"Following a rigorous Spring Split with practice, scrims and official games for nearly 10-plus hours a day, six days a week for three months straight, it was important for the mental state of our players to be allowed to take some time away from the game, visit their families and reset for the MSI and the following Summer Split," stated European champions G2 Esports in a club statement following the team's rough start at the Mid-Season Invitational.
To start things off, let's not beat around the bush. G2 Esports hasn't lived up to expectations through the first two days of the tournament. The team was outright poor on its first day, going 0-2 against the Flash Wolves and SK Telecom T1. Its first game against the Wolves was fine until it blew a large lead in the mid and late game due to a wonky composition with little wave-clear and ability to engage. The second, though, was a complete and utter blowout to the world champions.
During the first day, it came out that the team didn't really practice going into the event.
Sorry ! :(( GG FW!! No practice really shows off! We will pick it up for the rest of the tournament!
- Luka (@Perkzlol) May 4, 2016
This made the community go crazy, saying G2 didn't deserve to be at MSI if it didn't put everything into its practice beforehand. "While staying in our gaming house in Berlin as a unit could have offered some team practice, the quality of that practice would not have done anything to help improve our team play leading up towards MSI and the level of teams attending here," G2 continued in its press release. "Planning a bootcamp in China/Asia before MSI proved difficult, due to the visa application process and the uncertainty of knowing whether we'd qualify or not."
Day 2, while better by G2, still didn't result in any wins. It tripped up early against NA champions Counter Logic Gaming and got blown out for the second time before losing an extremely close game to the undefeated Royal Never Give Up from China. Obviously, since G2 released the statement, the fans pointed every little thing wrong about it and linked it with the 0-4 record the team holds after two days.
And I agree -- G2, strong scrim partners or not, should have practiced more heading into the event. When the team saw the tournament was going to be in China, it should have gotten visas prepared for a bootcamp in Korea if things went the team's way. Even though it's a rookie organization in the league, we can't act like it was a complete surprise G2 made it to MSI. The team won the regular season title, was awarded best player, rookie, and coach of the split, and had all the momentum going into the EU LCS playoffs.
The team should have planned better.
The players should have worked harder.
But, honestly, the worst thing about all of this is the statement G2 released. By releasing the statement, the team pretty much says it screwed up with preparations. It admits defeat while throwing in a few buzz words of encouragement, hoping it satisfies the fan. There was no reason to make a statement a day and a half after the start of the tournament.
If G2 Esports didn't want to practice going into MSI, then it should be able to do that. If the Korean players on the team want to put a greater priority on seeing their family and friends, then stand behind them if you let them go. G2 Esports won the right to compete at MSI by winning the EU LCS championship for the spring split, and regardless of what you think of how the players and coaches prepared, it's up to them to decide how they want to build their team.
MSI is an important tournament, but it's not the ultimate prize: that's the Summoner's Cup at the end of the World Championships. SK Telecom T1 failed to win MSI last year, and it became motivated to work hard heading into the Worlds. Edward Gaming won MSI, and the Chinese teams showed up to Worlds out of practice and not ready to play. People forgot all about how well EDG did at MSI and only remember what it did on the grandest stage.
So why release a statement before the tournament is even over? G2 Esports is a good team. It has extremely talented players and is good enough, as we saw today against RNG, to play against the best teams in the tournament. Who's to say G2 won't round into form come tomorrow or the next day, string together a few wins and get into the top four next weekend with a chance to win it all with the rust removed?
"Don't apologize. Don't pander. Don't ask for forgiveness."
To me, it's just a list of excuses that the players on the team don't need. We couldn't practice because of this. We thought it would be better if the players did this. If we do terribly at this tournament, it's because of this.
This is a competition. There will always be teams that fail to live up to expectations, and you don't see them releasing a statement every time they lose. Luka "PerkZ" Perković made a statement on Twitter, and it created some backlash. You know what you do? Tell your star mid player to get off social media, get back to work, and do the best he and the rest of the team can for the rest of the tournament.
Don't say anything. Don't respond to the Reddit threads. Don't listen to Twitter.
If you honestly believe that rest was best for your team instead of heavy practice, then let your team do the talking for you. As long as G2 Esports makes it to Worlds and does well at the tournament -- the benchmark probably being semifinals like Origen and Fnatic last year -- then it's proved itself correct, no matter how the team did at MSI.
"We are greatly honored to be representing our region at this tournament," said G2 to end its club statement. "And we are doing our best to improve each game, and make our fans and Europe proud despite the hard difficulty of making it through."
This is stuff that never needs to be said.
Don't apologize. Don't pander. Don't ask for forgiveness.
You're the European champions, win or lose this tournament. Everyone knows you're honored to play under Europe's banner. We know you're a good team from watching you all split long. Play your games, do your best, and if you finish last and are asked directly in an interview, say you'll try your best the next time. Like it or not, uplifting words on a computer screen aren't going to change the opinions of fans.
The only way to do that is to win. Win now, or win later at Worlds. Either G2 will prove what it did was right by making it to the World Championships this fall, or we won't need another press release during the event because it'll be enjoying all the vacation it wants at home.