With the 2019 grand slam snatched from their fingertips by Chinese powerhouse FunPlus Phoenix, many wondered whether G2 would be able to replicate their 2019 dominance in 2020.
The Spring Split proved fruitful for the samurais - with an easy victory against Fnatic securing them the Spring title. Despite the cancellation of MSI, meaning there would be no international tournaments for G2 to cut their teeth on, fans hoped they would maintain the momentum of 2019 into a successful World Championship qualification at the end of the Summer Split.
However, those same fans were left cold by G2’s first week of the LEC - going 1-2 against teams they normally would not have spared a second glance.
G2 Esports didn't have the best start to LEC Summer (Picture: lolesports/Riot Games)
After their dominant defeat of MAD, they went into Saturday’s games with the momentum of a victory under their belts. This momentum was short-lived - with Origen’s top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris putting on a Gangplank masterclass that saw him end the game 7/0/4.
Even the Yuumi/Ezreal/Zoe combination of LCK fame (affectionately dubbed Team Rocket by the community), designed to poke from range, combined with the unkillable frontline of a Wukong with Yuumi’s assistance, was not able to secure G2 a win.
Day 3 was not much better for the star-studded squad, losing to the Spring Split’s last place team in Vitality. Coincidentally, they’re a team who appear to be turning around their abysmal performance at the start of the year with a 3-0 opening weekend.
G2 were unable to make any kind of proactive moves in the game, and a stellar performance from Vitality’s bottom lane choked out G2’s star players in a sub-30 minute stomp.
In traditionally humorous fashion, the team did not seem to take the loss to heart, with G2’s official twitter account responding with this tweet moments after the team’s loss.
It was like they weren't playing at all... pic.twitter.com/e3PyheWdzi— G2 Esports (@G2esports) June 14, 2020
Now, what does this mean for G2? Well, it’s fair to say calling them washed up this early in the split would be an extreme overreaction. To discount a team that has proven themselves both domestically and internationally, time and time again, would be to erase their history of high performance.
However, this lacklustre opening week also should not be ignored - with issues in both draft and execution; notably by the botlane duo of Luka "Perkz" Perkovic and Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle.
In a postgame tweet, coach Fabian "GrabbZ" Lohmann put the team’s poor performance down to ‘bad preparation’, stating that there ‘is no deeper reason for it’.
.... . .-.. -.. /— Fabian 'GrabbZ' Lohmann (@G2GrabbZ) June 14, 2020
.... --- ... - .- --. . /
-... -.-- /
.--- .- -. -.- --- ... /
... . -. -.. /
.... . .-.. .--.
Jokes aside, bad preparation for the week results in two losses, there is no deeper reason for it. That's on me.
G2’s fans can only hope that this is merely a blip in their path to Worlds, and that this worrying trend will iron itself out with better preparation and focus on draft leading into Week 2.