It’s easy to look at something and say, “It’s wrong.”, but it’s hard to know what’s wrong with it and much harder to know how to fix it. Esports teams have all sorts of variables and factors that affect their performance, not just day-to-day but even year-to-year. Coaches hold a big part of the responsibility of fixing the inconsistent and flawed parts and improving the performance of their team. It would be fair to say that, in LEC, no team is as consistent and improved as G2 Esports.
We spoke with Dylan Falco, the head coach of G2, about their consistency in the LEC, G2’s performance at MSI, their expectation from Worlds, what they excel in and much more.
Aykut Sapaz, BLIX.GG: Hello and welcome, Dylan Falco! Thank you so much for being here with me today. It was a very interesting match that you just came out of. I want to talk about that first before I get to the other important stuff. It was very dominating, especially after the middle game. How does G2 get to that point where they're just so dominating even in chaotic situations -- actually especially in chaotic situations.
Dylan Falco: Maybe, um, I think, at least in the second game of the series, the reason we were dominating past mid-game was a lot to do with the draft. I think they had champions that really needed to fight and engage us, like Nautilus, but it's just impossible against Braum-Trundle. So, I think once they were behind, the game became very hard for them. I thought it was a lot more contested in the first game, but I think in the first game, we had a team composition that wants to create that sort of chaos. We had full engage champs, flanking champs, skirmish champs. So, well, in the second game, I think it was once we started winning, it was hard for them. In the first game, it was just the type of game we wanted to create.
BLIX: Yeah, and I think it's one of the keys to the success of G2 that you're able to achieve the kind of game that you want. Do you think any other team in the league challenges you to not create the game that you want to play, or because they don't challenge you, is that how you get good results at the end of the season?
Dylan Falco: Probably. From a scrim and stage perspective, there isn't a team right now that challenges us. At least not like when we were playing at MSI. That does not mean that we're automatically going to win the split or win the finals. There are teams that, I think, on a good day, can match us and, on a good day, can take games, especially if our preparation or our condition is not good. But over a large sample of games, not really, to be completely honest.
BLIX: So, if the odds are neutral, G2 would generally win more often than not.
Dylan Falco: Yeah, like that's been our experience so far this year. We're very confident that we want to win the championship, right? That's what we're here for.
BLIX: That's the goal. Exactly. And you're one of the three teams that are locked in now, alongside MAD Lions and BDS. Well, who do you think the other three will be?
Dylan Falco: I think that's a bit crazy because a lot of it has to do with who does good or bad, which affects other teams. Like I think, for example, with the current state of things, I think SK must have already made it as well. I think it must be very close, so I think SK, in most scenarios, makes it. That's four. And then I think it probably is going to be Vitality squeaking it through. And then I don't really know for the sixth one, just because they've accumulated so many points throughout the first two splits.
BLIX: It's interesting to see teams performing not as well in one split and then performing well in the other, even though we don't see huge changes in the meta. But G2 has been very consistent throughout since the start of the split. You've been fourth, I think, in the winter split, and then one. And then third in the spring split, and then went second. And now you’re finishing first here. You've been very consistent throughout the whole year, even though other teams have a lot of fluctuations. How does that happen?
Dylan Falco: We also had our phase of, I think, getting lost with... I don't want to say we were cocky, but we definitely did not have the commitment to mastery and the commitment to discipline and really doing everything we can to win. I think it was Spring Split, so it was a bit rough. I think at MSI also, I know people think it's different, but I actually feel like we could have done way better given what we know now. So I think we've had our ups and downs as well. I think the format is cool because it allows you to see the ups and downs of the team in all the different metas, and it just keeps it kind of spicy, and hopefully, we can end it off with some wins.
BLIX: It's very interesting to talk about what G2 have been up to throughout the whole year. But let's move on from that for a second and talk about how you've accumulated all this to go to Worlds, where there will be three or four spots from the LEC. In case you do make it, do you have anything planned or anything taken from your experience at MSI to apply at Worlds?
