Podcast video topics and time stamps:
4:36 - How G2 is preparing for Worlds mentally
10:24 - Weldon on the rules of smack talk
21:20 - G2 and their chances in the Group of Death
25:33 - Does home field advantage exist?
29:14 - The dark side of regional cooperation
34:41 - Athletes and in-game personas
44:50 - Weldon's harsh take on Fnatic
56:29 - Worlds meta discussion
G2 Esports are going into Group C of the 2017 LoL World Championship with something to prove. Despite their dominance in the EU LCS, the Kings of Europe failed to make it out of groups at last year's Worlds and also suffered a poor showing at Rift Rivals.
Now, seeded into the Group of Death with Royal Never Give Up, Samsung Galaxy and Fenerbahçe Esports, G2's performance coach Weldon Green told theScore esports Podcast that the players aren't intimidated by the specter of last year's failure.
"For a player, you have to understand this is a tournament that has a single winner. And the best team wins period. And it's single-elimination. It's not a ranking thing, it's not a power-ranking tournament, it's not a stick measuring contest," Green said.
"It's a winner takes all single victor, single elimination tournament ... And players by and large don't give a crap where they lose. And if they do give a crap where they lose, then they're first of all going in with the wrong mindset. And secondly it's not gonna matter four years down the road."
An experienced psychological trainer in the League scene who's previously worked with Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming, Green also spoke about some of the psychological factors affecting players at Worlds, including trash talk.
"I mean, there's basic rules. Number one, do real smack talk. That means don't be the big guy going after the little guy," he said. "Don't say things where you don't put your chip in. The people you're smacking to, right? They have to put their chips on the table so you have to put your chips on the table too. You gotta risk something, or else it's not really smack talk."
Additionally, Green warned not to underestimate the impact home field advantage can have on players in a major international event, even when it comes to esports.
"Oh yeah of course. Absolutely," he replied when asked whether the phenomenon exists. "Absolutely. I mean, it's well-proven in multiple different sports that the home field advantage exists, so why wouldn't it apply also in esport?"
More than just the advantages offered by being in an arena filled with your supporters in your homeland, Green also warned the Chinese orgs are playing for keeps this year, with many teams sharing a training facility.
"You don't think the Chinese teams, who are so motivated that they're bootcamping together in a single facility and all of their ex-pros who didn't make Worlds are all there position coaching them and that they're spending more money than ever before and that they're gonna go on stage and are not suppressing their egos more now than they've ever suppressed before in order to function as a group together—or more willing to take one for the team—so that they can win for their nation?" he said. "I'm pretty sure you can see how home field advantage works [here]."
Green also weighed in on group predictions, saying that while his heart as a fan is set on a G2 vs. TSM Grand Final, he's not holding his breath. However, one team he's quite confident won't make it to the bracket stage are G2's EU rivals Fnatic, who he accuses of cheesing their way through the EU LCS Summer Season.
"I didn't see Fnatic doing well in the regular season, I saw them finding a composition that worked and then just playing that exclusively and not try anything else," he said. "That doesn't mean you know how to play League of Legends, that just means you know how to play cheese. It's not the same game."
On whether or not Fnatic will be able to adopt new strategies at Worlds, Green had a simple litmus test.
"If you find a team that plays in that way, the first question you have to ask yourself is, 'Do they believe that they can actually win playing real League of Legends?'" he said.
"And if the answer is no, then what chance do they have? If they don't even believe themselves so much that they can play on par with the best teams in the world, that they therefore are looking for a shortcut to beating them, or like a cheesy way of winning, then you have the answer right there to their fate."
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.