G2’s Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen had a blunt and realistic view of the road ahead for his team.
Speaking in the post-game press conference after G2 defeated Unicorns of Love in the European League of Legends Championship Series spring final on Sunday, Zven talked about the way fans perceive G2 and how that could change in the future.
“Maybe if we do well at MSI, we can make up a little bit for what happened in the past, and it will change some fans’ minds,” Zven said. “I think right now, I feel like people are either fans or haters, and anyone in the middle who is skeptical, (maybe) can be turned around if something good happens to us at MSI. So I think there’s a lot to gain and not much to lose for us.”
Zven’s comments stemmed from a question about UOL being the fan favorite in the final, and Zven said he’s used to that happening to G2 by now, which prompted another question about what could change fans’ perception of the team.
It has been both a wildly successful and extremely disappointing year for G2. Sunday’s win marked G2’s third European LCS championship in a row, and G2 went more than a year without being defeated in a series by another European team. But G2’s real struggles have come at the international level. At last year’s Mid-Season Invitational, G2 finished 2-8 and in fifth place of six teams, placing ahead of only Turkish team SuperMassive.
The “vacation” meme was soon born, as G2 attempted to explain its poor performance at MSI by saying the players went home to take a break instead of prepping for MSI. But this all happened while G2 attempted to sign Zven and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez from rival Origen, which apparently caused a rift within the team. G2 announced the additions of Zven and Mithy after MSI.
G2 rebounded from the MSI problems (even if its public perception didn’t) to win the summer LCS split. But again, international competition would serve as G2’s downfall. At the League of Legends World Championship, G2 finished 1-5 and last in its group. Despite dominating its own region, G2 again received an intensely negative reputation for its international performance.
After finishing as the runner-up at a weakened IEM Katowice field and winning another European LCS split, G2 will once again test itself internationally. Zven said in Sunday’s press conference that performing well at MSI matters more than what he just accomplished.
“I think it was more just one step toward MSI,” he said. “I think MSI is the real goal here. To perform well at MSI is more important than winning today.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot