Recently G2 Esports added young prodigy m0NESY to the squad and looked to make an impact at IEM Katowice in their first big tournament together. We take a look at how they are doing, where they go from here, and what NiKo thinks about the pressure of competing with a new roster.
G2 Esports came into 2022 looking like a brand new team, having exchanged François "AMANEK" Delaunay and Nemanja "nexa" Isaković for the 16-year-old AWPing prodigy Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov and Finnish IGL Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen. They had a strong debut in the BLAST Spring Groups, qualifying for the Spring Finals despite a slip against Team Vitality. With even more time and experience under Aleksib's system, G2 were a clear trophy contender leading into Katowice.
Despite extreme expectations placed upon himself and this new roster at Katowice, star rifler Nikola “NiKo” Kovač seems more concerned with the long-term success of the team:
NiKo: Even though we have high expectations from the community, we are taking it very - I wouldn't say easy - but we don't want to expect too much from ourselves. We almost rebranded the whole team with a new IGL, coach, and AWPer so the team is literally new. Obviously for this event, I think it would be disappointing to not go to the playoffs, but it is our first LAN together. We have no idea how we will fit together playing on LAN, how we will communicate on LAN - there is many factors. The pressure should not affect us, at least for this event, as it is the first event, even if it is a big one, we are still very aware it could go wrong, or it could go really well.
G2 Esport's opening round opponents would be Fnatic, who battled through the play-ins with wins over Wisla Krakow and BIG. The first map would be exactly what G2 had hoped for: a 16-2 stomping with both NiKo and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač fingertips away from a 2.0 impact rating. Disaster struck on Mirage, the series' second map. There, G2 would crumble in their entirety and Fnatic would take a 16-7 victory with Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson performing even better than NiKo and huNter- had. The third map, although much more competitive, would have a similar outcome: Fnatic winning 16-11, and G2 leaving the server with their heads hung.
Staring down the barrel of an early elimination, G2 Esports will have to defeat Team Liquid to survive in the tournament. Liquid fell to the lower bracket after a 2-1 defeat to FaZe Clan, and are certainly feeling the same pressure as the G2 squad. G2 beat Liquid in both of their outings in 2021, but with drastically different rosters on either side, the outcome of this match remains unforeseeable.