Why G2 is the Best Team in Europe

by James Bates

(Photo: G2 Esports)

There's no question about it. G2 Esports is the best team in the EU LCS. Even before we released the WWG Team Rankings, that was an obvious fact that could be deduced from a simple look at the standings. Not only have G2 not yet lost a match, they've never even been terribly close to losing one, with only H2k proving any real challenge thus far. At this rate, it seems extremely likely that G2 will repeat Fnatic's feat back in 2015 and go through an entire EU LCS undefeated -- though it must be noted that Fnatic's run was back during the best of 1 days, making it a far more difficult feat. 

So what makes G2 the best team in Europe? Well, it might sound like a reductionist answer but the real answer is everything. They have a better early game than the teams with good early games. They proved that when they took down the Misfits without a sweat. Mid game also doesn't slow them down a single bit, as they demonstrated when they weathered the storm against both H2k and the Unicorns of Love -- two teams known for taking control of the game in the mid game. On top of that, their controlled and relatively clean late game puts the entire league to shame. G2 Esports never go for the risky 50/50 barons that lesser teams resort to, and never are forced into one big defining teamfight. They show control. They show restraint.

Yet, when they took to the international stage at Katowice, they struggled against the Korean 8th seed and were utterly embarrassed by the Flash Wolves during the finals. It's fair to say that while G2 Esports are the best team in Europe, they're not a particularly noteworthy contender elsewhere. Thus, the question may not be "what is G2 Esports good at" as much as it is "how bad are the other teams in Europe if a generalist team like G2 is taking over the region." That's not an anywhere near unfair question, as most of the teams in Europe have struggled to establish an identity for themselves this split, which makes it easy for a generically strong team like G2 to just plow them over. The only team that has an established central identity, the Unicorns of Love, are widely held to be one of the best teams in the league despite their otherwise somewhat lackluster roster. 

The truth is, yes G2 Esports is the best team in Europe, but they're only such due to the weakness of the region as a whole. Unlike the dominant teams in other regions, there's little to point towards in G2 that says they're objectively good. They're the definitive generalist team, who are just reasonably strong at every point in the game. Can they thrash the other teams in Europe during the early game? Yes, but that's because those teams have truly abysmal early games. Do they look controlled and disciplined during the late game? Yes, but only because the other teams in the region devolve into an unruly mob past the thirty-five mminute mark. G2 is a team held down by their region, as they're only ever asked to be that much better than the teams just beneath them -- all of whom don't hold a candle to much of any internationally relevant team.

If G2 Esports want to start being a relevant contender on the world stage, they have to stop judging themselves by their own region. Yes, they are the kings of Europe, but that's not worth much right now. They're a decent team in a region that's undergoing one of it's worst splits in recent memory. Being merely the best simply doesn't cut it for a team with international ambitions like G2 Esports. They must strive to be something even more than that if they want even an outside chance of laying their hands on the Summoner's Cup.

By James Bates

A wanna-be novelist turned coach turned journalist, James is living proof that you never know where you'll end up. He's in love with narrative-heavy games, which he proves by spending his days writing about a game with less lore than Doom. His greatest regret in life is not having his name in the credits of Life is Strange, and it's galvanized him to truly pursue developing games that don't begin in packed taverns and use D20s.