4 Things to Watch Out for in G2-OG Elimination Match
G2 Esports will face off against Origen later today in the League of Legends European Championship 2020 Spring Split Playoffs. The defending LEC champions were defeated by rookie squad MAD Lions in a shocking upset last week and now find themselves pitted against their 2019 Spring finals opponent Origen in a lower bracket elimination match.
For Origen, it is an opportunity to avenge the humiliating 0-3 stomp at G2’s hands a year prior. For G2, it is a must-win match to salvage the team’s aspirations to not only retain the European crown but also, more importantly, secure its place at the Mid-Season Invitational where G2 Esports currently hold the title.
Here are four things to keep in mind as the two squads face off for pride, for victory and for glory where losing is not an option.
G2 are Still the Favorites to Win
Despite the unexpected loss to upcoming underdogs MAD Lions, G2 are still a team to be feared. While they have not maintained the same invincible aura and braggadocious swagger from last season, G2 is still overflowing with talent and experience, and have at least kept the 2019 quick-thinking, decisive style of play that generates advantages or equalizers from nothing. Even with dropped matches here and there against bottom-ranked teams, G2 boasted an 83.3% regular season win rate, the highest in the league, and their best-of-five loss against MAD Lions still saw the boys in black-and-white within a hair’s breadth of victory. If a playoffs loss requires the thus-far worst performances from several G2 players as well as a herculean effort from MAD Lions’ jungler Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao, then the LEC champions and their breakneck gameplay pace are sure to keep them ahead of a predictable, plodding Origen squad that they have twice-defeated in the regular season.
Origen’s Victory Hopes are Pinned in the Bot Lane
Origen’s slow, methodical style is reflected in their statistics: they have a 44% First Blood rate, 44% on securing First Tower, and an average of 0.33 Dragons at the fifteen minute mark, but still rate positive with +595 gold differential and +15.1 CS differential at fifteen minutes. This tendency to consolidate a conservative early game that focuses on economical advantages plays into their longer games, giving their primary carries (and specifically their AD Carry bot laner) time to reach item-based power spikes through farming minions rather than securing kill gold.
It’s fortunate, then, that the bot lane is where OG can definitively claim advantage over G2. Elias “Upset” Lipp is one of the best bot laners in the world and a practiced hand on the AD Carries that define the role. His lane partner, LEC newcomer Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw, has proven a reliably competent if somewhat uninspired Support player with a heavy reliance on Nautilus that nevertheless delivers with consistent play.
Across the river, it has been a shaky debut in the bot lane for G2 Esports’ Rasmus “Caps” Winther. The star mid laner has not displayed the same level of flair and dominance after swapping positions with team captain Luka “Perkz” Perković. A particular sticking point is his underwhelming piloting of Aphelios, the predominant AD Carry in the current patch and one on which Upset has no issues performing. He also has not synergized as well with Support partner Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, who boasts a more robust pool than Destiny but also oscillates much more in quality of play.
For an OG victory, exploiting this disparity will be key to a victory. Drafting around a marksman for Upset to smash team fights around key objectives will give them an edge, given how deftly Upset navigates the five-on-five brawls in comparison to Caps who still seems uncomfortable in properly spacing. Successfully shutting down Mikyx’s attempts to engage and make the space on Caps’ behalf, perhaps with Destiny’s trusty Nautilus, will go a long way in realizing that goal.
G2’s Victory Hopes are Pinned Everywhere Else
Unfortunately for OG fans, their prospects for a win are much bleaker elsewhere on the map. Whilst Origen’s Barney “Alphari” Morris can match G2’s Martin “Wunder” Hansen in the top lane on both carries and tanks, and arguably has outperformed the latter this season on tank duties, the mid-jungle two-versus-two is heavily weighed in G2’s favor.
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Luka “Perkz” Perković were the two players in contention for the Spring split’s Most Valuable Player award, with Jankos ultimately securing it. The G2 jungler’s play particularly on dominant meta picks such as Lee Sin, Pantheon and Gragas has played a large part in G2’s speedy wins, as evidenced by his absurd 6.3 K/D/A ratio. His rare underperformance against and G2’s subsequent loss to MAD Lions are proof of how critical his play is to his team’s success. Paired with a triumphant return to the mid lane by Perkz, who has wowed audiences with his flashy play on many different carries and assassins, Jankos will be critical in winning the mid-lane to unlock Perkz to secure advantages in top and bottom.
Compared to that, Origen’s mid-jungle duo seem lackluster. Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm is rightfully praised for the breadth of his champion pool, on nearly all of which he has shown functional depth, but he has not been able to completely take over the game with dominance in the same manner Perkz can. As for Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, he is an enabling player more than a threat in his own right, and in this match-up specifically will more than likely be on constant damage control as he tries to prevent Jankos from disrupting OG’s careful early game. With the game in its current state favoring proactive play to secure the plentiful pre-Baron objectives like tower plates, Rift scuttlers, Rift Heralds and dragons, this discrepancy in jungle playstyle is a large role in tipping the scales towards Jankos and G2.
Flex Picks Will Decide the Outcome
G2 Esports have regularly flaunted flex or off-meta picks throughout the spring and been accredited for it as part of their flippant, playful arrogance. However, as the split progresses, it is becoming increasingly evident that G2 are not so much luxuriating in their fluidity in draft as they are wholly dependent on it. Caps’ unfamiliarity on traditional bot lane marksmen leaves a large hole in G2’s strategy that requires drafting gymnastics or disproportionate resource-to-reward distribution across the rift as Jankos, Perkz and sometimes even Wunder must often babysit the bot lane with ganks, roams and teleports lest it be punished and fall behind. To that end, Caps and Wunder have both played a comparatively large number of unique or off-meta picks as G2 try to finagle a functional composition out of their disparate pieces.
Opposing them, Origen are perhaps the most cookie-cutter default team in the league. They utilize a minimal amount of flex picks, and aside from Nukeduck’s varied champions, have virtually no surprises in their drafting. Compared to G2’s trickery, OG are very straightforward in their approach and are likely better served in using their picks and bans to secure the playstyle they want instead of trying to disrupt whatever shenanigans G2 are trying to accomplish in their draft.
Be it through an ingenious stroke or a catastrophic dismantling, flex picks are likely to play a large part in whichever side wins. Symbolic of the differences in strategic philosophies between the two sides, it will be a match between G2’s artist and Origen’s technician as they settle for the last time this spring what is the correct approach to League of Legends.
The LEC Spring Split lower bracket elimination match will be played later today on Sunday, April 12, 2020, at 5pm CET.
The article's analysis and breakdown are courtesy of Michael Jeong. Twitter: Michael4Jeong