When G2 won BLAST Premier World Finals 2022 and IEM Katowice 2023 back to back, most of us assumed they’d be the team to beat for the year. But it hasn’t panned out that way.
After months of middling results, G2 seemed a long way away from the squad that had seemed unbeatable earlier in the year. As a result, many fans and experts were surprised when G2 were one of only a handful of teams to not make changes over the recent off-season.
Despite a shaky start to the new season at BLAST Premier Fall Groups, it now seems to have paid off for the international outfit, as their unbeaten record at IEM Cologne thus far sees them already through to the semi finals in the LANXESS arena.
We talked to Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen about G2’s run so far, their new mental coach, and the mentality behind the team.
Sebastian "Horizzon" Lalic, BLIX: You guys have been hot this event, especially compared to the last few months. Did you guys expect to come into form the way you did or has it been a positive surprise?
HooXi: Honestly, it was more hope than expectation, because we didn't do so well at BLAST, but we all knew before the break we needed time off. We all believed that the break would give us stability, and yeah we expected more from ourselves at BLAST even if we weren't going all in to win it. As I said, it was more hope than an expectation.
BLIX: About expectations and the mental game, you guys had Mind Body Esports as your mental health coach for a while. It felt like he was a big part of your form earlier this year, was him leaving a specific decision?
HooXi: You'd have to ask somebody from G2.
BLIX: Did you guys get someone else on site?
HooXi: Yeah, we have a guy with us named Luka. First event working with him, so far he has a 100% win rate! [laughs]
BLIX: Is he part of your "people have to talk more when they're dead" push?
HooXi: No, the in-game stuff is always led by us. He is more about bringing the energy and making sure we have a consistent level of energy that's not too crazy but still not too low. That's what we've been focusing on so far. We haven't had time to work too much with him, so one thing at a time.
BLIX: Your coach Jan "Swani" Müller came in with relatively little tier one experience, now you've been with him for a while how has his development been?
HooXi: He had a lot of tier one experience as an Assistant Coach, but as a Main Coach of course it's not so much about tier one, but more about the role swap in general. As an Assistant Coach, you're more in the background, you can be friends with everyone with no problem, but as a coach, sometimes you have to be the bad guy and call people out. I think he's still trying to develop his personality because he is really the kind of guy that likes to be friends with everyone, it's not in his nature to get mad at anyone or something like that, but sometimes it's needed and he's still developing that skill I would say.
BLIX: For you is that something you find really useful for him to be able to do that? is it something you struggle with yourself?
HooXi: I wouldn't say I struggle with it, but my teammates probably struggle with it. [laughs] I can easily be too harsh and then it's just nice to not always be the bad guy. That's why you need a coach.