How G2 Esports became Rainbow Six European champions
© G2 Esports
After a tough year, G2 Rainbow Six have finally won a major event, just in time for the biggest event of the season. Here the team tell us just how they did it.
G2 Esports are the most successful organisation to date in competitive Rainbow Six Siege. With multiple pro league championships, a major win and even a world championship, the organisation have been the team to beat since they entered the scene in 2018.
Building around the star players of Niclas ‘Pengu’ Mouritzen and Juhani ‘Kantoraketti’ Toivonen, proved to be a successful formula for years. The two are undoubtedly first-ballot hall of famers when the time comes to step away from the game and, at times, having them both on the team can seem unfair.
But after a few roster changes in 2019 and early 2020, the fearsome G2 were entering the current season as less of an unbeatable monster and more of a top team with clear flaws. Sure they were still a threat, but it was no longer a near guarantee you would see them in the final of every event.
The 2020/2021 season hasn’t been easy for G2, with a third-place finish in the first stage of the European League and an even worse seventh-place finish in the second stage. In fact, the only major event win of the season in 2020 was the GSA League, a mid-level competition that featured a few top teams, but mostly those in lower tiers.
But when the European League finals rolled around last week it seemed like G2 were back to being unstoppable. They demolished Virtus.Pro 2-0 in the opening round of the competition, and then took down rivals BDS Esport 3-2 in a very entertaining final. After a year of losses in crucial matches, they finally changed their fortunes and won the biggest event of the season so far.
“[I] can't really pinpoint what change was the main factor in our win,” G2’s humble Jake ‘Virtue’ Grannan tells us after the win. “But I can say that many things have changed throughout the first year as a team and I just guess the recent changes we have made with roles and mentality have definitely shown positive returns. But we still have a lot to work on and we are not slowing down now.”
After such a turbulent season and having to face off against BDS, a team that have beaten G2 multiple times in key matches over the years, including the final of the Six August 2020 Major earlier in the season, it would have been easy for G2 to stumble once again at the final hurdle, especially as BDS were on match point after three maps in the final.
G2 just managed to squeeze out an 8-7 win on Theme Park to open the series, but then back-to-back 7-4 losses made it seem like BDS would once again take them down. But then G2 turned things around with dominant 7-3 and 7-2 wins to take the series, and any questions about their form were well and truly buried.
“Doubt is for people who know the other team is better and we have no room for that,” says Virtue. “As a team, we have no doubt in each other's ability to put out our best for each other. Yes, BDS were 2-1 up, and I believed we were still the better team and I was reminding everyone of this. We were losing to ourselves, not to BDS. In the end, we played our game and took the win.”
Finally, G2 have another trophy in the cabinet, and this one feels a little more important than most of the others. After making roster changes this was the new team’s first truly major tournament win, and after a long run of just missing out on titles, the team finally proved they could do it and take the win.
“We felt rewarded at last,” says Virtue. “All the hard work and time we have put in has finally paid off, it was pure joy. We know what we are capable of and now everyone does.”
The win really couldn’t have come at a better time. After almost a year of no LAN competitions, the Six Invitational is returning to in-person competition next month, with the annual world championship event being held in Paris, France. While the usual massive crowds and great community engagement might not be possible, a true world championship with teams from all over the world competing against each other is.
Every team that makes it to the Six Invitational carries a threat, but with G2 finally picking up a major tournament win and the current roster looking better than it ever has, they once again enter the biggest competition of the season as one of the favourites. Obviously, with no international play so far this season, many of the teams are more of an unknown than usual, but G2 feel confident, buoyed by the recent win, and expect nothing less than to win another world championship in Paris.
“Every team is there [at the Six Invitational] for a reason: because they are the best from around the world,” says Virtue. “We will respect every team there with no underestimations of any. But there can only be one winner, and we are going there to win.”
With the Invitational set to be the first major LAN event we've seen in Siege in a year, the appetite from fans to see some truly incredible play is higher than ever. But G2 are officially back, and that is almost a guarantee for some unbelievable action on the biggest stage of them all. It won’t be easy, but G2 has a great chance at another world championship, and you do not want to miss a match on the road there.