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A disastrous macro play from G2 Esports in their first game of the MSI 2019 semifinals against LCK champions SK Telecom T1 couldn’t be saved by some inventive play in the top lane.
After having a 2-0 record against SKT in the group stage, G2’s creativity had them coming into the series with a strong chance to take the win. The creativity started in the draft phase as Rasmus “Caps” Winther picked up Morgana and Sona/Taric were locked in for Luka “Perkz” and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle.
While this was the ideal team composition for G2, they’d have no chance to flex their creative muscles if they didn’t have the strategic brains to last until the mid game where their champions started to come online. Since SKT had an early game focused composition, G2 needed to not yield ground by the acre and inflict enough damage to SKT so they couldn’t cement their lead.
The crucial moment in the first game was after Kim “Clid” Tae-min ensured that all of G2 was locked into their constituent lanes, he took the Rift Herald and then went to the top lane. He spawned the Herald on a G2 ward, and the European team’s response was correct—to move to the bottom lane and attempt to trade turrets. But in the moment they were unable to adapt as Park “Teddy” Jin-seong’s Trueshot Barrage cleared the wave and trapped G2 at the bot lane tower. They’d committed too much and the sunk cost fallacy meant that they hung around while SKT destroyed all three top lane turrets and exposed an inhibitor.
A few minutes later, Martin “Wunder” Hansen made a clever play by freely yielding the inhibitor to a wave of minions shoving. While this seems counterintuitive, by Wunder’s Irelia remaining in his base and farming the minions coming in at such an early stage of the game, it starved Kim “Khan” Dong-ha’s Kennen of minions and subsequently eliminated the gold lead that Khan had built up over Wunder. This strategy further linked to their goal of surviving to the late game. But it wasn’t enough as SKT found the teamfight they wanted and ended the game to pick up a 1-0 lead.
While G2 have established a reputation for craftiness when it comes to League of Legends, the first game of this series showed that the LEC champions can get ahead of themselves. They need to be able to put in the work to set themselves up for when their champions can start to shine.
It’s unclear if this is the beginning of the wheels falling off for G2, but they’ve already continued their inventive drafts by locking in Draven for game two of the series.