Ever since its entrance to the European League of Legends Championship Series, G2 Esports has been a key competitor in the region. With three domestic split wins to its name and a recent second-place finish at the Mid-Season Invitational, the team has already gone down in history as one of the most successful European orgs of all time.
RealSport sat down with G2’s founding CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rodriguez after Week 6 of the EU LCS to discuss the MSI, G2’s recent performance, and the EU vs NA rivalry.
RealSport: Western MSI runner-ups seem cursed to perform much worse in the following season. This was the case with CLG, and now the same thing has happened with G2. Is there something about the tournament timing or format that makes it particularly hard to come back from?
Carlos Rodriguez: It is irresponsible to blame the circumstances that are not in our power. The moments like this one help us grow a lot. We wouldn’t trade them for anything because we become a better team every time we fail. However, ignoring the fact that MSI occurs in the time when there should be a break, does not help the teams that compete in MSI.
There is a fine line that separates getting better competitively and being in the zone, and burning out. The current setup, scale and nature of MSI makes it likely that the teams that take part in the tournament burn out in the following months. This can definitely be a major factor when coming back to compete in your regional league. It requires incredible levels of leadership and maturity to overcome it. We are in that exact process.
RS: The League of Legends community tends to prefer blaming the losing team in favor of commending the winners. Do you think this is what’s happening to G2? Does the team get too much flak when everyone in Europe simply got better?
CR: It’s the nature of sports and we are happy with it. Feeling the pressure of having to win adds some extra motivation and willingness to become a better team.
RS: Rift Rivals revealed a stark contrast between the European and North American metas. Now it’s easy to say that NA is superior since they’ve won the tournament, but do you think there are still things that Europe does better?
CR: I don’t think that NA is necessarily superior. The patch and meta game that Rift Rivals was played on far differs from the patches and meta games seen just weeks before. For this reason I don’t consider Rift Rivals as an indicator of any region’s strength. I don’t think anyone should, except for the sake of drama, entertainment and storylines. With this said, Europe is ready to kick NA’s ass at Worlds.
RS: As a follow-up question, were there any NA strategies or in-game tactics that caught you off guard?
CR: The whole meta game, picks and bans and overall understanding of the game caught us off-guard. We didn’t feel like we were in control of any game which led us to believe that we’ve got stuck in the MSI meta for too long.
RS: During a podcast with Thorin, you expressed a desire for the EU LCS to get more competitive. Do you think that wish came true with how other teams have challenged G2 this split?
CR: Yes, and I’m glad that there are steps taken in that direction. It’s fair to mention that most of our competitors in Europe, however, are still disappointingly boring.
RS: In other interviews, certain G2 players expressed their opinion that the team isn’t in the best shape right now. How does this affect the team atmosphere? Do you think this type of honesty can act as additional motivation for players?
CR: We like to be very realistic with our level of play. We speak highly of ourselves when we’re the best in the region, the same way we will bash ourselves when we are playing subpar. There’s nothing wrong with being honest and it’s in sync with the values of our brand.
RS: The mascot battle was one of the highlights of the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split finals. Are you planning to bring G2’s samurai warrior back at some point? Maybe to challenge Unicorns of Love’s Romain Bigeard again?
CR: It’s clear for everyone now that samurai outperform unicorns, in terms of muscle size, handsomeness and competitive gameplay. It will be an honor to keep having face-offs with our friends from UOL.
RS: Finally, is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked you about?
CR: This period of time, in which our League of Legends team is not performing up to everyone’s expectations, has shown us that we have one of the most loyal, committed and fantastic fan bases in esports. We’re grateful for having you as our comrades and a part of our army. We love you.
Do you think G2 will be able to get back to their pre-MSI level of performance? Let us know in the comments below!