G2 Esports appears to be experiencing a mini-renaissance in the League of Legends EMEA Championship. The region’s most-successful organisation since the inception of the original EU LCS, G2 has, in recent years, struggled to assert the same level of dominion it held over its on-Rift rivals – barring a Spring 2022 title – since the fracturing of that Worlds 2019 Finals roster.
Having now entered his fifth year on G2 – his seventh of LEC play – Rasmus ‘Caps’ Borregaard Winther has witnessed the organisation’s soaring highs, and crushing lows. A perennial force in the EMEA scene, Caps has proven time and time again that he can rumble with the best of the best on the international stage. With five Worlds appearances (including two Finals), multiple LEC titles, and a Mid-Season Invitational trophy to his name, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more decorated player operating in the region than him.
Now on the hunt for his first piece of LEC silverware under the new format, Caps is well and truly surrounded by change. Having gone by ‘caPs’ last year, the Dane has returned to his former moniker. Additionally, he is flanked on the Rift by plenty of new, returning, and newly returning players as part of G2’s 2023 roster.
Following G2’s victory over MAD Lions, we sat down with Caps to chat about the series, the new patch, his new teammates, and the reasoning behind his return to ‘Caps’.
The Loadout: Caps, thank you for joining me. I just want to start out by getting your general thoughts on the games today.
Caps: I was really happy with the games. They weren’t the cleanest, but if anything I think that makes it better. We have shown a lot of stomps so far, and we’ve just ended up losing some of the games we didn’t. But today we had two games where we didn’t really have control of the first 10-20 minutes, but then we still came out on top in the end.
I’m happy we got to show that, because it’s something we are very comfortable doing in scrims. But I think on stage we were just messing up a bit when we were falling behind [in Bo1s], and maybe we were panicking too much. Maybe because it’s best-of-three and you have a bit more time to cool down, so it’s not the end of the world if it does go wrong.
It sounds like you guys have been a little bit scatty mentally throughout the Bo1s, but you’ve now found your feet…
Yeah, I think that’s fair. I mean, we’re a new team. It is Groups. But this is normally Week Four of LEC, and if you compare it to that in the other years, I think we’re doing much better than we would be at that point. Obviously our competition is also in the same spot, but I’m definitely happy with how we’re doing, and we just have to keep it up and keep improving.
We absolutely love to see it. And were there any surprises in the drafts today? I was personally surprised to see Martin ‘Yike’ Sundelin’s Lillia get through after the BDS series.
For sure. Lillia coming in – Yike did great on that – I think Steven ‘Hans Sama’ Liv had two insane Draven games. So it was also crazy MAD left that up. I think that those were the main surprises.
Definitely. In game one you hit MAD with the level one bush cheese. In the Regular Season game your bot lane got hit with a level one bush cheese. Was this a premeditated act of vengeance that you were gonna level one cheese MAD? Or is this just how it kind of panned out?
I like that one – I like the vengeance. It was a sad feeling when we lost to MAD last week. I think if we won we would be what? Second place? It’s not like it’s gonna matter too much in the Regular Season – maybe we would have had side selection the series instead of them – but they did drop us down a few ranks. And that does feel bad. But I’m happy we got to get not just vengeance at level one, but also later in the game.
I want to talk about the new patch and the meta. I’m always very excited to see what G2 pulls out because you are traditionally very creative. I know that you guys haven’t had a lot of time on the new patch in a pro capacity, so what’s that process been like for you?
The thing is, you don’t get an insane amount of changes, so a lot of things have stayed the same. We’ve also been playing solo queue on the patch for the last two weeks, so we’ve already been thinking a bit about what we want to do on it.
The best-of-ones don’t matter nearly as much as the best-of-threes and best-of-fives – of course they matter a lot if you’re Fnatic or Excel and you’re trying to make it out. But as soon as we secured the 3-0 week we were basically set to make it – we needed like one or two wins. And at that point if we finished eighth it’d be fine because I would feel comfortable with our chances. We weren’t hard inting our prep for the week, but I was for sure trying to figure out what to play on the next patch, trying to figure out some solid picks like Tristana – which seems decent – and Lilia – which is really strong – as well.
These kinds of picks which we wouldn’t pull out in the last patch we can come up with now. So that was definitely something on our minds to make sure we are at our best on this patch.
Obviously, I have to ask: are there any other special surprises that we might be perhaps see in the future? Is it time to go Vayne?
I mean, I’m not sure about Vayne, but I have a lot of surprises – they just have to be in the right situation. We saw the Zac ban come in on four-five today [in game two], and maybe there will be some other picks they’ll have to ban soon. This is why best-of-threes and best-of-fives are great – you get to show them off more often.
