Entering its third-ever LCS split as two-time defending champions, there’s plenty of reason for the high expectations surrounding G2 Esports after bringing its 2016 lineup over into 2017. In its first series of the 2017 season Thursday, G2 defeated fellow Group A favorites Fnatic in two games to one in an entertaining series in front of a loud Fnatic-supporting crowd.
In Game 1, Fnatic drafted a hyper-scaling composition led by two Tear of the Goddess users (Ryze and Ezreal) and one super late game tank (Maokai). But even with a strong early game jungler in Lee Sin, it was not enough to deal with G2’s skill early on.
The defending European champions earned First Blood on a clever Trick gank to the mid lane at six minutes. At 11 minutes, G2 turned a Fnatic pick in the mid lane into a 2-for-1 trade thanks to excellent play from Zven’s Ashe, landing an Enchanted Crystal Arrow from across the map and successfully kiting away from the Maokai. G2 turned this into the first tower of the game, building up a 4k gold lead by 20 minutes.
At 24 minutes, G2 picked up the pace, cornering Fnatic in its own jungle for a double kill for Perkz’s Taliyah. G2 picked up an uncontested Baron immediately after and started sieging Fnatic’s base, building a 12k gold lead by 30 minutes. At 42 minutes, G2 closed out the Game 1 win, 11-6.
Fnatic once again picked a heavy scaling composition with Ryze and Ezreal in Game 2, but this time jumped out to an early lead thanks to some excellent outplays by Caps in the mid lane. G2 was able to keep the game in control by using a pick-heavy lineup with Ashe, Syndra and Maokai, but Caps’s Ryze helped carry his team to an eventual victory.
The game remained relatively even for the first 30 minutes, but after Fnatic secured a Baron rush at 32 minutes the game started inching in their favor. G2 still held on strong, however, stopping multiple Fnatic sieges (including one that took both G2 nexus towers) and picking up a few kills.
At 44 minutes, with G2’s nexus still exposed, Fnatic drew G2 out of its base and used Ryze’s ultimate to teleport directly behind them, sneaking into the base and destroying the nexus to take the victory.
Game 3 saw two surprise picks: bot lane Kennen for Fnatic (last seen from Fnatic at Worlds 2015) and Ivern in the jungle for G2 Esports (making its 2017 competitive debut). Trick’s Ivern had its moments (an early kill against Lee Sin, strong control of Baron), but even with both Redemption and Locket of the Iron Solari, G2 still lacked tankiness with the pick. Rekkles’s Kennen went 6/0/1, and Fnatic took a small lead into the mid game.
At 29 minutes, G2 started Baron, turning all of its attention immediately on Caps when Fnatic came to stop it. After killing Caps, G2 successfully took the objective thanks to Ivern’s created brushes, and used the buff to crack open Fnatic’s base by taking the middle and bottom inhibitors.
After an excellent Game 2 on Ryze, Caps struggled in Game 3 as G2 repeatedly targeted his Orianna. He ended up 6/7/9 on the champion after four late kills, but Perkz was able to bring one back with a solo kill in the jungle.
After G2’s next Baron, the defending champions looked able to march into Fnatic’s base and finish off the game. But Fnatic held strong, picking off both Zven and Trick in the base, extending the game until next time G2 showed up. Fnatic still picked up some kills, but G2 destroyed the nexus to take the series.