Make no mistake – this isn’t the same G2 Esports (G2) from last year’s Worlds. Though they are still the favorites in this group, looking to challenge G2 are two teams from this year’s Mid Season Invitational (MSI); Ascension Gaming (ASC) and SuperMassive Esports (SUP). Will either team pull off the upset or will they be left battling for second place?
After finishing a disappointing 2-4 in the MSI Play-Ins, they returned in the summer tour, replacing Intreso with longtime ADC Lloyd for the jungle. This move paid off as they went on to eviscerate the newly formed SEA Tour Summer, dropping only a single game and clean sweeping the finals to punch their tickets to Worlds.
Longtime League fans recognize G4 and Lloyd from the last team that represented Thailand at Worlds, the Bangkok Titans. The familiarity these two players possess has created an oppressive mid-jungle duo that snowballs G4 ahead of the opposing mid laner and gives Lloyd free reign on the map. Rich is a formidable support known for his engages on the likes of the Rakan and the Alistar, but he also had good reason to pick up the Tahm Kench with the addition of his new bot lane partner from Russia, Niksar (It’s rare to see a Western player imported onto an Eastern team). Niksar only played marksman despite the mid season changes, giving the team a needed late game insurance policy to close out the leads that Lloyd-G4 provided for the team.
Rockky, fittingly, is a complete rock for the team and may be one of the most underrated player coming into play-ins. Earlier this year, he became the first Thai player to reach Challenger on the Korean server ladder. Rockyy is reliable when playing tanks but he shines on the Camille, allowing him to style on the opposing top laner to be unmatchable in the 1v1.
SUP is representing Turkey this year at Worlds but a looming question remains. Is this team the best Turkey could have sent?
Despite nearly missing out on the group stage of MSI, SUP returned in TCL Summer to finish second place to Royal Bandits. Though they managed to get the 3-1 victory in the finals against Royal Bandits, a lot of Turkish fans are left wondering if Freeze and company would have been the better team to make it out of play-ins. Against this specific group, however, SUP matches up far better against the mid dominated playstyles of G2 and ASC under the veteran leadership of GBM.
With 18 unique champion picks in the Summer Split alone, GBM plays anything and everything. They are the best early game team in all of Turkey and generally look to play through bot lane. Zeitnot, one of the best talents to come out of Turkey, has recently been playing utility marksman like Ashe, Jhin, and Varus. These picks allow them to have pressure in the bot lane 2v2 while GBM has control over his midlane, letting Stomaged play around bot side. Their first tower rate of 83 percent in summer freed up Snowflower to roam with Stomaged and snowball the map. They then use their 4-1 Baron composition to bait or take Baron and close out the game. FabFabulous is usually relegated to tank duty or team fighting champions like Rumble to push the strategy further.
SUP is used to playing ahead in their region, thanks to their strong laners, but struggle when playing from behind, which has been exploited domestically and internationally.
The play-ins stage is unfamiliar territory for G2. They have been the first seed from Europe since joining the EU LCS in 2016. The only returning player from this squad is their superstar, mid laner Perkz, who has shouldered even more of the responsibility to solo carry games. A completely new roster has brought an identity shift for the team, trading out the scaling late game team fight playstyle of past G2 for a team focused on early game setups to get ahead from the start.
G2 has been more of a Baron team, but the emergence of Wunder as a solo carry top laner has made the 1-3-1 split push composition an option. Wunder has been playing grouping champions like Gangplank and Sion, but can also play picks like Fiora or Darius. Wadid, Jankos, and Hjarnan have had growing pains adjusting to the disappearance of funneling from the meta.
Hjarnan turned Heimerdinger into a must-ban against G2, sporting an eye-popping 56 KDA on the champion. Although he hasn’t found the same success on marksman, he has shined on Tristana in the past if he is looking for a comfort pick. Wadid has found the most success this season on peel supports like Tahm Kench and Morgana. He shines outside of lane, peeling for the team and lighting up the map with vision.
Jankos, the former First Blood king, managed to end the season on a high note after uncharacteristically struggling throughout the Summer Split. Lately, Jankos has found success with Predator junglers like Olaf and Skarner. The team is going to need his Worlds experience with H2k if they want to make it to groups.
Out of ASC and SUP, SUP is more likely to take a game off of G2. They can exploit G2’s bot lane and take advantage of the volatile best-of-one setting. However, G2 is still going to finish first place in this group due to ultimately having superior lane assignments and wave management. ASC needs a gigantic carry performance out of G4 to make it to second place. Unfortunately, GBM and Perkz’s lanekingdoms will reign supreme in the end. Both G2 and SuperMassive will clean sweep ASC and take a single game off each other but in the tiebreaker – I have to give it to G2.
1st – G2: 4-1 (win tiebreaker), 2nd – SM: 3-2 (lose tiebreaker), 3rd – ASC: 0-4.
Featured Image courtesy of Riot Games
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