This weekend, G2 kicked off their hopes of achieving the goal that eluded them in 2019. With a win in the LEC Spring Split, they’ve kickstarted their hopes of once again achieving a competitive grand slam.
Despite a somewhat lacklustre performance in the playoffs, falling in a 5 game series to rookie squad MAD Lions, moving them into the loser’s bracket, G2 proved that nobody could get the better of them twice; with a 3-1 retribution against MAD bringing them to the finals matchup that had been anticipated since the very start of the split.
G2 Esports vs MAD Lions
With the 3-2 victory for MAD still fresh on everyone’s minds, nobody quite knew what to predict for this series. The normal sentiment would have been to predict a quick 3-0 for the infinitely more experienced G2, but nobody was quite ready to count out MAD after their performance in the first round of the playoffs.
In this matchup, all eyes were on the bottom lane, with many of the criticisms levelled at G2 coming at the swap of mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther.
His at times less-than-stellar performance in the role in the Spring Split left many fans wondering if the swap to AD Carry was the correct move; and with MAD Lions showcasing a dominant botlane performance by Matyas "Carzzy" Orsag and Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser, this matchup was looking pretty scary for G2 fans and players alike.
However, these fears were unfounded, with Caps putting on his best performance of the split so far and securing himself Player of the Series, coming second in KDA score only to his support.
Despite a heroic deathless performance by MAD jungler Zhiquiang "Shad0w" Zhao on Jarvan IV in the third game of the series, MAD were unable to replicate their previous performance, and gave G2 a one-way ticket straight to finals.
G2 Esports vs Fnatic
With the arrival of Sunday came the match every EU fan had been waiting for since the start of the split; the legacy matchup between two of EU's greatest behemoths.
A win today for G2 would tie up the total number of European wins for both teams at 7 split wins each - and with this clearly in mind, G2 put on a display of dominance unlike anything else we have seen from them so far this split.
With Fnatic not having won a game against G2 for the entirety of the Spring Split, many fans were still hopeful that they would be able to produce results when it mattered most, and replicate the creative drafting and dominant early game performance that had gotten them to finals in the first place. However, it was not to be, and G2 secured themselves one of the quickest 3-0 finals victories in LEC history.
With G2’s bottom lane looking to prove their doubters wrong, their draft of a Lulu/Kog’Maw botlane was left completely unpunished by Fnatic, and after a few early ganks by jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski, Fnatic just seemed to crumble.
This dominating performance by G2’s bottom lane earned support Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle the Kia player of the game award - giving G2’s supposedly underperforming duo a two for two on MVP awards in their finals weekend.
After the first two games of the split, in which Fnatic looked as though they had rolled over and died after early losses on the bottom half of the map, they finally put up a fight in Game 3. Jungler Oskar "Selfmade" Boderek was drafted onto his signature Gragas pick, and the bottom lane moved away from their unsuccessful Aphelios/Tahm Kench and onto the more comfortable Miss Fortune/Braum pairing.
However, it was all to no avail, and despite the third game being the only game in which Fnatic really put up a fight, G2 took the LEC crown in dominant 3-0 fashion.
What does this mean for EU as a region? With many criticising G2’s performance throughout the split, calling it a drop in dominance from their 2019 reign of terror, these finals have served to prove when it truly counts, G2 can flip the switch and perform.
With MSI moved to later in the year as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, it remains to be seen whether G2 will be able to replicate their international dominance from last year.
Will the experience of defeat make them hungrier for victory this time around? Or will their regional dominance count for nothing against some of the best League of Legends talent the world has to offer?