G2 Esports might be considered by many to be the favourites going into the League of Legends World Championship final against FunPlus Phoenix, but that doesn’t mean the team is going to be complacent for Sunday’s match.
Last week, Martin ‘Wunder’ Nordahl Hansen joked that the semi-final between SK Telecom T1 and G2 was the “real final” and that FPX would get a “reality check,” but that’s all just talk. Speaking at the press conference ahead of the final, both coach Fabian ‘Grabbz’ Lohmann and the players spoke about how they were putting just as much effort and preparation into this match as they would any other.
As always, G2 has been confident on social media, led by owner Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodriguez, who joked that G2 would even bring in substitute Hampus Mikael ‘promisq’ Abrahamsson so it would get more in-game skins, which are given to the Worlds-winning team. It might be a team that projects good-humoured arrogance on the outside, but behind-the-scenes and during the game itself, G2 is all business.
“All jokes aside, unless Carlos puts me in a closet, we’re not gonna disrespect FPX,” says Grabbz, asked if Promisq would be making an appearance. “Unless I get taken away by Carlos then I don’t think Promisq will get to play. We respect FPX, we don’t have the freedom of having fun and bringing in a sub. I think the chances are low.”
In terms of preparations, G2 has pinpointed FPX mid laner Kim ‘Doinb’ Tae-sang as the key to the Chinese team’s success, to the surprise of absolutely no one. His aggressive style, unpredictable champion pool, and mastery of roaming has carried his team at Worlds so far, and is second perhaps only to that of Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther, his opponent on Sunday. Even right after the semi-final, Luke ‘Perkz’ Perkovic said that he hoped Doinb wouldn’t be coming to the bottom lane too much during the final.
“Doinb is a strong player, he’s leading his team,” says Caps. “It revolves around him. They roam together, so it’s important we don’t let him run around and take over the game.”
And it’s that roaming play style that has become a key part of the current League of Legends meta. It’s no coincidence that the teams who spend the most time making plays around the map, rather than just in their usual lane, are the two teams competing in the Worlds final this year.
“Roaming is pretty underrated in League of Legends,” says Mikyx, a support who makes a living out of popping up in unexpected areas of the map. “A lot of teams don’t respect it enough, but there’s not as much vision as there was before [in previous metas]. It’s probably gonna be the future of League. No one wants to watch boring 40 minutes games with a bunch of [battles around] vision. Roaming is more fun as well.”
For G2, its advantage is that while Doinb is the roaming master, G2 has been winning trophies all year by having every player learn how to do it.
“The big advantage is that everything can be played anywhere,” says Grabbz. “FPX have that in Doinb, but we have five players who can do it. We’re a very creative team in draft but it’s more about shutting down Doinb’s roams. If we can do it correctly we’ll have a good shot at winning Worlds.”