Dylan Falco: Yeah, well, our first goal is to qualify for Worlds, of course. I assume that with a team as strong as ours, we should be okay to make the top four, and even if you're fourth, you play against LCS, I believe. So that's our goal, that's what we'd like to do. We'd like to do better than fourth. I think at Worlds, we just discovered that it was very doable.
This is the first year scrimming at an international event where it felt like we were playing on an even level, but I think we lacked some mastery, we lacked some discipline, we missed some micro stuff in mid-game, and that's where we've been focusing on, and we're very much reminded ourselves a lot about why we lost at MSI and what needs to change for the rest of the year. And so far, it's led to a way, I don't know if you can see by watching, but a very different kind of version of ourselves that is just way more consistent, I would say.
What makes the team perform better than others?
BLIX: That is very interesting and, in a sense, enlightening because even though G2 is consistent, they can also work with inconsistency, and I think we've been seeing that in some matches where you guys really create confusion and win off of that sometimes, but you also show your mastery. So it's kind of hard to pinpoint what G2 excels at, and that’s my question. What do you think G2 excels at better than all their other qualities?
Dylan Falco: I think our understanding of pressure in the game, called tempo or equal pressure or whatever, and how that integrates with draft and our jungle pathing and how that all works together to kind of make a vision of how to play the game. I think that's probably our biggest strength. The way we're talking about the game is probably different from a lot of the other teams in LEC, like the type of things we're talking about. So I think that's probably our best strength. I think our second strength is just that our players are a bit too good.
BLIX: The players are good at working together and figuring out the game. That's very interesting because when it's done correctly, like when we see in international matches, it's very easy to say, "Oh yeah, they're doing this right." But what aren’t some teams doing right that other teams do, which is a very broad question, I know, but it's the core of the game and the core of coaching too. So, I only find it appropriate to ask you.
Dylan Falco: I think a lot of teams try and copy from teams better than them, for sure. It's like, I think we've noticed a lot. We try and do that, but we also try and do it from a perspective that we can improve on it and that we can also understand the weaknesses of teams that are maybe on paper better than us. So, I think it comes out of balance because I think there are a lot of teams trying to copy. And I think it's really a double-edged sword.
BLIX: That's very interesting. You’re saying that the gap is beatable, you can beat Eastern teams, you can beat Western teams. But there are people who copy them, and they can't beat them. Is that the main reason?
Dylan Falco: No, I think the reason the Eastern teams are better is that they have a more competitive environment where they have more players training harder and putting more effort in and a bigger ecosystem around it. Ours in Europe is actually pretty good. We have a pretty huge ecosystem as well. I think the level of discipline and effort put in is a little bit higher, and just the overall talent level just kind of breeds new talent. It's kind of like it's a compounding problem. But I don't think it's... I've been to the World Finals, and I've been to a lot of international events, and I just feel like it's been a bad few years for the rosters and the kind of rosters and effort put in by some of the European teams. And I think that's definitely something we can fix and we can do better.
BLIX: I hope to see the LEC perform at the level you say they can now. Another question I had: I spoke with Yike last week, and he said, since you know there are lots of players with very broad champion pools, that you have maybe the hardest coaching job in the EU, working with all those talented players. Would you agree with that statement?
Dylan Falco: In some aspects, I think it's been difficult when people want to try crazy picks 24/7. I have to say no a lot, or at least at the start of the year, I have to say no. We were, I think, so ahead of everyone else that the floodgates opened on experimentation. So, in that aspect, it can be hard, but it also makes my job easy when my players are this good, right? It's just... It's a nice thing, but I've tried to kind of create a better approach to it, let's say, throughout the year.
BLIX: Well, thank you so much for doing this interview. This has been one of the most interesting interviews I've done so far. Before we go, do you have any messages to fans who are very excited to see you at Montpelier, and even after that in the future?
Dylan Falco: Yeah, no, just thank you to all the fans. Keep supporting us. We're really giving everything to try and show some good performances this year. And yeah, we appreciate it.