Last time the rookie team faced Fnatic in the Summer Split 2015 Finals and fell at the last hurdle in a brutal five game series. So G2 esports can feel pretty smug as the first team ever to enter the EU LCS from the Challenger series and win the split. But that's not to say that Origen didn't put up a decent fight. There were numerous times when the Worlds Semi-Finalists looked like they might take the game, or even the series. In game four of the best of five, Origen held a convincing lead with an early five kills and it seemed as if the Finals would be going to five games. With xPeke substituted into the mid lane, and that early lead, the fans were primed to hear the now familiar sound of Silver Scrapes, but G2 esports pulled off an astonishing comeback to win the series, along with the Spring Split trophy.
"We started getting behind and made a lot of early game mistakes," G2 esports' top laner Mateusz "Kikis" Szkudlarek explains. "I was motivating everyone to keep positive. We knew we could still win. We were the better team and we could try to come back. We were trying to exploit the weaknesses or mistakes they made. We knew they were going to be over eager and we can try to win teamfights. I was really strong in teamfights and people couldn’t really kill me." It also helped that G2 managed to secure two Baron steals in that final game, giving them the advantage necessary to turn the game around.
Throughout the series, fans saw a huge range of champions being picked. A stark contrast to Saturday's first two games, which featured two identical pick and ban phases, the Final included some strong evidence of both Origen and G2's abilities to adapt from game to game. This adaptation saw Origen win the second game and take the win with a classic Thresh/Kalista bot lane combo. G2's mid laner Luka "PerkZ" Perković was a monster on LeBlanc in the first game, bouncing around the Rift bursting down the opposition effortlessly. A LeBlanc ban in game two forced Perkz onto a Twisted Fate pick that was not so monstrous.
"In this meta there are too many good, broken, OP champions for you to ban out the most OP picks and then pick one," Kikis says. "There is always four to seven OP champions in one game at least." It helps that Perkz can famously 'play anything', but this means that games will rarely be won during the pick and ban phase. You never know what might happen. "Everyone has a big champion pool and everyone adapted well to the meta. Between the games everyone wants to make it more perfect and change strategies." This adaptation between games is something that will become more important as we move forward into the Summer Split. With a best-of-two series during the regular season, flukes will mean less and teams' abilities to evolve and strategise will become vital. "I like more than one game [per series]," Kikis says. "It is beneficial to me with my champion pool and how I handle stress and high pressure situations compared to some other players. I think our team is adaptable because we all have big champion pools, a smart coach and smart players." Judging from the Finals, we're having a hard time disagreeing.
It's touching to see two teams with Dutch players take to the Rotterdam Ahoy's stage and win in front of a home crowd. On Saturday's game, Febiven and the rest of Fnatic found victory in front of the Dutch audience, and in the Finals G2 esports' support player Glenn "Hybrid" Doornenbal and head coach Joey "YoungBuck" Steltenpool did likewise. Between the cheers for Dutch players, and the fans screaming for Origen, the atmosphere in the arena was incredible.
This win puts G2 esports in a fantastic position going into the Summer Split as well as the Mid-Season Invitational next month. "I feel really powerful and strong," Kikis says. "I think it is not a coincidence that we came in first place. We have most of the stuff we need to succeed and we are working hard. And that is not going to change." As he speaks, his confidence manifests as a challenge to other members of the EU LCS. "At this point other teams need to keep up to us because we are the top, but I don’t think we are going to let them. We are just going to continue to improve, and with international experience at MSI I think it is going to give us a lot. We will be looking strong going into the Summer Split."