G2 Esports were once the dominating team in Rainbow Six Siege. After winning back-to-back Six Invitationals in 2018 and 2019, the all-star squad cemented their legacy as the first international powerhouse in the game’s competitive history.
With numerous roster shifts since, and other rising squads, the team has struggled to maintain this dominance in subsequent years. Their position as a top European team has remained intact however, having won the European League 2020 in January earlier this year.
Following the retirement of Niclas “Pengu” Mourtizen in March, with Juhani “Kantoraketti” Toivonen now the only remaining member from their original all-star roster, G2 Esports is entering a new era of sorts. Their new recruit is 19-year-old UK player Jordan “Kayak” Morley, who has quickly ascended to international level after an impressive run in the UK/Ireland Nationals circuit with Cowana Gaming.
Despite qualifying for playoffs in the Six Invitational 2021, their performance so far hasn’t been comforting for fans. They’re starting out in the lower bracket following a 3-6 win/loss record, with their first match against Parabellum Esports.
Ahead of their opening playoffs match, Kayak tells us about the issues the team has been facing and what it’s been like settling into G2.
G2 Esports haven’t had the best run during the Groups stage for the Six Invitational, do you think that’s a reflection of the competition level this year or something else?
Yes, we definitely haven't had a run by any means and nothing compared to the high standards we uphold for ourselves, I believe the reason for this is not competition, however it is very good, it’s just down to ourselves. We knew we had issues from our previous European League stage and things we knew we had to fix, and we did our best to fix them but unfortunately, some of the previous issues came up again and it took us a while to get going in the tournament. But finally we got enough wins to get into playoffs and hopefully pick up some form there along with hard work at the event.
How have you felt about G2’s performance so far?
I think there are are big things to be happy about but also things that haven't gone so well that can be used as a learning experience for the future. However the outcome of that is I see the potential in this roster when we get things right, we can become scary very quickly, we just need that time to become consistent and go through teething phases as a new roster with me on board.
You were brought in as Pengu’s replacement, with the announcement video poking fun at the huge shoes you’re coming in to fill, was the video angle your idea? What was your initial reaction when you found out you’d be replacing Pengu?
*laughs* Sadly I can’t take credit for the video idea. I believe that was Carlos Rodriguez (Chief Executive Officer at G2 Esports) and the content team at G2's idea, however when they showed me the script and the overall idea, including a few different ideas and versions, I was immediately up for it. I haven't had experience doing these types of skits and things but I've always been a fan of watching other esports teams such as G2's and others doing these things in the past.
My initial reaction to the news I was joining G2 was that obviously I was ecstatic, I had just came from a small national team that had got into the Pro League within 3 months, and then this followed, everything just came so quickly.
You’ve had a pretty rapid ascent from the UK circuit, what’s been the biggest learning curve in moving up to international level?
The biggest learning curve from moving to international level is, I think, the finer details that separate players and teams from being "good" and “great", including things inside and outside of the game that you think may not make a difference but in reality they can be the difference between a win or a loss. These can be things such as; diet, sleep schedule, work schedule etc. All things that gamers typically really wouldn't think about being a factor.
Playing against other regions is something I have recently come to grips with during my first Six Invitational, such as just overall meta shifts, how teams play different to the European region that I am accustomed to. Just to put regions to paper, I think NA is more slow and methodical, APAC has a mix of wild, whacky aggression and good teamwork, while I think Latin America has a good mixture of both.
How has it been playing at a LAN event after all these months? Is there some level of adjustment coming off online play?
LAN is definitely a different ball game as this is my first proper experience at playing at a LAN event, never mind something the size of the Six Invitational.
I think the obvious differences is that it’s not in the comfort of your own home, you have to travel to a new country, a new environment, maybe playing on a different desk and chair that could dramatically affect performance, therefore it’s important to be ready to be malleable.
Another big difference is within the gameplay itself. Online there is ping restrictions that affect hit registration, on LAN there is none of this as people may already know, therefore the game is much cleaner and it favours the better reaction time of the opponent as there is minimal delay.
Kayak joined G2 back in March (Picture: Instagram)
Rainbow Six Siege is one of the few esports where UK players are making a splash on the international stage, do you think the UK league circuit has set you up well for making the jump to G2 Esports?
I believe the UK leagues that I have progressed through has prepared me well to go on to the world stage. It showed me the way to the pro scene directly as UK/Ireland Nationals directly lead to a spot in Challenger League which then leads into Pro League. The UK circuit also gave me my first opportunity of competition and also helped me build my image, as it was here where I played my first streamed games and helped me deal with these nerves early on in my career — with thousands of people watching your every move it can be daunting the first time you experience it.
Therefore this experience set me up really well to join G2 on a global stage and I hope to make more waves as I progress in my career.
What’s it been like playing alongside Ben “CTZN” McMillan? Does the UK connection make a difference?
Playing with Ben is a blessing. I did team with him in the past around 2-3 years ago in a small amateur team, he was also really good back then. We parted ways but remained in the same friendship group playing ranked and things together. He progressed really early in his career and when he first joined G2 I was still playing in the UK leagues. This was a major motivation for me as I was in the same position as him once, therefore it gave me the confidence to believe I could do the same.
Having the UK connection is really good in my opinion, as we can enjoy the same banter together and we understand each other on a synergistic level just from playing with each other for so many years, so when I joined the chemistry was already there to see. Also with the UK connection and being friends, it's helped with settling in with G2; asking him for advice and getting to know the rest of the team.
Who do you think are the best operators in the Siege meta right now?
I think the best operator right now is Iana on attack based on the utility she can provide and insane set of guns. She has her Prisma's which essentially act as a drone which has a recharge after every go, she has two grenades and a Gonne-6 which is a new addition to the game which helps destroy bulletproof gadgets which are very important to clear in a pro environment; shields, bulletproof cams, Maestro cameras etc.
Iana also has a really good gun set with the choice of the G36C or the ARX which both are really strong weapons with the choice of scopes which can change from gun to gun and operator to operator in Rainbow Six Siege.
The Six Invitational 2021 Playoffs begin on Wednesday 19th May, and is streamed live on the Rainbow6 Twitch channel.