G2 Esports did not have the campaign they wanted at Worlds 2016, exiting the tournament with an 0-4 record. But while that performance brought about criticism of their play at international events, G2 has since put up a second-place finish at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitation and took a game off SK Telecom T1 in the finals.
In short, the team seems to have found their international stride, but they now face a stacked Group C that features the likes of Samsung Galaxy and Royal Never Give Up. Can G2 Esports, and mid laner Luka "PerkZ" Perković, improve on last year's results?
We caught up with Perkz and asked him about the team's bootcamp, his reaction to the group draw, and how he feels he will stack up against RNG's Xiaohu and SSG's Crown.
How is bootcamp going? What does your typical day look like?
Bootcamp is going great. I feel like I’m improving even more by grinding scrims and solo queue. Our typical day starts with some time in the gym as a team before our first scrim block, then we have a small break before our second block. Outside of these times I’m mostly playing solo queue.
What was your initial reaction to seeing the group you were drawn into?
Even though we have a hard group, I don’t really care so much. Last year we had an easy group, and failed to make it out.
This year we have to prove our worth by getting out of this group, and I’m not aiming for anything less than first seed.
G2 didn’t make it out of groups last year. Are you worried about your performance on the international stage?
I’m not worried at all about our international performance, last year we were just plain bad. This year we are good. The end.
How has your experience at MSI changed the way you think about international performance?
Same as above. Past performance doesn’t matter.
I read this great quote from you where, at MSI, you realized that SKT were mortals, that it was possible to beat them. Having played against Faker, does that mean you aren’t intimidated by the likes of Crown and Xiaohu?
Both Crown and xiaohu are very good players, but I’m sure that at the very least I will be equal in lane.
How are you preparing for the group stage and how does that differ from your usual preparation?
Preparation isn’t much different from usual preparation, it’s more about how you approach the game itself.
There seems to be a popular perception that G2 Esports is EU’s only hope - what sorts of pressures do you feel as a result?
I have no pressure, I give my best for myself and my team and my fans and that's enough for me no matter the results.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is an unabashed EU LoL apologist. You can find him on Twitter.