In the first part of our journey into the story of G2 Esports, we went through the establishment of the G2 Esports organization, their early beginnings, and their struggles to get into the most prestigious League of Legends tournament, the World Championship. The second part of their story will start after the disappointing results at World Championship 2017. This is the tale of how G2 built their momentum, proved the world that they can do great things and became one of the most dominant rosters and biggest names on the League of Legends scene.
Struggles after Worlds 2017
The results from Worlds 2017 were more than disappointing. G2's journey had finished in the group stage again and that brought many problems. We can freely say that the whole team fell apart. G2coach Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool decided to leave the team and players Ki "Expect" Dae-han and Kim "Trick" Gang-yun followed suit.
On top of that, G2's bot-lane duo Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Alfonso "Mithy" Aguirre Rodríguez also left the team and went to play for Team SoloMid. With 4 players off the roster, Luka "PerkZ" Perković was left alone once again.
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The only solution was to rebuild the roster from the ground up around PerkZ. G2 signed a new bot-lane duo from Team ROCCAT – Petter "Hjarnan" Freyschuss and Kim "WADID" Bae-in. They also signed a new toplaner from Splyce – Martin "Wunder" Hansen – and jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski from H2k.
However, that was a completely new roster with zero team chemistry. The team had to start from the beginning and all they needed was time. Still, the results weren’t so bad and they finished second in the Regular Season with a 11-7 score. G2 Esports even had a chance to defend their title in the Spring Playoff Finals but they failed to do so against fnatic who were led by their former coach YoungBuck.
PerkZ accused of player tampering
So many transfers attracted too much attention and it was suspicious. G2’s midlaner PerkZ was even accused of player tampering as he unofficially scouted players he wanted to recruit. Allegedly, he illegally approached Mithy, Zven, Wahid, Hjarnan, and Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu. The negotiations allegedly took place long before the players’ contracts ended and he didn’t get any approval from their contract holders.
However, G2 responded to those accusations and denied the whole thing:
“No, Perkz has never contacted players under contract with other teams on the behalf of G2.” - G2 Esports
Europe dominance in 2018
During the 2018 Summer Split, G2 had to deal with the new meta and they started the first three weeks strong, going 6-0. They also played at Rift Rivals and this time they won all their group games and ultimately – the event.
With such great performance, the expectations of G2 Esports fans grew, and so did their numbers. G2 Esports were not only the strongest European team by far, but also the funniest, most creative... and the most hated. G2 players were confident and a bit cheeky, not afraid to tease their opponents and call them names.
The perfect example of that is an interview given by G2’s jungler Jankos where he openly said that NA teams “suck”.
League of Legends World Championship – 2018
G2 went through the play-in round and finished the group stage as a first-place team. After the draft, they ended up in Group A with LCK second seed Afreeca Freecs, Flash Wolves from LMS and Phong Vũ Buffalo from VCS. The second place in the group was enough to get them into the quarterfinals.
There, G2 were the clear underdogs vs LPL’s Royal Never Give Up. Playing all five games in the best-of-five, they managed to secure the win with a 3-2 score, only to lose in the semifinals against LPL’s first seed Invictus Gaming. With that result, they were placed as a 3rd-4th
team and won roughly $450,000. While they weren't crowned champions, that was also their biggest success at that time.
New roster changes
At the end of 2018, G2 announced that they were releasing their botlane duo Hjarnan and Wadid, and were getting a replacement for their support player with Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle.
The ADC role was open and everyone expected G2 to sign some famous player that was able match their star squad. However, they had a different approach.
The team signed mid-laner Rasmus "Caps" Borregaard from none other than their rival team fnatic and he replaced PerkZ as the primary mid-laner. PerkZ also posted a little hint about his own position switch, tweeting:
“It's looking like I'm not getting a spot on #LEC team as a starting midlaner.”
Perkz said at the time:
“I knew Wunder, Jankos and I were the best in our positions, I brought in two players that I thought I needed to win the Worlds.”
