In a post-patch 8.11 world, League of Legends players have either adapted or found themselves woefully behind, substituted for other players. One adaptation success story is that of Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski who currently boasts the highest KDA in the European League of Legends Championship Series. We had the chance to catch up with the G2 Esports jungler prior to the 2018 NA-EU Rift Rivals Finals to talk about the new meta and G2’s success.
G2 Esports is undefeated [note: this was before their loss in the finals to Echo Fox] not only at Rift Rivals, but back home in Europe. What has made G2 so successful lately?
I just think the meta. We are really creative players and the meta is like about creativeness, you know. It’s not about solo playing or one guy picking Tristana and getting pentas all over our team. It’s more about us playing as five and just being good. The meta is better but we’re also playing better and trying hard to improve. I think that the meta is way better for Misfits as well so I’m excited to face them back home.
This meta really requires players to be an interesting balance of selfish in that they want to win and possibly look better in an off-role position than someone who regularly plays that role, but also selfless because they’re often switching roles or playing champions that they may not be used to. You are one of those players who has embraced swapping and has performed really well, seeming to pick it up right away. How difficult was the transition?
I feel like the game is just about game knowledge. So if a jungler has enough game knowledge when he learns the champion he can actually play it. When we play super, like super Kai’sa/Tahm Kench I know what to do on the map. So even if my laning phase is not good and I’m playing bot lane or sometimes I make a mistake on Braum, still my knowledge of the game is high and I know that if we believe that the strategy will work out, we are willing to sacrifice. We are willing to sacrifice not playing our comfort stuff and just trying to learn something new. I think our super strat is pretty good and is working pretty well so far against any team we’ve played against, even against Echo Fox when they tried to dominate us early game it didn’t work out that well even though they were ahead at some points. I think we will keep playing it and see if other teams can adapt to us.
Do you think it’s just that you’ve adapted to the super or funnel strategy well enough that you can play it against any style, or do you think you will have to come up with different styles to beat certain teams? Is it more about internally, what G2 is good at, or externally countering what teams play against you?
I think we are doing a little bit of both. We as a team can play any style. We are not limited in draft, you know? If we played only the super strat we would be really limited and after two or three bans we wouldn’t have a good champ pool to actually play the game. We also try to play early game or around top or bot with normal picks. Even though we don’t pick ADs as much, we can still play them if it’s necessary to play them. In this meta the last thing you should do is limit yourself to one playstyle because if the team can adapt and learn a couple of playstyles a team that can only play one style will lose the game because they will get out-drafted or out-macroed. So I’m really happy that we are open-minded and even though we were really close to giving up on some of our strategies because it was just not working, we pushed on and right now we are one of the decent teams.
Coming to this tournament a lot of teams have approached it differently. Fnatic have come out and said that they want to use this as a test run for future international events. Echo Fox and 100Thieves tried out new lineups. What do you and G2 want to get out of this event?
We just want to learn. We are here to win and we are here to show that Europe is the superior region for sure, but we are also here to learn from NA teams and come back stronger to the EU LCS. In the big picture it’s all about Europe and all about winning the split. Last split we got crushed by Fnatic and we want to show them that we are better. And not only is Fnatic a good team right now but also Misfits, they stepped up a lot and they are really strong contenders for first place. So we just want to learn from Team Liquid especially, from 100Thieves, from everyone and come back to Europe stronger, but also, if we can, we want to beat you! (laughs)