It's been a weird time for G2 Esports so far during the 2022 LEC Summer Split. After being seen by many entering the competition as the de facto best team in the league, G2 met the reputation. Their first two weeks were very strong — cementing themselves in the first place spot. The next few weeks proved difficult, however, as the lineups soon began dropping games, and fell as far down as being tied for seventh in the league. They have since climbed up to a more respectable position, but still are cautious about their current situation. Inven Global spoke with Rasmus "caPs" Winther, to discuss his thoughts on the team's form and how they compare to past G2 lineups.
Obviously, G2 isn’t the strongest in the standings right now, but the last time I spoke with you was when G2 was underperforming last split. You were pretty confident then and ended up winning the LEC. What’s your perspective on the team at the moment?
It's not that great right now. I still have full confidence — we won Spring, and I know we can reach even higher heights if we make Summer Playoffs. But I feel right now we're in a bit of a slump — partly because we're losing and partly because of best-of-ones. We're playing very nervous on stage and we're showing some mistakes that I don't feel we're doing in practice (or best-of-fives) because we are very scared about losing, which is understandable.
We are 5-5 now, but if we lost this game, suddenly it starts getting scarier and scarier if we're actually making playoffs. So I'm definitely a bit nervous about our performance, and I'm not too happy. But if we get a few more wins and make playoffs, then I'm quite confident we will take it again.
What would you say the reasons for the differences in G2's drafts are? It's something quite a few fans and analysts discuss. It seems that you guys are playing it a bit safer in your drafts — is that what you mean when you say you're playing a bit nervous?
It depends. All the losses were different to some extent. What I'm saying is I'm speaking of games most relevant, like the latest game where I think this was probably the most extreme, but also last week to some extent — in terms of nerves. The losses caught us quite off guard. And since then, we have maybe played it too safe and went for some more safe comps, but realistically, it's not so much about the picks we've used, it's more about the way we play.
We do like to pick some crazy drafts sometimes — especially when we know what a team does, we can come up with something crazy. But I think that we've also won a lot of games just playing more meta. Games like today [Jul. 22] — if we played this game at some of our better times, I feel like it would've looked a lot better. But it was very messy. We need to get rid of the nerves, and getting a few more wins would really help go a long way in doing that. Because right now, there's a lot of pressure on us.
Many times when teams come back from MSI, they deal with burnout and are not able to play at one hundred percent through the first few weeks. Would you say that's at all what you guys have been experiencing?
We have that to some extent — we came in quite late for LEC. And then the one week off as well: I think some teams were scrimming, but we just took the whole week off. So we definitely had our fair share of breaks, and I don't really feel burned out. I am just looking forward to the next match.
How would you compare the atmosphere of the team right now with G2 during the Summer Split last year?
I think this Summer Split is much, much better. Last Summer Split was probably the worst split of my life. Not only were we losing a lot of games, but we also felt there was not really trust between the players and staff, I guess, as well. This split, we obviously believe that we can be good. We just had a good showing, so that helps. But also, we had some good talks, and I feel people are sharing very openly what they think.
Whereas last split, I feel like maybe people were walking with their frustrations too much. And yeah, it felt very hard to play. It felt like there were so many other things going on than just that game of League. And I felt like I had to think about a lot of other things than coming up with the best picks, the best play, how we win the game.
This split, as I mentioned, we're still worried about our performance because it hasn't been up to par and we need to turn it around to make playoffs. But I don't think that has hurt the relationships really. And of course, the fact that we made MSI — that always makes it easier, because you know your teammates have the potential to be really good. But also, at the same time, I think we're just very open on our team, and I think our coaching staff was really good at getting rid of potential problems when they arise. So I guess those are the main differences.
Now that this lineup is made up of champions, how do you compare this roster to some of the past winning G2 teams? While the lineup is strong, it doesn't have as experienced or individually successful players as some of the other rosters you've been a part of. Your ultimate goal is to win Worlds — what gives you the confidence this roster could perform better than the others?
Season 9, we were a very unique team. No rules — whatever we wanted to do we did. There was full chaos, right? And that worked out insane for us in Season 9, at least Spring Split. I think come Summer it started going downhill a bit. We were still very good, and even at Worlds we had a fair shot, but it was getting worse over time, I felt.
And Season 10, was more of the same. We had some role swaps as well and stuff like that. A lot of really crazy stuff was going on in our roster. We also do crazy drafts now and crazy things now, but the Season 9 and 10 teams were many levels ahead of even any other team — what they were doing. Our drafts were very on the fly — literally changing on the day of playoffs or MSI. Sometimes it would even change mid-draft.
It worked out really good, so it was great. But it was also very chaotic. And I feel like it takes a lot of risks — it requires a lot of luck, but also a lot of discipline and very good understanding. A very good level from all the players. That's why it was so good in the beginning.
I feel like all the time, we became a bit worse. Maybe we ran out of as insane ideas and stuff like that. I think the formula we have right now in 2022...we also use some of the same thing, we have very crazy draft sometimes. But they're much more structured. I think we're doing a lot more team building and stuff like that — we spend a lot of time preparing, having like talks with each other, and making sure that everyone is on the same page.
Where 2019 G2 was like, no rules. We scrimmed those five days, people picked what they wanted. If someone felt they wanted to say something they would say something. But it was not really anything scheduled. There was no rules. So I think now it's maybe more consistent in moving forward. And it doesn't require as much individual performance and responsibility. It's much more team responsibility. And it's much more doing stuff together.
I don't even want to say it's more about the team than the individual player, because it's not like we were playing super individual 2019 or anything like that. But there was not really anything scheduled. And that's why I feel now, we might not do as many crazy things, and might not be as crazy. But the crazy things we do are maybe more practiced. And sometimes we have some really good comps.
We showed that even when people were doubting us in Spring Playoffs, we suddenly turned around and won against everyone because we found game patterns and drafts that we liked. And as long as we can do the same for Summer, then we'll be in good shape to go to Worlds. And it's not like the Worlds teams are unbeatable. Every year going international, I feel like it's always a bit of a flip. Obviously, it matters a lot about how good you are. That's a big thing. But when you go to international tournaments, it's also about how good your opponents are. And some years both LPL and LCK overperform or underperform, and we'll see how good they are this year. We got destroyed at MSI, but I guess it's just the curse: RNG winning MSI but not Worlds. So let's see if we can see Worlds.
Editors Note: This interview was edited for brevity.
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