After reclaiming the LEC throne and an MSI run that ended in the semifinals, G2’s next challenge is around the corner: The 2022 LEC Summer Split. Aside from defending their throne against the bloodthirsty likes of Rogue and Fnatic, who’ll come back with a vengeance, G2 seeks to return to the world championship after missing out in 2021.
The goals are clear for Head Coach Dylan Falco. Before the Summer Split kicked off, he spoke with Inven Global to reflect on the highs his team experienced this year, and what caused them to so memorably fall to their knees at the Mid-Season Invitational in Busan. He also pondered on the challenges his team will face in the season, and how competitive the league will be in wake of offseason roster changes.
We're right at the start of the LEC Summer Split, Dylan. You had a bit of downtime after MSI ended — how was it to relax a bit after having quite a hectic schedule?
Coming out of MSI, we had very little time actually. I think it was a total of maybe thirteen days until we were playing again in the Summer Split, with a completely new patch and a completely new meta. So, our break was very short. But I think the rest of the team and I tried to rest as much as possible. We are coming into the Summer Split with just a quick week of trying to prep what we can. I think it's good that we're not completely out of practice — we played so much at MSI — but we definitely have some adapting to do.
"I want to do better. I want to be able to win the world championship with this team."
Looking back at MSI, you guys came into the tournament on a great run, which continued throughout the tournament for a bit. But then, seemingly very abruptly, that came to an end. You've had more time to chew on that now, so how do you reflect on that performance?
I think that, going into the Rumble Stage, T1 and RNG were always gonna be very strong opponents. Our first couple of games against them caught them off guard, I think. We had some very clutch performances, like a big comeback versus T1 for example. The fact that we didn't perform as well against them in our second set and in our best-of-5... I want to do better. I want to be able to win the world championship with this team. But it was not surprising. We scrimmed them a lot and they were very, very strong teams. It felt like we had ways to go, that we were still a bit far from where I think we need to be.
The fact that it ended with a bunch of losses in a row, including our two losses against PSG... Honestly, I think our two PSG drafts were just horrible. I think it's mostly due to that. And then there is a bit of a snowball effect on the mentality. I actually think that it's more of a fact that T1 and RNG were quite good, and our PSG prep was just really bad. [Laughs]
I spoke with Targamas in the Spring Split as well, and he also pointed out that the team is very momentum-driven. It's interesting that it also works the opposite way. Do you now have any strategies to avoid the team going down in a spiral?
It's just important to have stability in your understanding of how you want to play the game, and stability in what you think is good from a draft perspective. I think, when you're losing or in a bad run, to have that foundation that everyone can come to and find agreement on is good. I think that's something we didn't have a lot in our loss streak, but it is something we can have in the future.
Last year, when MAD Lions got back from MSI, they took it a bit easier in the first weeks of the Summer Split because of fatigue. How is that for G2?
I think we definitely needed a bit of a break before the Summer Split for sure. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of the "don't play" approach to the LEC. We really want to perform well in the Summer Split and we want to qualify for Worlds. A strong Summer Split performance is important to us. I would say it's a mix. We took some time off, we don't expect to be at our peak in week one, but we're definitely looking to take the regular season quite seriously.
G2 have very seasoned players in Jankos and caPs, who have gone through this cycle of including MSI in the year before, but your other players haven't. How are they handling it?
We've been back for a few days and we're already playing well against pretty good top European teams. I think, skill-wise, we'll be fine. I think we've always been a very, very strongly skilled team. I think that scrims are one of our strengths; we have a lot of individual skill to fall back on. We also really love the game. When you have a group of players like ours, that love the game so much, and you have someone like me, Flakked, and caPs, who are just always talking, coming up with ideas, and joking, I think the risk what you would call the burnout issue becomes a bit smaller. Obviously, we need to be wary of it, but I think we have a very good group of people to handle a long season.
"I have a suspicion that the top three teams from Spring will not all be the ones to make it to the world championship."
You mention Flakked, and he's someone I wanted to talk about as well. In the Spring Split, you played a lot through the top lane, but we saw at MSI that he can have incredible performances on champs like Kai'Sa. Are we gonna see you explore that more?
Hm, I think in our playoff run in the Spring Split we already put a lot more work into enabling our bot lane. It was definitely a learning process to integrate them. They had quieter voices when it came to what they needed in the game. I wasn't sure, sometimes, what they needed. But that is one of the biggest points of growth we've had. We are not going to be a one-dimensional team in the Summer Split and only play through top or something. [Laughs] But I feel like we've not played that way for quite some time.
The Summer Split brings new hurdles — you already mentioned the new meta — but also new teams with new players, you'll be playing in front of an audience all Split now... As you said, in Spring, integrating the players was a hurdle to overcome. What's the hurdle you think you'll have to take in Summer?
I think best-of-1's have a lot to do with good match preparation. I think it's very easy to have a bad plan for a best-of-1 and then it's just over. You don't have the time to adapt between sets. We just have to focus on what we're good at as well.
There have been quite some roster changes in the offseason. You probably haven't played against all teams yet, but how do you feel like the offseason is going to impact the competitiveness of the LEC in the Summer Split?
I feel like there are a lot of threats. There are five, maybe six Worlds-level teams, and only three slots. I think some of these rosters will fail and others will work out right, but it actually is very hard to predict. I have a suspicion that the top three teams from Spring will not all be the ones to make it to the world championship. But whether it's a team like Excel, Vitality, MAD Lions... I think it could be any of these teams that step it up and do well.
Interesting! Which team do you suspect might miss out on Worlds then?
Oh, I'm not sure, that's hard to say. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Oh, come on! If you think that somebody else is gonna make it, then someone has to drop out.
[Laughs] I just think it's very competitive between all of those teams.
Alright, we'll leave it at that then. Thanks, Dylan, and good luck in the Split!
Thank you so much!
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.