esports have a fair chance of advancing to the Rumble, as they face opponents from the North American LCS (Evil Geniuses) and Australia's LCO (ORDER). But how will the European champions fare against China's Royal Never Give Up and South Korea's T1? Let's recap G2's performances in past MSI tournaments to give us some clues.
G2 Esports first qualified for MSI in their debut season in 2016, but, unfortunately, they didn't make it past the Group Stage. The roster in 2017 fared better, however, clearing the Group Stage and facing Chinese squad Team WE (formerly World Elite) in the semi-finals. G2 managed to make it out of this match as the victors, achieving a dominant 3-1 result. In the final, G2 faced the League of Legends Championship Korea's (LCK) juggernauts SK Telecom T1 (now known simply as T1) and fell short despite a valiant effort, taking second place overall.
In 2018, the team narrowly missed out on a spot at MSI, but G2's best-ever performance at MSI would be the following year. In 2019, G2 started their campaign in South Korea with a bang, defeating Taiwan's Flash Wolves. Their next two matches would result in losses against the LPL's Invictus Gaming and the VCS' Phong Vũ Buffalo, but G2 didn't let these failures break them. Their fourth match would see them lock horns with T1 again, but G2 did what some thought was impossible this time. The writing was on the wall when Luka 'Perkz' Perković got that all-important First Blood on Cho 'Mata' Se-hyeong, and G2 eventually obliterated T1, proving that even legends like Lee 'Faker' Sang-hyeok aren't immune to the powers of the power of Europe's finest.
After this inspiring win, there was no stopping G2. With confidence and momentum, G2 took down North American hopefuls Team Liquid in the final match of the group stage. This landed them with a 5-5 overall record, in third place behind T1 and Invictus. G2 met their Korean rivals once again in the Knockout Stage for an intense best-of-five. Both sides fought hard, but thanks to some creative drafting, G2 managed to conquer their demons and soundly defeat the LCK champions once again.
The only thing that stood between G2 and the trophy was LCS representatives Team Liquid. Once again, the team's drafts were on-point, but even more impressive was their synergy in team fights. The duo of Rasmus 'caPs' Winther and Mihael 'Mikyx' Mehle was lethal in the mid lane, while Perkz was a one-man army in the bot lane. After two decisive wins, G2 put an end to the match in Game 3 with a triumphant ace-in-base. With this clean sweep, G2 Esports became MSI champions.
After two years away from MSI – the tournament was cancelled in 2020, and Europe's spot in 2021 went to MAD Lions – G2 is looking to reclaim their crown on the international stage. Two members of that 2019 winning roster will return this year – namely midlaner caPs and jungler Marcin 'Jankos' Jankowski. They will be joined by toplaner Sergen 'Broken Blade' Çelik, botlaner Victor 'Flakked' Lirola and support Raphaël 'Targamas' Crabbé.
Only Broken Blade has prior international experience, having been to the League of Legends World Championship in 2020 during a stint in North America, but these players have proven to be adaptable and perfectly capable of taking down whoever stands in their way. We're excited to see how they change up their game for foes from farther afield.
This line-up has already proven themselves on the LEC stage after a stunning lower bracket run at the LEC 2022 Spring Playoffs, where a disappointing start to the tournament led to absolute domination of the competition. G2 took down Team Vitality, Misfits Gaming, Fnatic and Rogue in their bid to win the Playoffs without losing a single game following their drop to the lower bracket. If they can keep up that momentum into MSI, fans will witness an incredible display of action on the Rift.
Despite G2's stellar form in the latter part of the LEC Spring Season, it has been three long years since the team earned an international title, but they're entering the competition with the momentum to pull out something special to recapture the glory of 2019. Returning to South Korea, G2 will likely face their old rivals T1 once again on their home soil. Will they have what it takes to defeat them again? We'll find out when MSI 2022 kicks off later today.