At first glance, G2 Esports' 3-0 sweep of Gen.G in the quarterfinals of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship could be viewed as a series so one-sided that the G2 player with the highest statistics in the series would be gifted honors for Player of the Series without a contextual evaluation of those statistics. In this series, that couldn't be further from the truth.
G2 Esports mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther certainly put up the best numbers of any member his team, and while this wasn't the one-man-show Caps put on during G2's summer slump, he was without a doubt the best player on Summoner's Rift and the primary difference-maker in G2's triumph over Gen.G. Caps was rightfully awarded Player of the Series, so let's break down his dominance against Gen.G and how he created the most influence of any individual on G2 Esports.
A date with destiny
The rosters of G2 Esports and Gen.G are stacked with talent, but the premiere matchup of the series was between Caps and Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong in the mid lane. When first making his debut in League of Legends Champions Korea with CJ Entus, Bdd was hailed as the second coming of Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, and while Bdd has not eclipsed the most iconic Bonjwa in LoL Esports history, he's built a storied career for himself with plenty of peaks rivaling or even surpassing Faker at times.
Caps, on the other hand, was unironically nicknamed 'Baby Faker' even before his European League of Legends Championship Series debut due to his staggeringly high skill ceiling , which was met with skepticism and mockery until Caps established himself as the greatest Western mid laner to every play League of Legends. This is all to say that the mid lane matchup was a premiere clash between world-class talent and would provide entertainment regardless of the series' outcome.
In game 1, Gen.G answered Caps' Twisted Fate pick with Bdd's signature Azir in an effort to absorb the early game pressure and scale into superior teamfight, objective control, and siege potential. While the early game was favorable for Gen.G's scaling composition, the battle of attrition began to uneven as Caps' usage of Destiny on Twisted Fate continued to secure larger advantages for G2 than Gen.G could match as the game went on. By the time Azir hit critical mass, it was too late for Gen.G.
Gen.G adjusted in game 2 by picking Twisted Fate for Bdd and thus denying the semi-global pressure of the Card Master's Destiny, but Caps answered intelligently with Sylas. Not only does Sylas give Caps plenty of self-agency within G2's aggressive collapses, but the Unshackled's ultimate allows Sylas to steal opponents' ultimate abilities.
Destiny was once again within Caps' hands, and he provided far more value within game 2 and again in game 3 when the mid lane matchup was a runback.
G2 Esports came into its quarterfinal against Gen.G as the team in superior form at Worlds 2020, and was expected to win the series regardless of the particulars of mid lane. Support Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle also had a phenomenal series, making play after play set up by Luka "Perkz" Perković's Jhin throughout the series. Martin "Wunder" Hansen gave jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski and the rest of his teammates ample opportunity to exploit Gen.G Kim "Rascal" Kwang-hee in the top lane.
Never the less, Caps' top individual performance on the day cannot be denied. The series was not as one-sided as the 3-0 record might indicate, and in the latter pair of games, Bdd did a much better job of matching Caps after abandoning Azir and creating his own opportunities for his team on Twisted Fate. Each early game was a bloody war of attrition, but as time dragged on in each match, Caps' plays continued to net more advantages pound-for-pound than Bdd's responses.
The context of Caps' instrumental role in the one-sided result of G2 Esports' Series against Gen.G is backed up by the stats: 4/1/11 on Twisted Fate, 11/0/11 on Sylas, 6/3/13 on Sylas. Awarding an honor like Player of the Game should never be decided solely on stats, especially in a series that was far more competitive than the 3-0 record indicates. However, this time, the stats tell the whole story: Caps is the hard carry of an immensely talented and surging G2 Esports.
G2 Esports is headed to the semifinals of Worlds 2020 to face off against current tournament favorite DAMWON Gaming. The series will be a much tougher battle for the LEC champion than today's series against Gen.G, but Caps might be the only mid laner at the tournament who can match Heo "ShowMaker" Su due to a quieter than expected performance from Top Esports mid laner Zhuo "knight" Ding.
Since winning the 2020 LEC Summer Split MVP, Caps has only continued to improve, and like a tide raising ships, the rest of G2 has surged along with him. Should G2 repeat its Worlds 2019 quarterfinals defeat of DAMWON Gaming, it would qualify for its second consecutive World Championship final and would face off against the winner of the LPL semifinal showdown on the other side of the bracket between Top Esports and Suning.
*Photos by Yicun Liu for Riot Games*
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