G2 Esports is in serious trouble after managing to win just over half of their games in the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) Summer Split.
After bagging multiple domestic LEC titles, winning the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), and getting to the World Championship (Worlds) finals last year, it is quite unusual to see this dominant team put on an underwhelming performance this season.
The slow downfall of the so-called “new kings of Europe” has fired up discussions from the community in the last few weeks.
“Will G2 make it to the playoffs?”
“They used to be great, what happened?”
“Will Caps be able to carry the team to Worlds?”
The G2 formula
One of the keys to their success lies in the meta, as seen from the 2019 Worlds and the 2020 LEC Spring Split. Despite Luka “Perkz” Perković and Rasmus “Caps” Winther swapping roles, G2 Esports still managed to shine, and even reclaimed the Spring Split trophy with a clean sweep against Fnatic.
G2 has always been known for their on-point macro game. They were really good at pressuring teams once they get a snowball in the early game.
The 2019 meta has always been about creative drafts. Remember Martin “Wunder” Nordahl’s stellar performance on Pyke on the top lane during the 2019 MSI?
Perkz’s Lucian during the Spring Split Week 2 also proved that his lane kingdom isn’t just limited to the bottom lane.
With these innovative champion picks, aggressive playstyle, and highly skilled roster, G2 Esports was at the height of their career.
Lost in the current meta
Everything changed in the LEC when the second half of the regular season started. Departing away from split-pushing, the meta favored heavy team fighting.
Other than 2020’s power picks Aphelios and Ornn, top tier mid laners Orianna and Azir favored grouping up and team fighting for objectives. The creative, map pressurizing strategies that once worked for the G2 in the Spring Split couldn’t be applied in the Summer Split.
The team’s head coach, Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann, revealed that they are having a difficult time fitting into the meta.
“The current meta hurts us and Fnatic because I think we both are teams who are very creative in draft. Split-pushing is almost dead, there is no champ that will actually pressure the side so much. The current meta used to be Sylas, Akali, Irelia, Jayce, Ryze,” said the GrabbZ during the LEC’s Post Game Lobby (PGL).
“The meta doesn’t allow many mistakes in draft, and also in-game it’s actually hard to find a small advantage as we usually got in the past against these teams now.”
Their heart-breaking loss to tenth-place team Schalke 04 was especially potent.
A questionable draft for G2 Esports, they again picked Aphelios for Perkz, who went up against Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík’s Ezreal. With Karma top, Tahm Kench support, and Orianna mid, they relied solely on Sett for engage in team fights.
Aside from Aphelios receiving a huge nerf in Patch 10.15, the champion isn’t really his strongest card. After this loss, Perkz still holds a 0% win rate on this champion in professional play, and only a 46% win rate in solo queue.
Less practice time
To find their place in the current meta, teams would opt for more scrims where they can try out different team compositions and figure out what works. The team’s Head Analyst, Christopher “Duffman” Duff, admitted that G2 haven’t had the time to really play as a five-man team.
Summer Split Weeks 1 to 4 was tough for the team, especially Perkz, whose father recently passed away. The loss took a toll on the bot laner, who eventually had to take a break from the LEC.
He was temporarily substituted by Kristoffer “P1noy” Pedersen — the Doublelift-slayer — in Week 4. The team benefited from a win when P1noy played Ezreal in their match against Misfits, where he dished out 20.4% overall damage.
In this second game against Excel, he pulled his weight on Senna, dishing out 13,516 (20.8%) overall damage, but ultimately could not compare to XL Patrik “Patrik” Jírů’s 40,800 damage done on Aphelios.
With more practice time, Duffman is confident that they can return to the old, successful G2 that fans have known.
“It’s not like we’re sitting here, wondering what happened to us. It’s very clear that one big part of it is preparation,” said Duffman.
Is MAD Lions simply better than G2?
There’s no doubt that rookie team MAD Lions is the hot team right now. As Indiana “Froskurinn” Black said on the LEC broadcast, MAD Lions are the new G2 Esports.
The Madrid team has a whopping 73% win rate right now, and is tied at a 1-1 head to head against G2 Esports.
MAD Lions is out here proving that creative picks can still earn them victories, like Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság’s unconventional Sona and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser’s Lux bot lane tandem in Week 7 against OG.
MAD Lions’ clean macro game, decisive play style, and solid drafts have earned them the top spot at the LEC Summer Split.
While things have started to look better for G2 after their recent 2-0 week, they still need to maintain their streak to qualify for playoffs. There is a possibility that the team might not make it to Worlds if they get a 0-3 in the upcoming LEC Superweek.
The Playoffs race has begun with just a week remaining for the LEC Summer Split. As caster Aaron “Medic” Chamberlain explained on stream, “If you [the teams] don’t make it to playoffs, you don’t make it to Worlds.”
Despite all the pressure that the team is experiencing right now, Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle is still hopeful that they could at least make it to the Summer Playoffs.
Will G2 Esports be able to get back their style and Hakuna-matata (Swahili for no worries) their way to victory?