Before Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2017 began, G2 Esports vs Flash Wolves seemed like it would be the ideal match up. A strong, if almost always underestimated, Flash Wolves going up against a G2 roster that is beginning to get desperate for the chance to redeem themselves on the international stage.
It’s worth noting that these finals were played after a significant technical delay, setting the tournament back almost two full hours. Teams also had to play their best-of-three semi-final matches on Sunday as well, making the IEM Katowice finals a test of endurance as well as skill.
For G2, the IEM journey to this series was a rocky one paved with matches against three of the tournament’s best teams. After a loss to Flash Wolves in their first game, the series against Kongdoo Monsters served as the perfect setting to help them shake some of their international jitters, while their series against Unicorns of Love gave them the chance to show off their EU LCS dominance.
Against the ROX Tigers in the semi-finals, G2 finally looked like the team they were always supposed to be. They didn’t necessarily dominate every minute, but their solid decision making was punctuated by great individual play helping them make it to the finals.
Flash Wolves, on the other hand essentially ran the table on their way to the finals. The only slight catch on their way were a few shaky games against Europe’s H2K in the semi-finals match — a series that included the team’s only loss of the tournament. Perhaps most impressive about Flash Wolves nearly unchallenged run through the tournament was the fact that they never seemed too reliant on any one champion, player or style — an issue that held them back in previous international tournaments.
G2 started the game well, picking up first blood top. However, as the game wore on and Flash Wolves began to group it became quickly apparent that they were going to take the game. After three strong fights in a row -- almost all found off of catching G2 players over-extending alone — Flash Wolves began to fan out across the map pushing two lanes at a time and disappearing before G2 could answer. Apart from their few early missteps, it was a precise and commanding game from Flash Wolves.
The second game was a bigger, faster, carbon copy of the first. G2, took the game’s first three kills before ten minutes and the first tower shortly after. But at 20 minutes Flash Wolves caught G2 trying to force a dragon and took four kills, propelling them into the lead. Where in the first game they used their lead carefully, in game two Flash Wolves took their lead and rushed into G2’s base before they could react. Only seven minutes after their fight at dragon a shell shocked G2 fell to the Flash Wolves.
For G2, this marks the furthest they have made it in an international tournament. Meanwhile this is Flash Wolves first victory in an international tournament since January of 2015 when they won IEM Taipei.