G2 eSports is a formidable outfit in a best-of-five format. To get there, however, the European champions will need to defy the odds and overturn a 1-2 week one record to escape Group C of the 2017 World Championships.
Fate has not been kind to G2 eSports. Their first international event since their finals appearance against SK Telecom T1 at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, G2’s reward for such a valiant showing was to be drawn into the World Championship’s ‘Group of Death’.
G2’s first seed status saw the Europeans placed in a group alongside fellow regional heavyweights Samsung Galaxy and Royal Never Give Up, a pill made even harder to swallow as Team SoloMid – underperformers at MSI 2017 – were gifted a relatively comfortable group irrespective of their second seed status.
Despite the odds being stacked against them, G2 eSports’ week one performances frame the squad as perhaps the most likely of any western team to escape from such a predicament.
The opening week’s results for G2 eSports followed the script predicted by many analysts ahead of the tournament: a 1-2 record, with a comfortable victory over 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports and two defeats at the hands of Korean and Chinese opposition.
G2 eSports’ opening encounter of the 2017 World Championship was a false start. Attempting to replicate the style that reaped success at the Mid-Season Invitational, G2 looked to stall against Samsung Galaxy, but to no avail.
Once SSG’s champions came online the game was over in an instant; the Koreans closed out the match before G2 had made any significant moves on the rift.
— lolesports (@lolesports) October 5, 2017
Predictably, G2 bounced back to get themselves off the mark with a victory over 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports, comfortably dispatching the Turkish representative.
The ‘Kings of Europe’ provided a near “perfect game” – winning without a single death – to provide a signal of intent in Group C.
Meanwhile, Royal Never Give Up claimed regional glory with a win over Samsung Galaxy, acquiring top spot in the group in addition to regional acclaim.
As a result, G2 eSports headed into their matchup with RNG expected to be overpowered by the Chinese squad, though the reality was a far closer affair.
G2 exited the laning phase against Royal Never Give Up with a clear lead. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez had established a noticeable advantage over the legendary Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and seemed on course to out-scale RNG heading into the late game.
With G2 on course for victory, Zven was uncharacteristically caught unawares by two RNG collapses, slowing any potential momentum the Europeans had built in their favour.
A desperate, or rather, impatient baron attempt soon saw Uzi claim his revenge for the disrespect shown to him by G2’s bot lane earlier in proceedings, shredding the team as Twitch, set to end the game just moments later as a result of the error.
The game was well within G2 eSports grasp, but one costly mistake had thrown away any chance they might have had of silencing the local crowd.
The Group C standings do not accurately reflect the respective strengths of the top three teams. G2 eSports proved themselves more than capable of felling the currently undefeated Royal Never Give Up, whilst Samsung Galaxy struggled against both RNG and even 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports.
Provided that G2 get out of the gate quickly against SSG, replicate the strong performance shown against FB and take the final step to finish off RNG, Group C could yet be turned on its head.
G2 eSports is not to be written off just yet; European fans should trust their rightful kings. A clean sweep in week two of the group stages is certainly achievable, with a second place finish still on the table.