Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
It’s easy to write about the best, but it can be difficult about it in an interesting way. This is exactly the dilemma that faces me this morning seeing G2 at the top of the LEC with the only undefeated record.
It’s not just the fact that we are all used to G2 dominating their domestic league in years gone by, though that certainly doesn’t help. The real issue is the manner of their success so far: they have looked largely untroubled.
It’s possible to go 4-0 and have four hard-fought, narrowly-won games. That isn’t what has happened with G2, though. Not really.
They opened the season by avoiding a potential banana skin in the shape of Schalke and Origen. In fact, not only did they avoid slipping on said skin, they crushed it underfoot without having to interrupt their collective stride. Both Schalke and Origen proved unworthy opposition, barely even making G2 work for their opening wins.
G2-0 was back and looked as though they’d never been away.
Oddly, it was newcomers Excel who gave G2 their toughest assignment so far. The Brits led Friday’s game for long periods of time and even ended the game with more kills than their more storied opponents.
In retrospect, though, it almost seems like G2 were playing with their food. Caps’ Akali simply was not to be denied – not by a 10/2 Nocturne on the opposing team, not by a 0/7 support on his own team.
On Saturday they cruised past another new team in Rogue. On the surface, this game was interesting for its – shall we say “experimental” draft? Certainly nobody was expecting Ivern jungle or Karma top. Even Sencux got into the spirit of the thing, picking Riven into Caps’ Irelia.
It wasn’t bad either, putting up a respectable 4/4/3 performance, but it was nowhere near enough to stop his team from crumbling under G2’s pressure.
The trouble is, I don’t see the unusual team comp (they still picked Xayah and Rakan in the bottom lane and absolutely dominated, by the way) as helping my cause. Was it unique? Somewhat. Does it help me write about G2 in a way that isn’t just gushing over how good they are? Not really.
Why not? Because, right now, G2 are just outclassing all-comers with their superior skill. The draft phase almost doesn’t matter, as evidenced by the Rogue game. You could argue, if you were so inclined, that picking off-meta champions is disrespectful. They know they are better than everyone else, so why not try some weird stuff?
With games against SK and Splyce coming up in the next week, it will be interesting to see if they continue with the experiment. Maybe Karma and Ivern and secretly overpowered and I’ll end up looking silly in a couple of weeks when everyone is playing them. I doubt it.
The point is, I don’t see anything strategically brilliant from G2. They’re simply outplaying their opponents in every position and there’s not really an interesting way to phrase “Caps crushed Mid Laner X” over and over.
If you want to know how Perkz and Mikyx annihilated Rogue’s bottom lane, nothing I can write will explain it better than just watching them play better. They didn’t break out any special tactics; there were no special tricks; they are just better players, mechanically and they played to those strengths.
League of Legends can be a deep strategical game with many levels, but sometimes you are just better at the game than your opponents and that’s that.
Week four will be the most interesting time to watch this G2 squad, to see how improved they really are with Caps. Individual skill will not carry them against Vitality, who have proven to be on a similar level and who play with a playstyle to match. That looks like the highlight of week four already, but if G2 continue their skill-fuelled rampage it only gets more exciting.
Their second game of the week will see them take on a struggling Fnatic squad. The defending LCS champions are having a torrid season so far, currently sitting on 0-4. But much like how G2’s individual talent is keeping them ahead of the pack, a roster as stacked as Fnatic’s can’t be this bad forever.
If they can pick up some wins in the meantime, we could get the G2-Fnatic game we crave.
They have three opportunities to do so, two of which, on paper, should be gimmes. Rogue and Excel should be outclassed by Fnatic if they can regain their mojo. Misfits, despite an unexpected blip this weekend, is a different proposition altogether.
Still, two or three wins should put Fnatic back on track, and that makes them dangerous for G2. If nothing else, the ability to individually outplay their opponents will not see them through week four unscathed. I’m not saying that they can’t play a more strategic game, just that they will need to prove it in coming weeks.