North America struck first blood at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship Thursday with Counter Logic Gaming upsetting European squad G2 in the first game of the tournament. Vacation memes aside, G2 looked lost in their first game, as Jake “Xmithie” Puchero ran over them with a surprise Olaf pick.
Considering the strength of Korea’s ROX Tigers and the weakness of Wild Card team Albus NoX, G2 vs. CLG was largely considered to be the battle for 2nd seed out of Group A. This first game was going to be vital for either team hoping to get out of the Group stage.
So, with their hard loss to CLG, should G2 be panicking?
Reasons not to worry
LAN nerves are real, but can be dealt with
G2 is an emotional team. They tilt easily, drop games out of sheer frustration, and can definitely succumb to nerves on the big stage. With their questionable 4v5 fights, poor dives, and generally boneheaded moves in their first game at Worlds 2016, the nerves definitely got to them.
But they also looked like they were having fun. I would expect that, now that they’ve gotten a taste of the Group stages, they’ll find a way to calm down and play much more precise style.
Weird picks can throw anyone off
Coming into Worlds 2016, we expected bot lane picks to be important, but not as important as CLG treated them. They gave up power picks in both solo lanes and Elise in the jungle just to get themselves a Nami/Caitlyn bot lane to bully around Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez. During champion select I though the move was a mistake, as I anticipated two losing lanes would lead to CLG getting steamrolled.
I was wrong. G2 was completely thrown off by the picks, giving up a big early lead and never coming back. In the future, they’ll take a long, hard look at what they can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool has proven himself as an intelligent head coach, so expect them to bounce back.
Reasons to worry
Overreliance on the bot lane
Zven and Mithy have been the primary source of victories for G2 for much of the team’s season. Before Worlds, the duo was considered one of, if not the best in the West.
But what happens to G2 when they get shut down? Time and time again, CLG pressured the bot lane with ganks and Teleports to shut down any chance they had of gaining an early advantage. And with the aforementioned CLG duo of Nami and Caitlyn, the G2 pair never had a moment to recover.
With Luka “PerkZ” Perković struggling throughout 2016 Summer and Dae-han “Expect” Ki not being strong enough as a carry player, G2 doesn’t really have a backup plan. If no one steps up, G2 is going to be in serious trouble.
Communication issues are difficult to solve quickly
The entirely English-speaking CLG has a communication advantage over many multination teams at Worlds, including G2. In their matchup on day one of Worlds, it certainly showed. CLG top laner Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya repeatedly beat his G2 counterpart Expect to Teleport roams in the early game, exposing communication issues between the latter and his team.
When the mid game rolled around, G2 looked baffled in the face of CLG’s united front. They took risky fights over and over again, losing them and giving up bigger and bigger leads. Zven and Mithy were looking to brawl, while PerkZ, Expect, and Trick were looking to play passively. While it wasn’t as much of an issue in the EU LCS as they could simply out-skill their opponents, Worlds is a different beast. These communication issues are only going to get worse as the pressure of Worlds increases.
Taylor Cocke may be a dirty North American, but he would love to see Zven and Mithy make a run at Worlds for the second year in a row. Follow Taylor on Twitter @taylorcocke.