G2 Esports MSI 2019

Coming into the tournament

Leading up to the competition, G2 had cemented themselves as one of the greatest Western Hopes of a title, often being seen as an iG-lite, able to play aggressively and transition leads well into objectives. While also innovating picks (Pyke top, Syndra bot lane). G2 are considered by many to be definitions of the current meta, a “wild west” landscape wherein new and exciting picks could be viable, in seemingly any role. And so, a “G2 LoL meta” was born.

Team Liquid, in contrast, emerged with a less fearsome reputation. Despite winning the final series 3-0, their play had been questioned. In retrospect, the attempts to speed up their game and try to be more combative in the early game paid off when they picked up an unexpected series win vs iG in the semi-finals. The LCS practice enabled them to match iG’s early aggression, before transitioning to their strength in team fighting.



Meta

In Season 8 the meta started to shift in favour of more early game skirmishes, while objectives were still important this advantage could be pushed harder if you could also get kills in the process This led to the rise of the Chinese teams (long overdue due to their large player base, and their technical ability in the game). As a region, China has been acknowledged in LoL as the region which loved to fight and would often lose out on the match with “less than ideal” macro plays. With this meta, however, teams were encouraged to skirmish more, and six seasons of practice in skirmishing has honed the Chinese player bases ability to fight in a multitude of scenarios.

iG were now poised to dominate. How can you react to an enemy play when it seems like the least optimal thing to do? While in a previous meta, you could act like a proverbial Mohammed Ali, and remain relatively unscathed in the early game, to win objective focused gameplay, the current meta had developed the Mike Tyson approach of raw aggression which would only compound any disadvantages you had in the early game. And this is how the meta has developed; innovative picks, committing to fights, previously reckless plays that have quickly become the ideal way to win games.

The last team to show this approach were Samsung White in season 4 world championships. It had been a long time coming, bringing back with it, thrilling encounters where games would rapidly turn into bloodbaths, rather than methodical victories.

Game results

Game 1

Blue Side G2 Bans

Galio, Taric, Ryze, Kennen, Vladimir

Red Side Team Liquid Bans

Akali, Jayce, Sylas, LeBlanc, Neeko

Blue Side G2 Picks                                                                                   

Swain, Jarvan IV, Morgana, Xayah, Rakan

Red Side Team Liquid Picks

Gangplank, Skarner, Orianna, Varus, Tahm Kench

Events which built the lead

jankos g2 lol meta

G2 invaded the jungle Level 1, managing to blow CoreJJ’s flash. Jankos ganks early, meaning that CoreJJ cannot escape and dies. A teleport from Caps into bot lane forces DoubleLift to use his Flash, making him vulnerable.

CoreJJ respawns and returns to the lane.  DoubleLift needs to back as a result of playing 1v2. Xmithie and CoreJJ protect a low health DoubleLift from being jumped on by Perkz, Mikyx, and Jankos. However, once the recall has been channelled, a fight breaks out, where CoreJJ dies, both top laners teleport into the bot lane fight, and Impact also dies as a result.

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When they are Level 6, CoreJJ and Xmithie attempt to collapse on G2 bot lane, with no vision, using Tahm Kench ult to a position behind them. Jankos remains in the area from a previous gank, despite it being a 3v3 DoubleLift is not close enough and the immediate turn onto Corejj and Xmithie results in kills.

These fights led to a considerable lead for G2 and their bot lane, which they pushed into a win. Here we had the G2 LoL meta in full effect; utilizing their strengths to the maximum.

Game 2

Blue Side Team Liquid Bans

Ryze, Jayce, Rakan, Morgana, Neeko

Red Side G2 Bans

Taric, Galio, Jarvan IV, Skarner, Lee Sin

Blue Side Team Liquid Picks

Kennen, Olaf, Akali, Ashe, Braum

Red Side G2 Picks

Pyke, Rek’Sai, Sylas, Varus, Thresh

Events which built the lead

Kennen LoL

Team Liquid matched all early aggression in mid, which was used to prevent the Akali Matchup going behind to Sylas. G2 had gained First Blood from a Jankos gank bot killing CoreJJ, however, the early game resulted in very few kills comparatively to Game 1.

Team Liquid looked to be matching the fast pace of the game. The stalemate continued until around the 22 Minute mark, with towers falling for both sides, and dragons and rift heralds traded. However, team Liquid took a fight which they lost 5 for 2, having originally got two kills the fight looked over until Caps and Wunder were hiding in a bush, restarting the fight, and cleaning up the remainder of Team Liquid. Later Jensen and Xmithie attempt to fight Caps in a side lane. With Caps winning the 2v1. This fight led to a Baron for G2. Using Baron buff G2 pushed two lanes simultaneously, and one more team fight would break out, where Caps stole Kennen ultimate and tore through the members of Team Liquid — finishing the game.

Game 3

Blue Side G2 Bans

Galio, Taric, Ryze, Orianna, Kennen

Red Side Team Liquid Bans

Akali, Jayce, Sylas, LeBlanc, Azir

Blue Side G2 Picks 

Neeko, Jarvan IV, Irelia, Xayah, Rakan

Red Side Team Liquid Picks

Vladamir, Sejuani, Syndra, Kai’Sa, Alistar

Events which built the lead

caps g2 lol

Ganking at Level 2 Jankos forced DoubleLift’s flash, which would later lead to a kill. Again team Liquid looked to be matching the fast pace of the game. Until a 2v1 gank occurred mid. Xmithie ganked for Jensen, and Caps managed to get an Irelia stun off on both players dashing to them for damage before using his ultimate and resetting a further three times. With the arrival of Mikyx towards the end of the skirmish, it ensured Caps did not die, and both Xmithie and Jensen did.

This scenario made the score 4-1 to G2 and would ultimately seal Team Liquid’s defeat. Team Liquid were playing a scaling composition, whose aim was to get to team fights around significant power spikes and end the game by being a stronger composition. Whereas, G2 kept bringing the fight to Team Liquid and continued to roll over them, smashing their turrets, and beating them in team fights. A defining moment of the game occurred, when G2 were able to prevent Team Liquid’s recalls while being in a 3v5 situation, Team Liquid unable to fight back despite having a numbers advantage due to how strong Caps’ Irelia had become. The G2 LoL meta was getting more and more evident at this point.

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Notes

Team Liquid continued to ban flex picks, while also targeting specific player picks in pick and ban phase.

G2 Banned Galio and Taric 100% of the time, removing the potential Taric/Sona bot lane, and also making Kai’sa weaker (due to her synergy in lane with Galio). G2 also chose to target Impacts champion pool on the Blue side, preventing him from playing champions which he had previously played in the tournament, while on red side G2 pinched the jungle champion pool preventing Xmithie from picking up a jungler on which he could have early pressure.

Final Words

In conclusion, this tournament has shown that through their adaptation of the Meta (picking new champions in unconventional positions) G2 are examples of experimentation bringing success. The results of the tournament proved that G2 are able to continuously find leads by playing to their early game strengths. The world championships will be telling in how successful this team is considered. However MSI is the second biggest tournament in the LoL circuit, and therefore this should be considered a huge endorsement of the teams claim as the greatest team the Western regions have produced. After all, it looks like the G2 LoL meta is real (and dangerous).



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