I’m already happy with the games that we got this weekend. We’ve played five games now, and I even told my team that I would prefer a three-game series [against MAD] because there’s so much I want to play. But, unfortunately, we 2-0’d, so I didn’t get to pull out something else in the last game.
I’m probably stating the obvious here, but that last sentence screams to me that you must be absolutely loving your League of Legends right now if you want to play three games on stage instead of a swift two?
Yeah, for sure. It’s always like that with a new patch where you just want to try out a bunch of things. I obviously haven’t solved the patch or anything – I still have a lot to learn – but that’s why playing games, especially on stage and in scrims, is where you learn the most. So yeah, I’m hoping for five good games next week as well.
I’m looking forward to that. I just want to talk a little bit more about yourself personally. This is your seventh year of LEC play. First of all, where’s all that time gone?! Secondly, coming into this year, what are the kinds of qualities that you were looking for when it came to discussing who your new teammates would be?
To start off with the first thing, it’s been a long time now and I’m kind of surprised every time I see it [references to him playing for so long]. It doesn’t feel like that many years, but it’s what? A third of my life almost. I feel like, honestly, the COVID years – Season 10, Season 11, even Season 12 to some extent – felt very, very fast because not enough meaningful things happened.
I think back to Season Nine, Eight, and Seven, and we had so many insane games with insane hype levels, playing in these insane stadiums. Luckily, we got back to it last year by Malmo, and for Worlds. But we got 0-3’d [in LEC] and lost in groups [at Worlds], so we didn’t really get to enjoy the atmosphere. So I’m definitely looking forward to this year. I hope we will make it to London and we just have a great showing.
[As for the roster] I didn’t make the decisions on the roster, but G2 wanted input. When I sort of knew what directions we were going from the old roster, then I had input on who I wanted to see instead. I got to talk with everyone – I already talked a lot with Mihael ‘Mikyx’ Mehle, but when I spoke to Yike and Hans they both seemed like such good fits.
I was actually surprised at how much I liked Hans as well. I never really talked with Hans, even though we both started [our LEC careers] in Spring 2017, and even before that we were competing – whether it was in the Challenger Series or attempting to come into the Challenger Series – so I’ve always kind of had him as a rival.
When we were considering having him join the team I had a call with him, and it went really well. I really liked what he was saying. I really liked his mindset. And I actually felt very similar to him, so I was really happy when he wanted to come on board.
Then of course, there’s Miky. We know he’s a great player. We had kind of a rough Season 11 altogether, but he’s obviously really good, and I was happy to see him back. And then Yike was the new guy. Something I learned from the previous years is that it’s always good to have someone with the hunger, someone who can keep it fresh because if you have too many players that are maybe a bit older, maybe have played a bit longer, you might just get the same ideas, the same mindset.
I think it’s good to have someone who comes in with a fresh mindset and fresh ideas, and Yike’s also just really good. From week one he was dropping like nine kills per game and playing out of his mind. So I’m really happy with everyone. I think they’re doing even better than I would have expected. And now it’s just about how good we can become before next week, and then how good we can become for MSI. I have a lot of hope.
The last thing I wanted to ask was about your name change back from ‘caPs’ to ‘Caps’. Because I know that, in the past, you’ve changed the name, you’ve shaved your head, you’ve done things to keep things fresh or to approach things with a new mindset. Was this the case again, or did you just fancy changing the name back? And regardless of the answer, what does ‘Caps’ want to show this year?
I had a very good career early on, and we were winning everything. Season Seven didn’t go too great. But then we started winning more and more and more in Season 8, Season 9 – even Season 10 I was quite happy with, but then Season 11 was a full disaster.
We lost in Spring. And I feel like, as a team, we lost the thing that was holding us together which was winning and doing well. And I feel like there was a lot of loss of trust in each other. It became a not very nice environment to play in, and I think I didn’t really know my place in that environment, and I didn’t feel very confident. I didn’t really feel very much myself, so I tried to change myself, I tried to change what I was doing, and I ended up cutting my hair – I was looking for something to do to make myself feel natural.
Going into last year I wanted a fresh start, and I think that, while last year wasn’t as good as I had hoped for, I do think it taught me a lot of lessons, and that I don’t need to change myself too much – I just need to evolve my gameplay.
I think this year we have a very, very good chance. I’m super confident in my own abilities, as well as those of my teammates, so I’m definitely excited for it. But it’s going to be myself fighting. It’s not going to be ‘Bald Caps’, or ‘Caps with a big P’. It’s just going to be me, and I’m sure that’s going to be more than enough.