After the last series of the Regional Finals our reporter Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber had the chance to talk with G2 Esport’s Head Coach Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann about G2’s struggles at the end of the split and finding success again in the Regional Finals.
First off congratulations, what a crazy couple of days this must have been for you. What happened to G2 the last two days that you played the League of Legends we know from you all split except for the last two weeks of the regular split?
I wouldn’t even necessarily say the last two weeks. So what actually happened is, we went very confident into week 8 and 9 and then we play Vitality if we win we are second place and we lose. Okay, now if we win the tiebreakers we are second place and we lose again and again. In two very close games and then suddenly the next week the Player’s started second guessing every little thing and if you asked what champions do you think we are going to play they answered with “I don’t know”. We came to the point where nobody knew what’s good anymore. We lost the track and then Misfits happened.
So we tried to go into the series with fake confidence, saying to ourselves that we can win, but I think everybody knew it was pretty doomed. So after that match, all I said was “Hey guys let’s take one week break, no League at all, go home and meet your friends and recharge.” And when everybody came back the first few days were good and knew how we should play the game and now against Schalke.
One of the things that were very clear today, G2 knew how to neutralize Nukeduck in the mid lane or Upset on the bot lane the way you guys wanted them to play. Play Urgot or go for the tank/tank matchups on the top lane seemed both to be good options and what I was missing in the past few matches, it seemed that G2 wasn’t necessarily playing to their strengths, which you guys showed off in great fashion today, team fights. Since you needed the break and reset the mindset, how did you prepare for Schalke 04?
First of all, I disagree that we formed a particular strength. We are a team of 5 strong individuals that means that we can adapt according to what we think is good. We just had the wrong read of what was good in that meta. I wouldn’t say we are a team that goes for team fighting or for early game. We just find the Olaf and Tristana very appealing for this week. Also we play around Jankos again, honestly in the past our Bot and Jungle Synergy was really bad and we improved a lot on it. Across the past two weeks, we realized this is something we could play on. It’s kind of a double-edged sword, teams wouldn’t know how we play, but as you said yourself even we sometimes don’t know how we play. So going into the Worlds Play ins we will have to cut down the experimentation and narrow down more styles.
What would you say is the current meta right now? We’ve seen a huge variety of picks across the world due to every region playing on different patches, but the meta shifted more towards a tank/team fight oriented meta. What do you see the meta going towards Worlds and where do you see G2 fitting in?
Honestly, for Worlds, I don’t know yet because I didn’t have time to study the patches, we were so focused on 8.16 and anything else didn’t matter to us. So I guess Kassadin got buffs, nunu got changed, we will have to see what actually is good, so I can’t really answer that. Besides that the meta in 8.16 was weird, every team had a very different read on it.
For us, Varus was the key and it kind of reactivated with the jungle pressure. I think everybody could see with the Olaf and Skarner picks that we thought the jungle matchup was very important to unleash Jankos and play around him. Instead of doing what we used to do play around lanes and Jankos did what he wants to do but now we make a plan and he says clearly what he wants to do so we can play towards him.
Let’s talk a little bit about the matches today. More so about the last game. I think you had a very good read on how you want to play the series throughout the series itself and on the second game Schalke showed they understood well what you guys wanted to play in the series taking the game, but on the third game they went back to their comfort zone with the Leblanc pick, you guys completely denied and in the last game they picked Azir against you guys. Against that, you had a very clear strategy with the Gangplank top lane and through pick offs and team fights get the advantage rolling between the first and third item spikes. Would you say that Schalke read your plans not well enough or would you rather say that you were in a momentum and could carry it home?
I don’t think the Azir pick mattered at all, because what we knew is that the Cassiopeia pick was coming. While without a doubt the Cassiopeia is super strong and we know we would get the Xayah Rakan bot lane. We already had a strong jungler in the Olaf and if we get the Xayah/Rakan too that means we are already winning 2 out of 4 positions. We also know that Vizicsacsi is not a carry player so in the worst case it is an even matchup top lane. Making a strong mid lane pick the only thing Schalke could play to win the game. Nothing destroys Cassiopeia, so if you have Cassiopeia you are fine. We wouldn’t even look into team fights
If you take a look into the pick and ban phase, you know we have an advantage in the early game once again and then it comes back to what I said before, we play on Jankos, on his Invades. The blue steal was a bit lucky because it was 50/50 situation due to the Kai’Sa being level 3 if you don’t get the blue the fight could go haywire a bit but besides that we’ve played around our pressure for the first item and I think Schalke 04 was a bit slow at realizing how the tempo was going on the map. We just played way better on tempo for the whole series, disregarding champions.
Would you say the team improved throughout the weekends? Do think if any result had been slightly different would it have affected the way the team played today?
It’s weird because the way we played today, is the way we played the whole week.
So we were super confident coming in today. Actually, yesterday as well, I don’t know if it was stage jitters but we inted two games hardcore, like really hardcore. We didn’t trade when we shouldn’t have traded, we traded sides and we lost mid to mid against Splyce, we were not really sure what was going on but we also tend to be a bit greedy in draft because we scout our opponents extremely well.
For an example in the third match against Splyce, we knew that “Xerxe didn’t play Olaf for a long time, we were sure he doesn’t play it and we pick Skarner blind, then he picks Olaf, damn... what do we do now? Our whole blue side strategy doesn’t work anymore.” Then also people go haywire about the Heimerdinger and focus only on the pick like in game four and five. However people have to realize it is not the Heimerdinger, he is just a tool for the pressure we need in the game. We as a team play around pressure, actually we don’t care about which champions we play, we care about what they provide to us and help with tempo. In that sense, we just play our game there.
Looking back at the whole split, taking on G2, losing the first split and barely making it to Worlds, how would you describe that feeling?
Personally, disappointment. When you come to a team like G2 you want to win everything and we didn’t. So, in the end, I have to take responsibility and admit that it is probably my fault as well and I have to grow with that. Now I have the chance at worlds to redeem myself, but being second place and losing out on quarter-finals is not what G2 strives for, so next year it has to be better.
Looking at Worlds who are you hyped or scared the most to play against?
First of all, play-ins is the most important. So, I haven’t start thinking about the really good teams yet. Honestly, we are all just excited to play there and the better the opponent the better for us. You don’t go there to play anyone, you go there to play the best of the best, you aim to play the KT, the RNG and see how you stack against them. That’s what I’m looking for.
To close out the interview do you have anything you want to say to all the people following G2 throughout the split?
I just want to say thank you, even though our results were very disappointing on the grand scheme, the support we got from our fans was immense. After every game, just to read the comments “come on guys, we still believe in you.”. I will never forget the moment in Copenhagen when we just lost 3:0 in the finals and the queue at the fan meet was still very long and the people were thanking us for reaching the finals and we were like “Sorry for losing.” So thank you to the G2 army, we are a big family and we hope to make you proud in Korea.