After an unsatisfying 2021, G2 Esports is opting for a rebuild. The six-time LEC champion retains Rasmus "Caps" Borregaard Winther and Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski and brings on three new players - top laner Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik, support Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé and ADC Victor "Flakked" Lirola. How should this team fare in 2022?
Opinion can differ on a lot of things about professional LoL in 2021, but two things are certain: it's not the same without live audiences and G2 didn’t have a good year. After several years on top, only stopped by Fnatic’s amazing 2018, the eight-times European champions looked primed to dominate. Not only did they retain most of their iconic roster, but the sale of Luka "Perkz" Perković to Cloud9 filled out the team’s coffers - and they got one of the LEC’s most famous carries in Martin "Rekkles" Larsson. The sky was the limit for G2’s ambitions - and for the first time in a very long time, they fell short.
G2 Is Switching Gear
They were third in spring, losing to both Rogue and MAD Lions. In the summer, they finished the regular season tied for second, only to finish in fourth place in the playoffs - losing to Fnatic, for extra irony - and skipped Worlds for the first time since they joined the then-EU LCS in 2016.
The team released several of their star players, with Rekkles traded to Karmine Corp and Wunder going to Fnatic. There were many rumors about who they would bring to replace them and on Friday evening, the organization confirmed that they were bringing in Flakked, Brokenblade and Targamas and moving Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle to substitute.
While the organization released a pretty impressive video to announce this, the move could not help but be controversial. For an organization where “merely” being in the top 4 was a failure, substituting three famous players is an unexpected move. After all, G2 had been famous for getting star transfers: Zven and Mithy, Jankos, Caps, Wunder and Rekkles were all seen as big players before they joined. As G2's trophy cabinet showed, it was a winning formula - until 2021.
The plan is falling into place. pic.twitter.com/jild09jBJa— G2 Esports (@G2esports) December 3, 2021
A Big Gamble
The substitution in the top lane is perhaps the easiest to sell: Broken Blade is well-known on both sides of the Atlantic and his spring split on FC Schalke 04 Esports was quite respectable, even if the team fell apart in the summer. On interviews, the Turkish player appeared approachable and willing to devote himself, and with S04 leaving the LEC, he was easily available. The issue is - will it be enough? There is a good chance that BB will be a good top laner by EU standards, though he might struggle to make it in the top 3 lists.
The changes in the botlane, meanwhile, might be a lot more worrying to some fans. The choice of Flakked as the team’s AD carry came as a shock, as the player has so far only been active in the Spanish regional scene. While he has no doubt shown up big in tryouts and scrims, G2 are giving him a huge vote of confidence, and there are rumors that they initially had a bigger name insight but negotiations fell through. The team’s new support, Targamas played for one season on Giants Gaming in 2018 before resuming his career in the ERL scene. He rose to prominence again on Karmine Corp, the French organization that dominated the EU Masters scene in 2021. Still, G2 has chosen to keep Mikyx as a substitute.
On the whole, the team retained two of their best players, and jungle and mid are roles that have a big impact on how a team plays. However, unless their bot lane steps up hugely or several other teams crash and burn, it would be hard to expect G2 beating their 2021 performance. They should make top 4, but it would be a surprise to see them raise the LEC cup this year. Of course, it's just like G2 to surprise us - for better or worse.