After a near two-year absence, G2 have reclaimed their European throne and the samurais will be looking to extend their rule to outside of Europe at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI).
This year’s MSI line-up is looking sensational with the champions of Europe, Korea and China all looking levels above the other teams in their region. This tournament will undoubtedly prove to be a monumental challenge but with the form G2 are in, this could also be a fantastic opportunity for Europe.
The LEC final saw history repeat itself as for the second time, the Ahoy Rotterdam witnessed G2 defeat Origen to be crowned European champions. The first of those triumphs began a two-year long reign over the EU LCS and the early signs suggest that G2 will repeat that same feat in the LEC era – or perhaps go even one step further.
That series was one of the most dominant displays you’ll ever see in League of Legends. You would be excused for thinking that Games Done Quick had added a Spring event as G2 decided to speedrun the finals, simultaneously breaking the record for the fastest game (18 minutes 31 seconds) and fastest final (74 minutes 32 seconds) in European history.
This current iteration of G2 may be one of the most powerful and unpredictable teams Europe has ever produced. With Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s past in the mid lane and Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s love for off-meta picks, G2 are extremely adaptable and unpredictable which gives them a huge advantage over their opponents.
We’ve seen it all season. In the opening week of the LEC, G2’s poke comp of Zoe bot, Jayce mid and Karthus jungle left Origen wondering if they would even be allowed to play the game that day. And OG were the victims once again in the final as G2 showed they knew exactly how to play around the Sona Taric combo bot before G2 countered that same duo by bringing back the funnel comp strategy. Perkz took Smite on Xayah and returned to the mid lane while Caps roamed around as Pyke and Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski put himself on wave-clear duty in a 2v1 against OG’s bot lane.
Though those outrageous strategies have served G2 well, there’s no denying that the team is just as strong when playing the regular game. Every member of the team are amongst the most individually talented of their roles in Europe.
Ahead of the final, G2 founder Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez said he formed this roster because “it allows people to dream. Everyone knows that if this roster works out, it has the potential to be the greatest Europe has ever seen.” There’s no doubt that this roster has the ability to take down the world’s best but that is a heavy burden to carry.
Super team take two
This isn’t the first time that G2 has built a “super-team” and while rosters of the past were able to rule Europe, they weren’t able to transition that same form onto the World Championship stage. The G2 roster of 2016 and 2017 with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez was considered one of the strongest line-ups Europe had produced at the time but the team wasn’t able to escape the Worlds group stages two years running.
The second time was especially bitter following a strong showing at MSI 2017 which saw the team reach the final before falling to SK Telecom T1 at the final hurdle despite a valiant effort. It almost feels like fate that G2 could meet with the three-time World Champions once again.
SKT have gone through a reincarnation themselves in Korea as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has been joined by heavy hitters such as Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong and Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. The team had been chasing Griffin for the majority of the Spring Split but the LCK final was a different story as the young team were decimated 3-0 in the final, giving SKT their first regional title since 2017. Formerly nicknamed “Baby Faker”, Caps will be desperate to prove himself against the best mid laner of all time, adding to his own legacy.
SKT won’t be the only team at MSI that will have Caps planning revenge for either as his loss to Invictus Gaming from last year’s Worlds final will still be fresh in the memory. Though Jankos, Perkz and Martin “Wunder” Hansen will also feel the same as they met a similar fate against IG in the semi-finals. Strangely, last year was the first time G2 went into Worlds with little expectation, yet it was by far their best showing – reaching the semifinals after taking down tournament favourites Royal Never Give Up.
The dreams of Europe were crushed when Invictus Gaming lifted the trophy in Incheon and the Chinese team has gone about ruining the dreams of Caps this season too. The Danish mid laner dreamt earlier in the season that JD Gaming would face G2 in the MSI final and it looked like Caps had become Europe’s prophet following the LPL team’s incredible run through the Playoffs. Yet, it wasn’t meant to be for JDG as Invictus Gaming made short work of them to lift the LPL title.
And of course, you can’t forget about North America’s Team Liquid – though Jankos nearly did in his post-final interview. With a bot lane of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, Liquid will always pose a threat, though the team’s recent international performances haven’t always lived up to the hype. After having to reverse sweep TSM, Liquid have got a lot of work to do if they want to compete internationally.
Meanwhile, the MSI representatives from Europe, China and Korea all won their regional finals 3-0 and looked miles ahead of their local competition. This really will prove who is the strongest region in the world. Are China still the world’s best, will Korea return to the top or is this Europe’s time to shine? It’s difficult to say but there’s little doubt that G2 will do their region proud.