G2's New Roster - Yay or Nay?

Despite a great roster on paper, 2020 was not kind to G2 Esports. Now, the organization is going for a reboot, announcing three new players and new coaching staff. Will this bring G2 back to the top or just buy time?
G2 Lineup 2021 0412
Will we see a stronger G2 in 2022?| © Riot Games

As far as claims to fame in the LEC go, G2 Esports is hard to beat. The organization is a financial powerhouse, the most successful one in European League of Legends history and boasts great online presence. Yet in 2021, they had their weakest year yet, missing finals both splits and not going to worlds after a dramatic 2-3 against Fnatic - doubly vexing, considering that they signed their old rivals' star AD Carry, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson. The organization decided that it could not let this slide. Fans were shocked when Rekkles was allowed to go to ERL team Karmine Corp and rumors came that Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen would be sold to Fnatic.

In their place, the team confirmed they have signed three new players - top laner Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik, support Raphaël "Targamas" Crabbé and ADC Victor "Flakked" Lirola - and benching their previous support Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle. With new coaching staff as well, this is shaping to be G2's biggest shakeup since 2017, when the team was rebuilt around its star mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perković. Back then, this revitalized the team, leading to a great Worlds' run and two more years of dominance, but what can we expect this time?

Budget G2?

The first thing that stands out when looking at the players coming in G2 is that the newcomers are far from the bombastic, star-studded acquisitions we have come to expect from the team. Over the years, the organization has become famous (or infamous) for transfer coups, snatching star players from their rivals' grasp. Zven and Mithy, Caps and Rekkles are the most well-known examples. This time, the most high-profile newcomer is Broken Blade, who is coming off two years on TSM and one with FC Schalke 04 Esports. His performance there was generally good - while Schalke 04 ended the summer split in a very poor manner, it was hard to expect things to go well when the team publicly announced they would be selling its spot. BB is no doubt a good player, though it remains to be seen if he can step up to be in the LEC top lane elite.

The announcement of the bottom lane raised a lot more eyebrows, however, especially the news that the team picked Flakked as their AD Carry. The player has so far only been active in the Spanish regional scene and only has one (relatively low-ranking) EU Masters performance. Despite no doubt good games in his tryouts, it remains to be seen if G2 staff really saw him as a player of incredible promise or had to opt for him when a more prominent transfer did not pan out. Targamas is better known, having one split of LEC (then EULCS) experience on Giants Gaming and then playing several splits in the ERL, including in the Karmine Corp team that demolished the EU Masters in 2021. Still, it is surprising that the team chose him to start over Mikyx - but, tellingly, the Slovenian is still on the roster.

Our Verdict

While 2022 will no doubt bring us plenty of surprises, on the whole this feels like a somewhat drawn back G2. They should still be a strong team with Rasmus "Caps" Winther and Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski at their core. However, it appears unlikely that they will have a better year than they just did unless either their bot lane dramatically outperforms expectations or several of their rivals flop. For now, a top 4 placement appears considerably more likely than another title. Then again, G2 have shown they can surprise us - for better or worse.

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