It’s a great day for European League of Legends fans. Both G2 Esports and Team Vitality showed their best today against top teams from the LCK: Afreeca Freecs and Gen.G. G2 Esports carefully manipulated sidewaves to victory against Afreeca, after being allowed to pick Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss’s signature Heimerdinger. The pick was notably banned in every game against G2 during the Play-In stage.
We were graced with the opportunity to speak to the Heimerdinger aficionado himself — Hjarnan, — about the Heimer pick, their match against the Freecs, and Group A.
I really want to start with this… a team finally didn’t ban Heimerdinger. What was the team reaction like?
Firstly, it was like “we’ve got [Heimerdinger]!” but our coach had a draft in mind. He was thinking about other stuff because he assumed [Heimerdinger] would get banned. We had to think about playing Heimerdinger or sticking to our game plan, but we decided “Fu** it, we’ve had so much success with [Heimerdinger]” and went with it. It worked out, I guess. (laughs)
It seems like you guys mainly won with a bunch of side lane pressure. What was the communication like?
Mid-game, we had Syndra mid with Gragas and Rakan around him, clearing waves 3v3 as I just pushed. We really wanted to control the Nashor area so we just kept pushing in top, rotating mid to place pinks and clear wards. We also wanted Wunder to keep split-pushing against Sion since eventually, he’ll just out-scale him and win the game. We knew that we could just farm side lanes and play slower than usual… Usually we try to get turrets earlier and do Nashor with Heimerdinger.
But this game, I felt like we could take it slower because we had more win conditions than just taking Nashor and sieging them in. They had a Kai’Sa and definitely had stronger late game for sure. Against Heimer, Syndra, Rakan, Gragas, there are too many threats. He can’t really jump in and be on this super massive carry because he has so many threats to watch out for. We knew that if we played calm, we would win by split-pushing.
You guys were able to beat Afreeca, the strongest team in your group. It’s a really important win for your quarterfinal hopes. How confident is G2 now?
Our confidence going into this started off at the gauntlet… We had a really poor Summer Split and playoffs. After that we had 10 days off to reset for the gauntlet. We had momentum from the gauntlet because we were pretty much winning ever since. We pretty much won everything we could, including play-ins.
I wouldn’t say we are really super good yet, but I think we have more confidence than we did during the split. As a team right now, we are playing better together. Our decisions in game are much better.
The other big team to look out for in your group is Flash Wolves. They are notoriously bot lane focused so what do you think of the matchup?
I think Afreeca was playing more around bot lane than Flash Wolves will do. Everytime I checked the minimap, there were three pinks in my lane and Taliyah was camping the brush 24/7 so I could never pressure. If they play like this too with Flash Wolves, we just have to focus on mid-jungle control and sweep the bot side vision to get all control back.We just have to play more as a team to succeed and give up some farm to regain pressure later.
Korean teams and all these teams at worlds play really well around jungle and bot. Afreeca had Taliyah and Alistar which is a really good lane to kill people with. They just gank you and one combo means that you get one kill. I think Flash Wolves will probably easier for us to play against bot… We just have to be really safe.
There has been a lot of discourse online regarding your performances at the World Championship so far, some of it unfair… What do you think of that and what do you want to say to those people?
For sure, a lot of people have been criticizing how I play, but I have always been playing this way. I play a lot with the team and pretty much just think of things like, if I want to 2v2 and don’t know where the jungler is, I won’t do it. I would rather just be passive in lane and get a lead elsewhere to get advantages with my team together. It’s more safe and you can improve better as a team that way.
People always have their own opinions and I can’t change how they think about me. On the broadcast, I just think they bring it up so often and say “The top side is strong and the bot lane is weak. If bot lane doesn’t int, G2 can win the game.”
When they bring this up on the broadcast so many times, this makes them think that this is true even if they don’t watch the games. They just think we are bad and follow the broadcasts because they think they’re correct. The people come into my twitter and say “you fu***** suck bro” and I’m like, yeah okay. It’s just how it is, I can’t do anything about it.
Lastly, what is the goal of G2 and your overall personal goal?
Every single pro player that plays league of legends has the goal to be at Worlds. It’s a big personal goal for sure. I’m sure that we all want to win and go as far as possible and play every game as well as we can.
Photo: Riot Games