After a four-game loss streak between weeks 3 and 4, G2 Esports' chances of making playoffs — and Worlds — looked slim. Since then, however, the team has bounced back with a 2-0 in Week 5, and while still at the middle of the leaderboards, it's at least over the proverbial hump, for now.
After the weekend, Inven Global caught up with Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski to discuss G2's problems (and how they're solving them) and whether there's an LCS-jersey'ed future for the veteran jungler.
When I’ve talked with Inspired and read recent interviews with you, you both have said that junglers are affected by their lanes. What are the differences between playing with a Perkz bottom lane and a Rekkles bottom lane?
I think both are very good, right? They have different pros and cons. I don't want to really go into details, but I think both are very, very good at the game.
Are there any pros you'd be comfortable sharing?
Rekkles is an AD carry main, right? So he has a lot of experience in it all… kinda like how I’ve played jungle for like 10 years. He’s played AD carry for 10 years. So no matter what kind of meta he is in or he's put in, he’s already practiced the matchups before. It basically makes him not start from scratch and he already has a certain opinion on how the matchup should go, so we can implement it into our gameplay.
"We want to get back on top of Europe, we want to represent Europe as the strongest team, not be one of the teams that get to go because it's top three."
You recently also stated that this season G2 has put a lot of emphasis on team building, which was explained as one of your downfalls last split. What about looking at the last few years? Although the team was very successful, was there still no emphasis on teambuilding?
Maybe before it came a bit more natural. I felt like we did a lot of things together because we wanted to. This year, it has been more difficult because of the pandemic around the world. It's much tougher to organize things to do together because there is nothing you can do outside. Of course, now things have opened up so we are doing a lot of things outside. But in Spring, everything was still closed and we couldn't really go to a restaurant, we could only do sports outside.
So the only things we did were board games, maybe watching LCS, maybe watching shows, and you can't always have a show that everyone enjoys, you can't always play a board game that everyone wants to play. So we kind of made sure that people are more open-minded towards team activities and we're also trying to make everyone happy. So it's not a chore but instead, you have fun and you participate because you want to.
Something unusual about the Spring Split was that if you look back to G2 in 2019, 2020 — you guys were always excellent at macro. You stated that G2’s downfall last split was that you got worse at macro as other teams got better. With MAD Lions though, their macro at MSI looked poor as well. Do you think Europe is behind in that sense?
I do think Europe is somewhat improving. And I do think that MAD Lions’ macro was probably slightly worse than others teams’. I just feel like China and Korea have their own ways of playing slightly different, but similar, in a way. And I think that we are worse because we have worse fundamentals. And we take inspiration from both regions. I feel like we — as G2 Esports — have never had too many issues playing against the Korean teams in the past. [laughs] Except for DAMWON I guess last year. And DAMWON was the only team that was clearly the best last year.
I think that Nelson brings a lot of the Chinese meta into our team, the way how LPL sees teamfights and how they see the map, and that's very helpful. And hopefully, even if currently LEC is behind in macro — which maybe we slightly are — we can catch up, assuming we can qualify to Worlds.
And before Worlds, we need to focus fully on LEC as well. First of all, two days ago, we didn't even know if we can make the playoffs. Now of course, after two wins, it seems like maybe we can bounce back and actually make the playoffs [G2 Esports are currently in 5th place with 6-5 record — Ed.]. But even if we do make playoffs, what we want to do is win playoffs and not just be satisfied with going to Worlds. We want to get back on top of Europe, we want to represent Europe as the strongest team, not be one of the teams that get to go because it's top three.
"I think we still need some improvements when it comes to our champion pools, I think there are still some things we have to fix. And I don't actually know if it's fixable, if that makes sense."
Nelson has helped with your champion pools, something you blamed for the team’s poor drafting last split. So far, that still seems to be one of the main issues with the team. Do the champion pools still need work? Or is there another issue?
I do think we had some misjudgments in how the champions are played and how the meta was at the beginning of Spring Split. And that's how we also inted and went 0-4 the last couple of games.
I think we still need some improvements when it comes to our champion pools, I think there are still some things we have to fix. And I don't actually know if it's fixable, if that makes sense. I'm not sure if we will try to fix it or if it's better to just focus on our strengths. But Nelson definitely brought some fresh air into the room. And I do think that we at least tried very, very hard to implement a lot of champions we didn't play before. I still think that we play more champions now than we used to in Spring Split, so we can definitely perform better at playoffs assuming we get there.
Last year, you said that you were closer to the end of your career than you were to the beginning. Now that you’ve had a year more to play, and there have been more challenges domestically, how much longer do you feel you want to play?
I'm still closer [to the end] for sure. Because, well, I've been playing since 2014. So I don't see myself playing until 2025, 2026, 2027. Maybe something changes, maybe I will and maybe I will still be decent at the game. But I don't know what is my plan to retire, I want to play until I have the chance of being good and being in a good team, if that makes sense. [...] I think that there is always a way to play and I’ve always wanted to win Worlds. And that hasn’t changed.
Perkz was noted saying that you might join the LCS? Is there anything attractive about that idea?
[laughs] I think it's probably just a meme at this point. Because everyone says that when the players are old enough, they retire in LCS. If I were to go to LCS, I don't think I would go for a paycheck. I think I would just focus more on the gameplay. Without lying though — I mean, if you go to LCS, you do get a paycheck, on top of you may be trying to win. Like Perkz did. He went to LCS and not only did he win the split but also I'm pretty sure he's getting paid a lot of money compared to Europe. So my plan, as I mentioned, is to just perform the best I can in the team I am in.
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.