The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational came to an explosive end last week. Europe’s G2 Esports scored a 3-0 victory over North America’s Team Liquid.
Both teams got to the finals by knocking out the tournament favorites in SK Telecom T1 and Invictus Gaming, yet their series only lasted 70 minutes and 43 seconds, making it the fastest international best-of-five in League of Legends history. This is the first time a European team won an international tournament since the Season One World Championship, so G2 have already etched their name in the record books.
The full recap
Of course, their journey wasn’t an easy one.
Toward the end of the 2019 Summer Split, G2’s head coach Fabian “GrabbZ” Lohmann went on record saying their starting support—Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle—had been suffering from wrist injuries. With that, G2 had to bring in Hampus “promisq” Mikael Abrahamsson to avoid missing practice. There was a real possibility the LEC champions would have to play the 2019 MSI with an emergency substitute. It was only a day before the Main Event that Lohmann announced G2 would field their starting roster.
Road to glory
Still, their group stage was filled with ups and downs. G2 Esports started strongly with a win over the South Korean SK Telecom T1. But they ended up going 0-2 against Invictus Gaming and, bizarrely enough, Vietnam’s Phong Vũ Buffalo. And while they managed to edge out a 3-2 victory against SKT T1 in the semifinals, it remained to be seen whether they could keep the momentum going.
Yet G2 put these doubts to rest in the 2019 MSI finals. Mid-laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther became the MVP of the series. His relentless aggression and spectacular outplays repeatedly tipped the scales in G2’s favor. Then, Mikyx also showed up on the big stage with bold initiations on Thresh and his signature Rakan pick. Throw in the constant jungle pressure Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, and G2 Esports had no issues securing a stranglehold over the series.
Now, the question is where do they go from here?
Caps thinks the winning streak needs to keep going and said as much in a post-game interview:
“Obviously, I want to win as much as possible. Right from day one, when I joined EU, it was not really looking that good internationally. But I hope that I and my team could become good enough that we can compete internationally, and I just want to win as many trophies as we can.”
If that’s the case, the 2019 MSI victory is certainly a step in the right direction. But things are only going to get harder for G2 Esports down the line. Now that they’ve established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, dozens of teams from all over the world will attempt to study and counter their playstyle. And only time will tell whether G2 can stand up to this challenge.
Image courtesy of LoL Esports.