Petter “Hjärnan” Freyschuss relaxed on a chair, exhausted but victorious, with a win against Team ROCCAT under his belt on Feb. 23. He had won countless games before, as a member of H2K Gaming and Team Vitality, but facing his most recent team brought back memories of playing alongside Kim “Wadid” Bae-in there. At the very least, the Wadid part rings true to this day, as he is his bot lane partner on G2 Esports, and the AD carry would have it no other way.
Hjärnan could have chosen other destinations, but staying on ROCCAT was an option – as long as he played with Wadid, all was well in the world. “I got an offer from another team, but they didn't want to have me and Wadid,” he recalled. “I only wanted to join a team with Wadid, or stay in ROCCAT with Wadid.”
When G2 knocked on the front door and offered Hjärnan the opportunity to not only wear its colors but also choose his bottom lane partner, his mind was set. “I felt it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was getting, and that opportunity doesn't come very often in life,” he said. “Of course I was really happy when G2 said they wanted me. When they approached me and told me I could choose my support, of course, I would choose Wadid.”
Of course, he chose the player that had dazzled in solo queue as Gu “imp” Seung-bin’s bot lane partner of choice, a role which comes with loads of playmaking and loose aggressive laning. For Hjärnan, such aggressive play was refreshing, and he had set his mind on helping Wadid flourish. The AD carry had been known as a macro-savvy player, and relaying that sense to Wadid would eventually make the two of them the best bot lane duo in Europe, perhaps even eclipse Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez from the minds of G2’s fan base in time.
“When I started playing with him, I noticed he's really strong in lane, and he's not stupid as well – so, he can learn,” he said. “I felt he could improve, and when he gets really good at that macro stuff and all the stuff you need to do as a support – not only being good in lane – he's becoming a really good support I think. We can both improve with each other.”
Bot lane improvement was one task among many for Hjärnan and Wadid, as the bot lane duo headed to a new-look G2 squad that featured Luka “PerkZ” Perkovic, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Martin “Wunder” Hansen. The team looked disjointed initially, but it didn’t take long for them to gel. Fast forward to the end of Week Six, and the team is standing in second place with an 8W-3L record behind perennial rivals Fnatic.
Not too shabby for a team that had started with a 1W-3L record. Then again, and truth be told, there was no need for alarm to begin with. “I think, the first weeks, we had reoccuring mistakes in scrims, which is really hard to get rid of,” Hjärnan explained. “It's a lot of our bad habits, and that doesn't go away in a week or two. We have still a bit of our bad habits left, but they're shrinking every single day. We're doing them a lot less, which makes us able to improve in our scrims.”
And in turn, their performance improves as well. So does the likeliness of unforced errors, as the team can practice rotations and Baron Nashor holds, without fears of one of its players getting picked off, or a botched laning phase spiraling into oblivion. Communication also improved, as the players looked calm and relaxed onstage as of late, and as they relayed important information in a timely manner and without creating a bottleneck in communication channels.
Their morale had always been fairly high, which excluded the risks of any of them stating “you suck” unless it was meant in jest, between Hjärnan and Wadid, or between JerkZ – a mid-jungle duo that tends to have fun on stream, sometimes at the expense of one another. Winning helped make team morale even better, and losing doesn’t dampen morale, as people can sometimes take jokes too seriously. At least, that is not the case in G2. And even if the atmosphere seems heavy occasionally, it’s only a phase.
“Everybody is joke-ish. Every one can make a joke and take one. Nobody gets butt-hurt if you joke, and everybody knows it's a joke,” said Hjärnan. “When you lose, the atmosphere doesn't even get that bad, maybe for an hour or two, if we do a bad day of scrims. Everybody wants to win and improve so much, so when it feels like we're having a bad day, that we don't improve at anything and that we stand still, everybody gets shut down and not that happy - but that's only going to be one or two hours after we're done with scrims. If you go out and eat after that, everybody forgets about it.”
Needless to say, the team knows how to have fun. But there is one thing that he has not forgotten about: an interesting situation that occurred when the team tackled upon the challenge of an escape room – a race against the clock where you have to piece together clues and inspect areas to find the key out of a room, before a timer expires. The matter was especially intriguing, given the context of the escape room.
“We were all stuck in a room, and we couldn't get out of the room. There was a doll with hair on the table,” starts Hjärnan, before saying: “I look over my shoulder, and I see my coach Grabbz brushing the doll's hair with a brush, and I couldn't hold myself from laughing. So I told PerkZ ‘he's such an idiot for doing this,’ and PerkZ said ‘Yeah? I did it too.’ I couldn't believe it.”
Considering that brushing a doll’s hair is the weirdest thing about the new-look G2 experience, and the team’s desire to reach the pinnacle of mount Europe, one can only think that it’s all well over there. Leave it to Hjärnan to smile, and to relax when it’s all said and done.