Since the start of 2023, G2 have gone from being the best, to being mediocre and then back to being the best, with interesting performances, both good and bad. However, since the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2023 Summer Split started, they’ve been performing exceptionally well, only losing one game in the regular split.
As they head into the playoffs as the 1st place seed, it will be interesting to see how far this streak of good performance will go. It certainly isn’t showing signs of stopping any time soon.
Aykut "Kots" Sapaz of BLIX spoke with G2’s jungler Martin "Yike" Sundelin about how the standings have settled at the end of best-of-ones, drafting for a team with many picks in their pockets, facing LPL and LCK when Worlds comes around and more.
Aykut Sapaz, BLIX: Hello Yike, thank you so much for being here with me today after your victory against KOI. Before I get into questions about the league, I wanted to ask about the match. How does it feel to beat KOI and lock in a top two finish?
Martin "Yike" Sundelin: Yeah, it feels very good because I think the last two splits we didn't actually do that, which is kind of surprising. We went fourth place and then third place. So locking the top two feels really good.
BLIX: Yeah, G2 back on top in a regular split. It's gonna be very fun to see in the playoffs. Let's talk about the draft of this match because it was very interesting seeing KOI with a very scaling comp. Did you expect that?
Yike: Yeah, I somewhat expected them to play more scaling, you know, more safe early game and all of that because I think that's like KOI’s style right now.
BLIX: Did you plan for it, and was that the reason you did so well against them?
Yike: Yeah, I would say so. I think we had really good preparation for KOI, so it didn't feel that hard, even though maybe I may have made some misplay on level three.
Flip that Spring Split upside down?
BLIX: Well, the match went with very few mistakes. And that's how you generally got through the split as you won a lot of your matches that way. I want to ask, we're almost at the end of the best-of-ones. Is the standing list the way you expected it to be at the start of the season?
Yike: I don't know, really. I guess not, actually. No, because I expected Fnatic to, for sure, be better than they were last split. But I didn't really expect Heretics to do this well like they're doing right now. And I also didn't expect Vitality and BDS to be at the bottom right now. So, there's some upsets happening.
BLIX: It feels like just the reverse of the last split. What do you think caused this?
Yike: I'm not really sure. It's kind of weird because I don't think the meta has changed that much. So it feels really weird seeing the top teams like BDS and Vitality go to the bottom right now. Maybe it's just internal stuff with the team, you know, how they work together. Maybe the synergies are getting off or something. Not sure.
BLIX: Speaking of internal stuff, how is the atmosphere for you guys? You're going into the studio, they're cheering for you, you're high-fiving people out of the field.
Yike: Yeah, I think it's really great for us. We almost never had any bad weeks or anything. The synergy between me and the other players and the staff is really, really good. So every day just feels amazing with the team, and I think that's making us play so good as well.
BLIX: So the roster is connected both in and out of the game?
BLIX: That's just very good to see. And it's led you to this position where you will actually be able to very easily start on top of playoffs. How do you think that will go for you? Do you think it'll go as good as the Bo1’s did?
Yike: Yeah, I would say so. I would expect that. I think we look really good right now, so I'm really excited and confident, I would say, for the Bo3’s and hopefully the Bo5’s later on. I think it would be kind of similar to Bo1’s.
BLIX: It’s very good to hear you say Bo5’s, because no other player dares to go even one step further, and you're already thinking about finals. That's very nice.
Yike: Yeah, of course.
Meta, Dylan Falco and Caps’ Neeko
BLIX: I want to talk about the meta because the playoffs will be played on a new patch and not the current one. How do you think that meta will be for you?
Yike: I think it's going to be very interesting because they nerf a lot of the meta champions right now. For the supports, they nerf Milio, they nerf Yuumi, they nerf Vi, they nerf Wukong. So there's a lot of meta champions getting nerfed, so there’s a lot of meta champions getting nerfed. So it's going to be interesting to see what happens in scrims and all. And I mean, hopefully, as change happens, because I don't really like when the game is played the exact same way for months. And I think it's good when changes come.
BLIX: Definitely. I mean, we've seen Zeri-Yuumi, Aphelios-Lulu for a very, very long time…
Yike: Yeah, exactly.
BLIX: …even in international tournaments. And now we're seeing different patches, and we're seeing G2 play very different stuff because you guys have that flexibility. How does that feel for you?
Yike: I think it's good because both me and my whole team, we all have a big champion pool, I would say. We know what we want to play and we're confident on what we want to play. So drafting for us is kind of easy, you know? We know what we want to play, and we have a lot of champs, so there's a lot of possibilities.
BLIX: So Dylan [Falco] has the easiest job in LEC?
Yike: Yeah, I think it's also the hardest because there's even more possibilities than what other teams have. So there's even more things he can come up with, so it's a lot of thinking, you know?
BLIX: That is a very nice perspective and a very good answer. I also want to ask about Caps' Neeko. I have to, especially because we saw it in this match and because he plays it a lot, and he plays it in a way that's very trickster, I want to say. How does it synergize with the rest of the team?
Yike: Yeah, I think he plays it in, as you said, in that trickster way, I think it really suits him, actually. It's a Caps champion. So, if it's good when we get it, because I know he's going to play very well with it, and I know he has his tricks he can do, so it's very fun to play with a Neeko.
BLIX: It's very fun to watch as well, especially the helicopter Neeko.
Yike: Haha, true.
LEC versus East, an unending battle
BLIX: Do you have anything that you would want improved in the league and the team? Anything that could be improved in your opinion?
Yike: I'm not sure actually. I mean, people have been saying how the West is not tryharding as much as the East, for example. So, it's hard for me to compare because I've only been playing for half a year here in the highest league.
So, I can't really compare, but that's what I've heard. So, I don't know how much the other teams try hard, but if the games are very easy for us, it doesn't really feel good as well, because it also just means that the other teams might not be that good. And of course, I want Europe to be good. I want us to play and get good results in MSI and Worlds.
BLIX: Yeah, if you’re playing for G2, a team that has won MSI in 2019, it's very reasonable to have such expectations. You've been in international matches before. You've been at MSI. How was that experience for you in terms of what you just said, with comparing the Asian teams to European teams?
Yike: Yeah, the MSI this year was my first international experience, and I was actually very nervous because I knew I was going to play against the best junglers in the world. So I was nervous, but I was also really hyped because I'm playing with the best players. And overall, the whole experience was really amazing for me. I think I learned a lot, and I think I played decently versus those teams.
So it also gives me a view of how we can go up against these teams. And they don't really seem unbeatable, impossible to beat. I feel like they're really beatable, and that's what makes me and I think our team has even more drive to want to succeed. You know, we want to go as far as possible.
BLIX: That is both very inspiring and very good to hear. You've got that dog in you, the whole team.
Yike: Of course!
BLIX: Do you think your performance and G2's performance at MSI was a preview to Worlds, or do you think there will be big changes by the time Worlds comes?
Yike: I think at MSI, we played fine. I don't think we played that well. I think we could have played much better. So, if we go to Worlds, of course, I'm expecting that we will have improved a lot, and I think it's gonna be different from MSI, and I think we're gonna play, for sure, much better.
BLIX: It’ll be very exciting to see you there. And I have more questions, but we're approaching the end of our time, so I just want to ask if you have any messages to fans out there who are very happy now that you've locked in that top two spot in the league.
Yike: I'm so thankful for all the fans, the fans in the crowd cheering for us every time we play, and the fans online typing to the team, talking to me as well. I really appreciate everyone who's supporting us. It feels amazing because, from the other years I played, I haven't gotten this much support, so I'm just really grateful.