2020 Worlds Knockout Preview Pt. 4: Gen.G v. G2

Intro

Despite both organizations having consistent history at the world championship, G2 and Gen.G had polar-opposite 2018s, and 2019s. G2 came with a surprisingly-good performance in the 2018 championship, starting within one or two games of elimination in play-ins, but eventually ending in the semifinals with a loss to IG. Gen.G were favored in their group, alongside RNG, but got demolished by all three teams, including the group’s underdog, Vitality, ending after just six games. Next year, G2 came into the season revved up and ready to go, with Caps now owning the mid lane. And after a somewhat-rocky spring, they made it all the way to the world finals in October. Gen.G meanwhile was still in the midst of a hangover, after losing a majority of their players, sans Ruler, not even making it to worlds. So coming in to this year, G2 was yet-again expected to be a strong contender, while question marks hovered around Gen.G.

But still, their 2020s were relatively-similar. After some smart offseason gains, Gen.G made it back to the top of the LCK, challenging the likes of Damwon more than any other team was able to. And as expected, G2 managed to win both spring and summer once again. Both teams showed strong performances at all positions, a decent amount of flexibility, and an ability to take games off of almost anyone. And this continued to the world stage, where Gen.G snatched the first seed in the supposed closest group, and G2 barely missed out on the first seed, losing to Suning a disappointing twice. For all of these reasons, and more, many expect this to be the closest quarterfinal matchup, but will that really be true?

Overall Matchup

On the surface, Gen.G look incredibly one-dimensional. It’s almost inarguable that Ruler is the best ADC in the world, and as a result, they play around him. His damage percent, and gold percent both show this, as do almost all of the enemy bans. Kalista has been banned against them every game thus far, whereas outside of Gen.G, the pick is relatively uncontested. Ruler also sports the highest kill participation on the team, and I can’t think of another team in league history with that statistic. Most of the time, the jungle, support, or even mid takes that role, but because of their heavy bot focus, Ruler is almost always around the action.

This style is great when it works, but also requires them to tame early aggression, and this can be seen from their early game stats. Only 33% of the first bloods are theirs, giving away four out of six. Their gold graph doesn’t spike until around 16 minutes, gaining a majority of their early leads through farm, and smart objective control. Which is why they take 67% of dragons, 75% of heralds, and 90% of their barons. They don’t like giving things up, but instead of fighting for them, they use smart rotations. They play with a similar macro to Damwon, only without the constant aggression from Canyon and Nuguri.

G2 is almost the exact opposite. Much like Fnatic, they rely on their support and jungle to roam around the map and find advantageous fights. This can be seen in their kill participation, with Jankos’ being around 76%; a pretty damn good score. They find most of their gold through kills, as despite having an overall CS deficit at 15, they’re still at over a 1000 gold advantage. Their objective control is also lacking, only claiming half of the barons, and less than half of the dragons. And no matter how well you teamfight, if you give up these early objectives, it becomes very hard to control the rest of the game.

When it comes to lanes to play around, G2 opts for mid. Caps has continued to play out of his mind, and thus, a lot of the attention goes to him. He has the highest damage percentage on the team, the second highest kill participation, and is just barely under Perkz in terms of gold. With the exception of a single Galio game, the man likes his carries, even playing Ekko twice in the group stage. Almost every win for G2, in some aspect, comes from a mid-lane lead. If Caps doesn’t get ahead, it’s hard for them to make up for that elsewhere, even with great players at every other position.

When mentioning champion pools, that’s the biggest advantage for G2. Gen.G have only played 20 unique champions, where G2 have played 27. The only position that’s even tied in unique champions is the jungle, where both have played four. If Gen.G refuses to pull out new picks, specifically in the top lane, where Rascal is relying on Volibear and Ornn, it could be easy for G2 to abuse that with their numerous flexible drafts. And this is, like the rest of the tournament, arguably the most important part of the whole game. The only teams I’ve seen make up draft gaps consistently, are Damwon and TES, which are the two favorites. So if Gen.G is looking to win this series, they might have pull a few new cards.

Important Questions

Will Sett be played?

Sett is one of the most picked and banned champions in the tournament so far, because he can theoretically be played in four of the five roles. Mikyx specifically has an outstanding Sett. So, I expect him to hit the ban table pretty often. However, if he doesn’t, he’s a potential first pick.

Who gets Kalista?

As mentioned, Kalista is the most banned champion against Gen.G. But at the same time, Perkz has been well-known for the pick as well. It’s one of the few champions that allows him to have a strong early presence along Mikyx. So unless a new counterpick is in the works for her, she is going to be almost a guaranteed won lane.

Can Bdd neutralize Caps?

Caps is touted as the world’s third-best mid-laner, outside of Knight and Chovy. The only other person around him is Showmaker, Damwon’s mid. But Bdd is no mechanical slouch. With his very controlled, farm-heavy playstyle, Bdd could even win the matchup if they can wrangle Caps into the lane for a long time. Without his roaming and skirmishing, the games will look a lot different.

Where will Life go?

Because of Ruler’s fantastic carry performances, support Life focuses heavily on champions like Taric in certain instances. There are several enchanters, and more, that he can play to buff up his laner. But this meta is heavily-reliant on roaming supports, and with the exception of the FNC v. TES series, the better supports almost always wins. Life will either need to swap his preferred role, or play out of his mind while supporting Ruler if he wants to have any impact.

My Expectation

As much as I’m worried about G2’s objective control and aggression, I’m worried about Gen.G’s draft. Outside of Ruler, their laners aren’t quite as flexible. Meanwhile, G2 can carry from almost anywhere. I think Gen.G’s macro has been much better than G2’s, but so far, the draft has meant much more in these Bo5’s. As a result, I think G2 has a significant edge, and despite dropping a game or two to Ruler’s performance, will win in the end. I’m predicting a 3-1 for G2.

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