Following a dismal showing at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, G2 Esports performed a roster swap that cemented its place in the top of the 2016 LCS summer split rankings on paper by acquiring Origen's former bottom lane duo, Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Alfonso "mithy" Aguirre Rodriguez. Rumors swirled as to the nature of the move and the reasons, but the reality, as always, is different.
"The main reason I went to G2 was the same reason I joined Origen in the first place," says Zven following G2's 2-0 win against the Unicorns of Love on Friday. "I just felt like things weren't right for me anymore, and mithy felt the same but a bit more. So, we decided together to find a new place."
Despite receiving a slew of offers separately, G2's offer stood out. They could have gone to different squads -- not necessarily in Europe. In the end, Zven says, "G2 was the one place where we'd be together, so that's how it came to be."
It didn't take him long to adapt to his surroundings. A tireless worker, he grinded game after game in the European solo queue ladder to sharpen his mechanical skills. With the advent of dynamic queue during the 2016 LCS spring split, he occasionally played with like-minded individuals from other squads -- and that included Kim "Trick" Gang-yun.
"I played quite a bit of dynamic queue with Trick before, so I knew how he was - very kind, down to earth kind of guy," Zven says.
His current teammate in the mid lane, Luka "PerkZ" Perkovic was also in the dynamic queue groups he played with, but the two of them go back to a farther point in time. "I knew PerkZ a little bit from playing against him in the Challenger Series some time ago," says Zven. "I played against him in Barcelona once at an event.
"I played dynamic queue as well in the spring, because in OG we didn't spend so much time in dynamic queue together because not everyone played so much. So I played a lot with Trick and PerkZ because they played all day."
And so it was that mithy and Zven moved as a package, adapting to their new squad. But with changes, some matters remain similar -- such as their teammates' ability to carry games when they secure a lead, or when they are in prime position to do so. On the other hand, the arrival of the new bot lane granted G2 more flexibility.
"PerkZ is used to most of the team playing around mid, 'cause that's how G2 won most of the games [during the spring split] -- mid or jungle carrying, top being a tank," Zven says. "Nowadays, we play a lot more around both bot and top lane than before ... Kikis and Expect get more jungle attention than before -- and PerkZ a bit less. So he has to adjust a bit to that, but I think he's working on it, and in his play he's doing fine."
G2's second game on Friday against the Unicorns of Love stood as proof, as PerkZ's Zilean empowered his teammates to victory -- rather than occupy the center stage as he would on LeBlanc, Ryze and others. But the G2 nearly clinched a 1-1 draw; following a disastrous start in Game 1, the squad capitalized on UoL's mistakes and performed an unlikely recovery.
"We had kind of a bad game, I think- - maybe too overconfident, not focused enough," Zven says.
Zven was quick to highlight the main factor behind the reversal. "I think Trick played really good that game, talking to everyone, making everyone realize that we can still win this game."
The squad's new starting top laner, Ki "Expect" Dae-han also shined, with two Irelia showings -- a 0/0/14 KDA in the first game, and a 4/1/4 KDA in the second. G2's newest acquisition in the top lane has started to find a footing in Europe, one year removed from competing in the Chinese LSPL, and his ability to communicate on a basic level is eclipsed by his understanding of English and his drive to succeed.
"I think Dae-han (Expect) has good English in terms of understanding. I can tell him something in English like I talk to anyone else -- I think of a situation after a game and he would tell me 'oh, OK!'" says Zven. "You don't need so much communication to be fine in League, but he's working on it, and he's going upwards. He's going fast. He's a very hard worker and very motivated and good at receiving criticism."
And he will be, if G2 Esports is to contend with the best squads the other regions will showcase at the 2016 World Championship. On that regard, the squad has seemingly learned more about their two losses -- one to H2k-Gaming, the other to Team ROCCAT -- than from their victories.
"Against ROCCAT, we realized that we weren't so good at ending games unless we were really far ahead," says Zven. "Against H2k, I think we played some good League in the first 20 minutes -- two drakes and so on. Then we get caught mid. We got outplayed mid and lost Nashor, two towers, two kills and it kind of snowballed from there."