An Analysis of G2’s Disastrous Year in LEC

At the start of 2021, G2 Esports looked ready to conquer the world. The organization had just succeeded in... Radu M. | 29. September 2021

At the start of 2021, G2 Esports looked ready to conquer the world. The organization had just succeeded in signing Fnatic’s most iconic player and there was no European team on the horizon that seemed capable of stopping G2 from winning both splits. At the very least, fans expected their favorite competitor to play in the Grand Final of both splits and qualify for Worlds 2021. Instead, G2 had the worst season of the last 5 years. This is the story of how the G2 train went off the rails.

The Transfer of Rekkles

Martin Larson, better known as Rekkles, spent more than 5 years playing for Fnatic and finished 2nd at Worlds 2018. His ADC skills are legendary in Europe and at 24 years old, his status within Fnatic was so high that he practically looked untransferrable. And not just because of his skills. In this day and age, teams make a lot of money simply by having highly popular players on their roster. With a following of more than 500,000 on Twitter alone, Rekkles was an extremely valuable member of Fantic.

When Lionel Messi quit FC Barcelona and went to PSG, he caused quite a stir. But now imagine him quitting FC Barcelona and going to Real Madrid! That would have made even bigger news. The same thing happened in the case of Rekkles. The player went from one of LEC’s best teams and joined its main rival.

Between the two of them, G2 Esports and Fnatic have won the majority of LEC Splits of the last 6 years. So at least on paper, Rekkles should have never been allowed to leave Fnatic to join G2. But what happened happened and in November 2020, that’s exactly what he did.

G2’s previous ADC and Midlaner, Luka “Perkz” Perkovic, had done an exceptional job for the team and decided to swap roles with Caps, who is still here. Initially, Perkz was playing Mid while Caps was the carry. The two players stepped in each other’s shoes and proved perfectly capable of playing a different role within the team. Given the date of this swap, May 6th, and the one of the big transfer, November 20th, it’s possible that G2 knew about Perkz’ desire to leave the team and Rekkles’ intention to join it way in advance.

In theory, Rekkles looked considerably stronger than Perkz in the ADC role. And he probably is. But the team’s synergy decreased considerably after the roster change.

LEC Spring 2021

LEC Spring 2021 started well for G2. The team got easy victories against MAD Lions, SK Gaming, Excel, and Astralis in the first 4 matches. But then it lost its aura of invincibility against FC Schalke. This was their first defeat in the tournament. Several more were about to come, with victories between them. The most painful ones were against Fnatic and MAD Lions.

As you might imagine, from a confidence standpoint, G2 could not afford to lose against Fnatic. Because if they did, the implications would really hurt not only them, but also their fans. After all, how can you steal your rivals’ supposedly best player and then get defeated by them?

G2 lost its first match against Fnatic and it didn’t last long either. In just 28 minutes, Fnatic’s ADC and his teammates caused an upset that made many people wonder if G2 really had the right ingredients to win Worlds. If you can’t even beat your local rivals after you effectively stole their best player, how are you going to beat the Chinese and South Korean giants?

The Group Stage of LEC Spring ended quite well for G2. The team had ultimately managed to win its second match against Fnatic and its record was decent: 14 wins – 4 losses. If we take both matches, not a single team in the league had managed to defeat them. G2 had 5 wins, 4 draws, and was ranked 1st overall.

Because of these results, G2 started the Playoffs of LEC Spring in the Semifinals. Its first match was against Schalke and they almost lost it after having a 2 – 0 advantage. After a long Bo5 series and a game 5 that took 44 minutes to conclude, G2 was victorious. But the effort it took to win against a relatively weak opponent proved that either Rogue or MAD were probably going to defeat them. And in fact, both teams did. The Winners’ Finals ended with a score of 3 – 1 in favor of MAD while the Losers’ Finals ended with an identical score in favor of Rogue. The split was won by MAD, even though Rogue had a 2 – 0 advantage.

Because of this disappointing result, G2 missed the opportunity to take part in MSI 2021 and started to prepare for the Summer split.

LEC Summer 2021

If LEC Spring was underwhelming for G2, LEC Summer was a complete disaster. The team got defeated twice by Fnatic in the Group Stage, and lost 4 other matches against supposedly lesser opponents such as Excel, Schalke, Misfits, and even Vitality. The team’s record of 12 wins and 6 losses allowed it to finish this stage in 2nd place, which was not bad all things considered.

Going into the Playoffs, it looked as if G2 was going to finish 2nd or 3rd, simply because it had only lost twice against Fnatic and had defeated twice its other 2 main rivals, Rogue and MAD Lions. But as soon as the Playoffs began, all of these 3 teams proved to be much stronger than during the Group Stage. And G2 saw itself demolished by them. First by MAD, in a match in which Rekkles tried 3 times in a row to win with Tristana and failed miserably, and then against Fnatic.

Nisqy’s team had had 2 difficult matches prior to the one against G2, and had learned a tremendous amount from them. First, they defeated Vitality and then Misfits. Both times, the match needed 5 games to conclude. In their battle against G2, Fnatic played 4 of the 5 games with Twisted Fate and won 3 times with him. For some reason, Rekkles’ team had no answer and lost each time relatively quickly. The tournament was ultimately won by MAD, who defeated Fnatic in the Grand Final.

G2’s defeat against Fnatic wasn’t only disappointing. It was disastrous. Because this was a battle for Worlds as well. The loser was going to finish 4th and miss the tournament. The 3 teams that have qualified for it are MAD, Fnatic, and Rogue. The first two will start in the Group Stage while the 3rd will need to survive the Play-Ins.

Comparison to Previous Seasons

Without a doubt, this season was a complete failure for G2. The organization had invested a lot, probably expecting to win not just the regional league twice and perhaps the MSI, but also Worlds 2021. Instead, it failed to qualify for the two international tournaments and only managed to finish 3rd and 4th place respectively in the two splits. By contrast, G2 had won both splits in the previous two seasons. And on top of that, in 2019 they also won MSI and placed 2nd at Worlds, while in 2020 they placed 3rd – 4th at Worlds.

Rekkles Leaves the Team

As you might expect, this downgrade, which costs a lot of money, is bound to cause some serious roster changes. And in fact, G2 has just announced that Rekkles will leave the team. What comes next? We’ll have to wait and see.


Photo credit: Riot Games