After ousting Origen at the League of Legends European Championship Playoffs, G2 Esports will once again face MAD Lions, in the losers bracket, this upcoming weekend. After the match, Inven Global spoke to G2 Esports’s coach Fabian "GrabbZ" Lohmann shared thoughts on the preparation for playoffs.
"If we had lucked out and won against MAD Lions, we would have gotten stomped by Fnatic."
Players conditioning for playoffs: What has changed in the process since the LEC went online, and how does it compare to regular playoffs preparation?
The biggest impact was the loss of two weeks of preparation time, since the original schedule had a two week break between week nine and the beginning of playoffs, which means we have completely lost the two weeks of bootcamp before. Aside from that, it’s been really hard to get into the playoffs mode because we are playing from home. This is the same case for every team, so I don’t want to complain too much. Of course we still want to win playoffs and that motivates us, but the small rituals we get to do before entering the stage have changed.
What kind of rituals?
Basically how we behave in the studio before every match, small things, like the environment you’re sitting in, drinking your tea or coffee thirty minutes beforehand. While we can have a similar structure at home, it still feels very different, so we need time to adjust to it. We also have encountered issues with the overall setup, which we managed to fix before this match against Origen. It was a challenge for us, no doubt, but right now I think we are good to go.
Both teams play with a completely different approach. How does this play into how you approach strategy with your players?
Origen, traditionally, is not a surprising team. You know exactly what is coming because they don’t go out of their comfort zone. If you are the better team, you beat them. I know people think I hate them, or that I flame them a lot, but I just cannot see them winning against a better team, which both G2 Esports and Fnatic are.
Why do you think Origen struggles to get out of their comfort zone?
It is hard to say. I don’t know if it is the coaching staff or the players, because they are all very traditional. Maybe they need this comfort. It is easier to stick to the same approach to the game every single time than to change, so I don’t blame them for it. In a best of five scenario, where they opened on the blue side with the bans that we played, like Pantheon or Syndra, and you ban it because your comfort zone does not allow you to play against that, you will be playing the losing draft. If they have to ban the Yuumi, then it is really over, because we knew every single time what they were going to pick. The structure they get mandated by cannot change.
We played around Bot Lane, which required our Bot Laner to direct the team. Caps is a more quiet player, even when he played Mid, he was the kind of guy that needed low resources to have a high impact, and on Bot, that is harder to do. I think we have made good improvements from last week and Caps is stepping up a lot, so Origen was caught off guard.
Talking about last weekend’s matches, why are the MAD Lions a consistent threat to your team?
First of all, MAD Lions does not have the structured approach that Origen does, in a way that their game plan is the same. I did not want to say right after the game because I did not want to sound like a sore loser, but we did play very poorly. Both teams can look at the series and say they played really, really bad. It was good for the viewers, but both teams were probably disappointed about their gameplay.MAD is very aggressive, which means any leads they get, they will punish you very hard. I remember Origen’s game against Rogue, where they had a 3K gold lead after eight minutes and at 22, it was the other way around, because they just did not do anything about that. In the case of MAD, they would just not allow that to happen and would for sure punish you hard for it.
MAD Lions does not have a structured draft, so they can flex a Syndra pick, or a Kalista. The players can pick champions really quickly if they want to, which makes them have way more options than Origen has.
Yesterday, PERKZ tweeted “G2 lost to this PepeHands”. Are the MAD Lions only able to beat G2 in terms of top tier teams or can they become a threat to others?
MAD Lions has the highest chance of anything to upset Fnatic. The reason why we chose to face them first is because MAD is the most threatening. If we had played by our standards, and not extremely poorly like we did, they would have not been able to beat the best of five. Fnatic played at a higher level than we did, while MAD played very poorly, that’s why they went 3-0
Next weekend you will be facing the Lions once again in the losers bracket. What will you be doing differently this time?
Hopefully we will be thinking of the game and playing with our minds a bit more. The amount of easy mistakes we made were really, really shocking. A team like ours should not fall apart in such simple situations like we did.
So, why has G2 been falling apart then? Is there a factor outside the game affecting the team?
The playoffs preparation definitely played into it. We were not in the right mindset for playoffs, we were in regular season mode, in a sense that we were not taking things so seriously. It was partially me not having the most serious preparation for MAD Lions and thinking about Fnatic a bit too early. Our scouting team did an amazing job and we knew how the opponent would play the game. We had the information but could not make so much use of it because we did not play like we should have.
How sustainable is G2’s playstyle in the long term? And I mean with the addition of new rookies to the LEC each year, they seem to be imposing a threat to your players.
Even though it appears to be the case right now, especially because we have been playing poorly in a way, these teams still have a lot to catch on how their macro game is played, I would say they are delayed about a year. They are not individually better than my players. We still have the best five players in Europe. Fnatic and G2 both have the best talent.
Teams like Misfits Gaming or MAD Lions will be better once they learn about the game a bit more. They should not be a threat if we play by our standards. We have a lot to improve on and this split we did not go full try hard. My players have gone through every meta, when these players are rookies. We have gone through every scenario and that is a strength of ours. Still, I do believe that these two teams will grow to shine in 2021.
Misfits is almost equally as strong as Rogue right now. Next split we will for sure have two or three teams with Fnatic who can challenge G2 Esports. This competition allows us to focus and be more critical, trying a bit harder. This is not only good for us, but for the entire region.
Last time I spoke to you, you told me that “it’s good to feel threatened”. Is a little threat at the beginning of playoffs the fuel G2 needs to come out champion of the series?
It was helpful for sure. *laughs* If we had lucked out and won against MAD Lions, we would have gotten stomped by Fnatic, because like I mentioned, we are not yet in the playoffs mindset. This loss definitely made us critically think about how to win this game, there was no way we could look at this loss against MAD Lions and think everything is fine. I don’t want to discredit MAD Lions in any way, for a rookie team they are playing incredibly well. I am really excited to see how strong they can get. If we meet Fnatic, we will enter for blank slates. We both have strong claims for the title.