Jankos explains his ‘older brother’ role on G2, how 2022 roster has higher peak than previous year’s lineup

A high bar was set from the get-go for the LEC champions.

Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports might have had a year-long absence away from the European League of Legends throne, but the organization returned from its impromptu vacation in 2021 to capture its record-setting ninth LEC championship earlier this month. 

Expectations weren’t nearly as high for G2 as in past seasons after the loss of multiple veteran stars during the offseason. Wunder and Mikyx used to be essential members of the organization, while Rekkles was supposed to be the X-factor legend to push them to new heights. After failing to win a single trophy in 2021, however, the team finally let go of its iconic roster and rebuilt with three new players. With two members coming out of the ERLs, a new top laner, and two veterans coming off of a slump year, predictions were tame out of the gate.

But for veteran jungler Jankos, winning the league was exactly what G2 forecasted because of three keys to the split. The team started up scrims and practice earlier than other teams, found the right formula between players and staff, and had a much-needed wake-up call against rivals Fnatic.

Photo via Riot Games

After a dominant sweep against Rogue last weekend, Jankos was exhausted. He wasn’t sure whether it was happiness or relief that he was feeling more, but he was nonetheless pleased he proved he hadn’t peaked in 2016, 2019, or 2020—contrary to the opinions he had seen among the League community. The triumphant return of the kings of Europe didn’t come without hard work, though.

The 26-year-old told Dot Esports that G2 started scrims with their new members last November while Worlds was still taking place. Afterward, they were one of the first teams to return to Europe and round up their players from the break to continue practicing. This jumpstart on the season was important for the team to find a perfect mix of players that work well with each other on and off Summoner’s Rift while maintaining a coaching staff that meshed with the roster.

Jankos said the synergy between him and his teammates came naturally and that he took on a more serious “older brother” role within the team. Broken Blade, Caps, and Flakked joke around a lot, for example, and if some of the players are laughing too much during reviews or meetings, Jankos will scold them to make sure they’re focused on the moment. Overall, however, he’s thankful everyone gets along well and they “don’t have to force being friends.”

“I feel like even though me, Caps, and BB [might have] had more success in the past [compared to] Flakked and Targamas, we don’t really have high egos,” Jankos said. “We don’t think of ourselves as gods. We don’t think that we have to be right. We listen to Targamas, we listen to Flakked, and we trust them completely that they have a better idea [on] how to play the game than we do. It’s a team effort and a lot of ideas come from the five of us and the coaching staff, not only from a single player.”

Photo via Riot Games

The roster overcame significant challenges together during the split, like when the team caught COVID at the start of the year or when G2 dropped their first playoff series against Fnatic. Jankos explained their poor performance by saying that after the three-week break between the regular season and playoffs, G2 came out of the starting gate colder than ever before.

Their read on the meta was poor and their drafts and subsequent play reflected this. The squad put Caps on non-playmaking champions like Lissandra and Karma while giving Jankos a handful of unsuccessful Lee Sin picks. The lackluster drafts led to a lack of confidence in-game across all five players and ended in an unceremonious 3-1 series loss.

In their second meeting with Fnatic in the lower bracket, however, G2 adjusted and gave Caps a deadly Ahri pick in two of the three games, while Jankos had a much better time on Jarvan IV and Volibear. They also banned some of Fnatic’s best champions, like Upset’s Zeri and Humanoid’s LeBlanc. The former had 12 kills and 12 assists in the first series, and the latter had 18 kills and 17 assists.

By pinching Fnatic’s champion pool, picking other champions, and forcing their opponents onto weaker picks, G2 came into each game with an advantage—and this draft difference was reflected in their gameplay. Caps turned into a playmaking machine with multiple flashy plays, 18 kills, and 22 assists. Jankos had a team-leading 80-percent kill participation percentage, according to Oracle’s Elixir. He out-jungled Razork, who finished with an uninspiring 2.6 KDA. After three games, the tables were firmly turned on Fnatic from the first minute through G2’s improved drafting strategies and Fnatic failed to adjust in time.

Related: G2 advance to LEC Spring Finals after kicking Fnatic out of the competition

This playoff format was praised by Jankos. In the past, they would have already been sent home wondering what could have been. Instead, Jankos says the double-elimination style “allows you to make mistakes, realize that you are reading the meta wrong, and actually adapt and still prove yourself as a team.”

Photo via Riot Games

Even though they were a relatively new squad, G2’s own expectations for the season were set at the top of the mountain right off the bat. This is because Jankos said the team performed well in scrims against international squads and all the teams from Europe throughout the Spring Split. The success they found away from the stage gave G2 confidence in their potential to become contenders regionally and beyond.

“I just think you need five players that are willing to play everything, [and] are working well together,” Jankos said. “Even if you have disagreements, it doesn’t actually matter if they are productive. As long as people can take criticism, it’s all about the team really. Maybe back in the day, like 10 years ago when I still played, it was different. You could be insane individually and you could carry the team. It’s not like that anymore.”

Heading into the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational, Jankos is also holding this new roster to a high standard, especially after G2’s disappointing run through last year. He said both the 2021 and 2022 rosters gave 100 percent of their effort, but he also believes “the peak of this G2 is higher than last year’s G2.”

With less than a month left until the start of MSI, G2 have plenty of time to prepare for the best teams the world has to offer, including Korea’s undefeated juggernaut, T1. If G2 want to have a chance to cross off one of the best teams we’ve seen this year, they’ll need to find an even higher gear to shift into when the tournament begins on May 10.