In a surprising upset based on their group stage performances, G2 Esports bested Team WE 3-1 in the 2017 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational semifinals. After the series, Yahoo Esports caught up again with G2 support Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez to talk about G2’s win and their upcoming finals match against SK Telecom T1.
Before, when I asked you how it felt to get out of groups, you said, “relieved.” Now, beating Team WE in the semifinals, how do you feel?
I feel relieved again. Now it’s not because we made it to the semifinals but because we finally shot down this whole international meme for G2. I’m just really proud that we actually made it and that side is over. Even if we lose in group stages at Worlds, because maybe it happens, who knows? At least we did fine. I’m happy with our progress, I’m happy with everyone on the team. At least now that is over. Now if we lose in groups, it’s not because we weren’t working hard or we were taking vacations, it’s because we suck, and I want it to be that way, you know? I want it to be because we sucked and I’m glad that it’s finally gotten to that point.
Both you and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen have said similarly, that your team just was not good last year at Worlds and the community perception around your performance was an unfortunate snowball effect about your mentality or work ethic. Do you think this will influence community perception at all or the discrepancy between how much effort you put in and what the community thinks?
That will never change because all you see as a fan is what you actually can see. You can see the wins, you can see the losses, but you can never know what we actually feel as players, how the scrims are going, how we’re treating each other, how arguments end up, just everything you need to work on as a pro player. All these things are things that only people close to the team will know. That’s going to stay the same way.
But it’s a good argument to say that when we went to Worlds, we had only been playing together for three months. Our top laner had been playing in the second league [LSPL] in China on the worst team so he had not much experience and he didn’t speak English, he had no idea about the game. We won Europe because we were better players but we didn’t have a good understanding of the game. Now we have a better approach in scrims, better approach in everything. We’re starting to get to understand the game but it takes time. I don’t think there’s any team in the world that’s done really well with three months practice. It just takes time.
Talk to me a bit about the Game 1 Taric pick. You said earlier in your press conference* that it was a last-minute fall-back, but did you deliberately think of it for the Malazhar since Team WE did well with it in groups?
Before Malzahar got nerfed, you would play Taric against Malzahar and you would struggle more, because you wouldn’t be able to kill the minions. Malzahar was a stronger champ back then but you could still play [Taric]. Once my Tahm was getting banned, [Team WE] showed that they would pick the Malzahar in group stages. So we knew that they were going to ban a lot of my champs. I’ve been a pro player for a long time and I’m okay with first-timing something and just sucking or inting. I won’t be really hurt by it. My team trusts me and I’ll just go with it. So I was thinking, “Hey, maybe I’ll play Taric then. He was fine before. Let’s give it a try.” Played it in a custom game, it didn’t work out, and then it worked out okay onstage.
A prevailing narrative throughout the tournament has been more around who will supposedly get second place to SKT since they have looked so strong, but you personally have eschewed that attitude. When you lost to them in groups, you were adamant that it was more due to your own mistakes than anything else. What are your expectations now, going up against SKT in a best-of-five?
I have the same attitude against SKT that I did against World Elite. They showed that they were better than us in the group stage and I was like, “Well, next time make them sweat. Let’s have a good early game at least and make it hard for them.” Against SKT we threw and against World Elite we didn’t have a single good early game so coming into semifinals I was just like, “Let’s make them sweat. They’re not going to win in 20 minutes, they’re going to have to struggle. Then the next game they’re going to have to look at us and be like, ‘Oh god, not another 40-minute game in order to win.’” As long as I can bring that against SKT than I’m happy. I’m going into the series against SKT with the same mindset as going up against any team, really. Just play your best game and make them sweat.
*in a press conference after the game, Mithy said that the Taric pick was a last-minute result of him queuing it up in a custom with Zven and G2’s MSI AD Carry substitute, Elias “Upset” Lipp.
Emily Rand’s love of the 2013 KT Rolster Bullets will never die. You can follow her on Twitter.