Banner image: Ubisoft / João F. @itsmeERROR
G2 Esports' players have been in a rollercoaster of emotions this year. In February, the European powerhouse became world champions after winning the Six Invitational 2023, a performance followed by a Top 8 finish at the BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen.
However, uncertainty spread around the samurai roster after the team announced the departure of Byron "Blurr" Murray and the arrival of the former Mkers player Luigi "Gemini" Ferrigno.
The team's disappointing bottom finish at Gamers8 2023 was followed by some deep roster changes, starting with Fabian "Fabian" Hällsten's departure on Aug. 18. Only six days later, not even two months after the Italian's first official match for the Europeans, Gemini was benched as Aleksi "UUNO" Työppönen returned to the Berlin-based organization. Last but not least, G2 Esports announced Matheus "Ramalho" Ramalho as the team's new coach.
"So far so good with UUNO and Ramalho, loving teaming with them both. They’re both super easy to get on with in and outside the server. And they fill the gaps that we were missing before perfectly," admitted Jack "Doki" Robertson in a written interview for SiegeGG.
As explained by Ramalho in a SiegeGG interview after the team's win against Heroic, Karl "Alem4o" Zarth played an important part in his move to Europe. The Brazilian's mindset adapted perfectly to G2 Esports' needs, although his working methods are different from the Swed's.
"I’d say compared to Fabian, Ramalho is more strategy focused in comparison to Fabian who focused primarily on teamwork ethic and culture," Doki admitted. "(Ramalho) brings a different approach to the game than what we are used to but it’s great to have another mind behind everything we do," the Scottish added.
Unlike other teams, who had five months to work alongside their new signings, G2 Esports' new members didn't have much time to adapt. That was possibly the case of UUNO, who "struggled a little on some maps to understand fully what we were doing." However, Doki admitted that the Finn is "finding it more enjoyable" right now.
The Scottish also talked about the off-season, giving his insight into the situation lived during summer. "Teams and players can’t survive five months with no competition, meaning no pay," he explained.
"Rainbow Six is my job, my full-time job. I rely on it and so does my close family and loved ones, to think that I could have lost everything I worked 8 years to get, in just one single game, is totally mind-boggling," the G2 Esports player said. "Next year must be better."
G2 Esports' start to the second split was encouraging despite the roster moves, as the squad started with a promising 7-5 victory against Team BDS. One day later, the world champions got a second win as they defeated Heroic.
However, it's not how you start but how you finish. G2 Esports' bright initial win was shadowed by Wolves Esports and MNM Gaming, who beat the samurai with two 7-4 defeats. With those losses, G2 Esports dropped to the Open Qualifiers Playoffs.
"We knew it was all in our hands to qualify for both events so we weren't disheartened at all," Doki explained. "We were playing with a lot of pressure but to be honest I think everyone was just excited to play more games," he admitted.
G2 Esports made their way into the European Last Chance Qualifier after four back-to-back BO3 victories, including a 2-1 win against Team Secret. When asked about the quality of the T2 teams in Europe, Dokki was clear.
"I don’t think Tier 2 teams in any region right now are very good, with some small exceptions. It’s not because of the lack of talent, it’s because the system isn’t rewarding for young players and teams to put in a lot of effort to grind the game, like I did when I was in the tier 2 scene. Hopefully that changes soon."
After grabbing the first seed of the Open Qualifier, the Europeans played against Dunlimited in the LCQ quarterfinals. An easy 2-0 victory against the Russians was followed by the team's second game of the split against MNM Gaming.
As the world champions redeemed themselves with a 2-0 victory against the marshmallows, G2 Esports qualified for Atlanta after running over ITB.
G2 Esports' group in Atlanta includes DarkZero Esports, FURY, and Knights. To qualify for Phase 2, the Europeans must finish between the best two rosters in Group C.
"I don’t watch so much into other regions' Siege anymore. I guess they’re good but we aren't coming to the major to beat all the bad teams, we need to beat every team. So with that said I don’t really care, we’re better. I know that and so do my team, and so do the enemy probably, or they should at least. If they come for the kings, they better not miss," Doki concluded.
As the world champions have already been confirmed in the Six Invitational 2024, their minds are now only focused on the BLAST R6 Major Atlanta. Will the Europeans lift the trophy under the North American lights?
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