It’s hard to feel comfortable reading the papers.
G2 Esports’ League of Legends lineup is — for really the first time — going through a rebuilding phase. A team that once felt untouchable and one that was destined to last the test of time simply no longer can. Following the mantra on continuous improvement has faired well for the organization. Only needing minor adjustments, the organization hasn’t had rough summers.
But after missing Worlds for the first time since joining the LEC, minor adjustments no longer get the job done. The organization feels that an overhaul is needed.
That 2020 Summer
It is sort of forgotten in history.
The concerns about G2 started sometime during the summer split. For the year, Luka “Perkz” Perković and Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard decided to split up the time in the mid-lane–trading off splits in the bottom lane. Previously being on marksman duty in the spring split, Caps would return to the mid-lane with expectations being high. Not exactly the best marksman in the world, Caps was still respected as one of the best, if not the best, mid-laner in the west. Meanwhile, Perkz’s return to the bottom lane was also seen as a great sign. Despite being a great mid-laner, what he brought into the bottom lane was refreshing and innovative.
2019 G2 was on its way back.
Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out. Perkz struggle — understandably mourning the loss of his father. While he would only miss two games, his rust in the bottom lane was noticeable. An 11-7 regular season performance wasn’t normal for G2. And even when it appeared as in Fnatic would be in a position to reclaim the throne as the better in Europe, Caps would pull out a legendary Grand Finals performance.
Even when they weren’t at their best, they were still really f***-ing good.
A semi-finals appearance at Worlds curbed the criticism of fans.
“They might have gotten stomped by DAMWON but at least they finished 3-4.”
The Perkz Portion of Things
Moving on from Perkz was a tough decision but it did and still feels like the right choice.
Perković wasn’t the better mid-laner and the thought of a conventional mid-laner was really appealing. G2 understandably would have to face the leadership loss of Perkz but they were also filled with a group of veterans.
And they were also receiving a ton of money for selling his contract.
Perkz’s move to North America hasn’t faired well. While he will be making an appearance at the 2021 World Championship and G2 won’t, individually he hasn’t been great. They would win domestic gold at the 2021 Mid-Season Showdown against a crippled Team Liquid, wouldn’t have the best showing at MSI 2021 and the organization would have a 15-12 regular season record in the summer. Not evening returning to expected form, their play-offs run would come down to Evil Geniuses and TSM simply not playing up to their expected form. Cloud9’s Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami’s performance would be the name in the headline — not Perkz.
Without Perkz, this understandably would be a different-looking team. But Martin “Rekkles” Larsson is a pretty decent upgrade. It is easy to forget that G2 Esports still were the best team in 2021 spring. It is easy to forget that Rekkles would have some of the best damage numbers in the spring split.
What We Should Learn from G2’s Rumored Movements
Reports regarding G2’s potential plans for the off-season are beginning to paint an interesting picture. The three seemingly confirmed movements as of this moment in time are the departure of head coach Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann, top-laner Martin “Wunder” Nordahl Hansen and the re-signing of Caps. There’s a discussion about the future of Rekkles but nothing appears set in stone.
GrabbZ and Wunder both have been labeled as key points of concern even prior to this season.
GrabbZ hasn’t been labeled as an incredibly strategic mind, rather he has been the person that has allowed great players be great players. He’s a Steve Kerr-like coach — you don’t expect him to call an incredible game. If you actually watch the Warriors, it’s a simplistic motion offense that is elevated by one of the greatest guards to ever play the game of basketball. When said player isn’t playing or is having a rare bad game, it doesn’t work as well. It doesn’t diminish his accomplishments or accolades, it just frames it a tad bit better.
Wunder has been the player that seemingly was always able to rely on his natural talent. There would be jokes about his practice regiment, spending more time on World of Warcraft then League of Legends. But he has always been able to figure it out. While he did struggle in lane, he didn’t have a terrible 2021.
It feels like G2 is trying to re-ignite a fire in the organization.
Removing a coach signifies a change in direction. While there are other reasons why a coach can be removed — performance, team environment, etc — a coaching change is powerful. GrabbZ was not a bad coach — he’s one of the best in LEC’s history and is deserving of another top-tier spot.
G2’s looking for a breath of fresh air within the organization. Moving on from a coach not only provides that, it allows for different possibilities of what their new direction is.
Does G2’s Management Know What To Do?
It is tough to ignore that this is G2’s first real rebuild. Managing from behind is much different from managing from ahead. Carlos Rodríguez was able to build something special but a lot has changed. They’ve seen multiple changes to their front office. The overall LEC landscape has changed — Fnatic and G2 Esports are having to fight against deeper pockets and organizations with established investments in the amateur space.
Everyone is expecting G2 Esports to open the door and expect players to flock for an attempt to get in but after failing to really build around Rekkles, is that the best idea — attempting to lure established talent once again?
Do they potentially think about going young?
It would make sense. You bring a new head coach, build around one of the best mid-laners ever in the LEC. G2 has the ability to pay the premium for the best young players that want to play for an organization like G2.
The team also doesn’t have a foothold in the amateur region. Despite having a partnership with Arctic Gaming in the LVP, it is has been a hands-off project from G2. Compared to the likes of Rogue, MAD Lions, Misfits, G2 has been behind the eight ball in this department.
Or do they do what everyone expects them to do?
They could return to their method of bringing in misused LEC talent — good players on decent teams that have the potential to be great. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik immediately comes to mind after a solid 2021 on a floundering Schalke 04 line-up.
The possibility of this being the case still feels strange.
It would be G2 playing into what had failed them in 2021: the lack of a grasp on the state of the league. Even with a new coaching staff that could improve the general dysfunction with their line-up, even with a player likes Caps returning to form, even with potentially having Rekkles be used correctly, rounding it out with a Broken Blade does feel like the answer. Even potentially bringing in a legend like Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás — effectively creating another super team — doesn’t feel right.
Hoping for a Renewed G2
Competitive League of Legends is fun when G2 Esports are good. Its been the best story in recent memory and has brought the LEC to a new level in both entertainment and competition. But G2 needs to find a new foundation.
Its been hinted that Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is towards the end of his career. The team could push for one last “super team” run but could also create the same situation they are currently in — attempting to determine the damage of a burning house. They’re in the weird in-between zone — should they put out the fire or attempt to get their valuables from the burning house?
We’ll find out.
“From Our Haus to Yours”