G2 Esports has come into the League of Legends EMEA Championship off of the back of its biggest roster shake up to date. The monolithic organisation bid farewell to bot lane pairing Victor Lirola ‘Flakked’ Tortosa and Raphaël ‘Targamas’ Crabbé in favour of Steven ‘Hans sama’ Liv and the returning Mihael ‘Mikyx’ Mehle.
Seemingly, having three members of that fabled LoL Worlds 2019 roster was deemed one too many – it’s G2, not G3 after all – as the team also parted ways with perhaps the greatest jungler the region has ever produced in Marcin ‘Jankos’ Jankowski. Needless to say, replacing someone like Jankos is no easy feat, though by the looks of things G2 has struck gold with rookie Martin ‘Yike’ Sundelin.
Coming into the league as one of the hottest prospects to make the move up from the EMEA Regional Leagues, having been signed from reigning LFL champion LDLC OL, Yike’s debut so far has been electric. In the four games G2 has won so far this split – one of them against Jankos’s Team Heretics – the Swede has cooked up a monstrous 35/4/21 KDA as per Games of Legends.
To learn more about this exciting LEC debutant, his thoughts on replacing Jankos – a man he himself has looked up to for a decade – and much more, we sat down with Yike following G2’s almost-record-setting stomping of Heretics on Sunday.
The Loadout: Yike, thank you for joining me. That was quite a game – the second fastest in LEC history, in fact. What do you make of that?
Yike: We actually tried to beat the record! I was counting [the timer during the game] and was like, ‘oh we can win with the second Herald’, and everyone in the team agreed. We talked about it before we even played. We were so close but yeah, we came in second place.
What do you feel you’ve got to do better next time to beat it?
The Herald actually inted us – it didn’t crash into the Nexus like it’s supposed to, so we lost maybe five-six seconds for that. So maybe we will be closer [if the Herald behaves].
It’s a Riot Games issue, clearly! You were on Bel’Veth today – a champion you still have a 100% win rate on in officials – which I believe is the first time we’ve seen it in any of the major regions so far this season. What sort of spot is she in, and why did you pick her up today?
Bel’Veth is one of my favourite champs – I like her and Viego the most right now, I think. I lowkey see her the same as Viego where they both have this reset kind of thing with their ultimates, and I think she’s really fun to play. I think a lot of people actually don’t know how to play against it. And that’s why it always looks so easy for me when I play it.
Or maybe it’s just a skill difference?
I mean, I think I’m really good on Bel’Veth compared to other people, so maybe.
You were playing against Jankos today, who is a player that has been cited as a major influence on yourself. How did it feel being able to play against someone you’ve watched for so long?
I think Jankos is one of the legendary junglers in the west. He was the one I looked up to the most because he played so well.
I watched him, and then I was the one replacing him, and now I got to play against him. It was a bit scary, but my whole team trusted me, and I trusted them too. I feel like we played really well together, so I’m really happy to win against him.
There’s a couple of things I want to pick up from that answer. Firstly, you were approached to replace Jankos on G2 this year. What was that moment like for you?
I was extremely surprised when I heard that G2 was interested in me. I thought that there’s no way the team would take me, it would probably look for someone else. So I was trying not to be so hyped about it, because it was useless for me to overhype it when I had it in mind that it wouldn’t happen.
But then the weeks kept going, and it seemed more and more interested in me – that’s when I got extremely hyped. I was going to fly home from France one day when G2 said that it wanted me. I was smiling the whole day, the whole time I was vibing – so happy.
I love to hear that! And secondly, when it comes to actually being a part of this group of players, talk to me about your experience so far.
One thing I’ve been really lucky with is that in every team I’ve been with it’s been a good environment. Last year, for example, it was a really good team environment, which is why I think we won a lot as LDLC.
[The environment’s really good] this year as well, I feel like everyone in the team has full trust in each other. We all have really good synergy, both inside and outside of the game. It’s really easy to talk with each other and hang out – we always try to do stuff most nights when we have free time. So it’s really nice. I feel like that’s what helps us become really good.
What sort of stuff have you boys been getting up to in the evenings?
Sometimes we go out but we mostly watch films or series – we have so many in mind right now. It feels good to know that you can come home, play some games, and then just chill with your teammates. You don’t really see it as work, but as something fun to do, and when you do that I feel like it’s so much easier to play.
You’ve had a monster debut so far, there’s no two ways about it. You’re racking up pretty much double-digit kills every game you win. For you coming into this league, were you confident that you were going to perform like this, or is this a confidence that’s grown as you’ve worked with your teammates?
Before we started playing together, when it was announced that I was gonna be on G2, I was actually really scared. I was so nervous about it, I was like, ‘okay, I will represent the best team in Europe, everyone will have expectations of me to play well, and they want me to play better than Jankos who is the best jungler Europe has ever had.’
But as soon as I met the players and started scrimming, all of the doubts I had in myself disappeared. I got more and more confident the more we played together, and my team really helped me to stay positive and keep the confidence that I’d have in scrims. And I feel like I play the same in officials – it’s so good.
Again, we love to see it. Finally, moving forward, what are your goals for the year?
First of all, I want to win the LEC – I want to win this Winter Split we’re playing. And then I really want to go to internationals and play the best teams in all the regions. I’m really hyped to hopefully meet the Korean and Chinese players and play against them. I mean, the goal is to beat them because they’re like the final bosses.