Taught by experience, many doubted the new European super team but soon, the Kings of Europe would ascend their throne again without any problems. For a start, they won that year's Mid-Season Invitational, becoming the first team from the West to do so.
In this lineup, G2 Esports never lost a best-of-three series and they won against the notorious SKT T1 and Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok twice.
Spring Split 2019
The 2019 Spring Split was the first major challenge for the new G2 Esports roster. They entered the Split much better than their competition, winning the first 9 games and securing a place in the playoff finals, ending up as the first-placed team.
In the Finals, they fought against Origen and totally destroyed them with 3-0. That was also the record for fastest playoff series in EU, the whole match lasted only 74 minutes and 31 seconds.
Mikyx wrist injury
At the end of the LEC Spring Split, G2’s support player Mikyx reported a wrist injury. That was a big problem for G2 because they were going into MSI 2019. G2’s head coach Fabian "GrabbZ" Lohmann announced that Mikyx would be free of scrims and SoloQ responsibilities entirely.
EU vs NA – MSI 2019
Due to the problems related to Mikyx’s injury, G2 ended the group stage with a 5-5 score, barely enough to secure a place in the playoffs. The bracket wasn’t kind to them as they had to face SKT T1 again. Luckily, after a thrilling best-of-five series, G2 Esports came out on top winning with a 3-2 score and secured their place in the grand finals.
The grand finals of MSI 2019 were something special. It was the fight of an EU team versus an NA team and a time to see who would come on top. This was not only about that tournament, but it was also about the never-ending rivalry that started at the beginning of the LoL pro scene. Ultimately, Team Liquid didn’t show much – G2 swept them in the fastest international best-of-five series in League of Legends history and became MSI champions.
League of Legends World Championship – 2019
As soon as G2 Esports confirmed their dominance in Europe, all eyes were on the World Championship.
Truth to be told, they didn’t play a perfect tournament that year but they beat all three Korean teams and American Cloud9 on their way to the finals.
The hope of the fans and the hype that rose around G2 Esports was partly carried by the organization’s great marketing, partly by great and distinctive individuals, and partly by the great games they showed throughout the whole year. However, the main reason for that hype was, of course, European fans hoping for their representative to take the world throne. And the hype was completely justified.
G2 entered the tournament as one of the favorites and were placed in Group A with LCK’s team Griffin, NA’s Cloud9 and LMS’s Hong Kong Attitude. They ended the group stage with a 5-1 score.
After beating DAMWON Gaming 3-1, they advanced in the semifinals where they faced SKT T1. Facing the 3-time world champions wasn’t easy but G2 knew they could win, just like they did at MSI. And they did it, they won and qualified for the grand finals for the first time in the history of this team.
Crash in the finals against the Chinese
However, in the grand finals, they were greeted by FunPlus Phoenix, the team that won the Chinese Championship (LPL), probably the strongest league in the world. PerkZ himself admitted that they sometimes watched the LPL, but mostly the matches of Invictus Gaming, the team that took the world title last year.
FPX are a great team, it’s never been disputed, but how good they actually are is what surprised G2 Esports. After the defeat, they admitted that FPX were better prepared for the draft and their players played more accurately and that in the end, a better team celebrated.
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After finishing second on Worlds, there was a little switch in roles inside of G2’s roster. On December 13, both PerkZ and Caps posted on Twitter about their role swap. That left most of the fans in disbelief.
The 2020 Spring Split was about to start and lots of people were wondering how G2 would perform after switching positions. Despite the switch, they dominated the start of the split, going 6-0 in the first 3 weeks. They ended the Spring Split as Number 1 with a 15-3 record. As a first-placed team, they could choose which team to face in Round 1 and they chose MAD Lions. After the shocking result, G2 lost against MAD and were dropped into Loser’s Bracket.
There, they faced Origen, and won Bo5 series 3-1 and secured the finals where they faced Fnatic. Just like last year with Origen, G2 managed to outplay Fnatic 3-0 and take their 7th LEC title.
This is not the end of their story. G2 Esports are just warming up for greater glories. Will they fulfill their dream and win the World Championship in the following years? Only time will tell.
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