The showdown for League of Legends Western supremacy resulted in G2 Esports dominating Team Liquid in a 3-0 game sweep at the 2019 MSI Finals. After beating SKT and TL in the playoffs, the European LEC now holds the edge over the LCS and the rest of the globe until the 2019 World Championship.
G2 Esports set the pace early on in game 1, capitalizing on almost every gank by jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski. In the first 11 minutes of the game, Jankos had secured four successful ganks, totaling seven kills across the map. Particular focus was spent on the bot lane of Team Liquid, where TL’s Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in died three times in this span. Although Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng was safe because of CoreJJ’s Tahm Kench support pick, this didn’t stop G2 from converting kills in the bot lane.
Despite the fact that Team Liquid was able to gain two kills of their own in the following minutes, G2’s solid early game was enough to earn the team a near 7,000 gold lead, their largest of the tournament at 15 minutes. On the backs of G2’s Jankos and support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, the LEC representatives continued to snowball. Because of their massive gold lead, G2 was free to dive under towers with initiations from Jankos’ Jarvan and Mikyx’s Rakan. Team Liquid’s gold deficit was clear, as they couldn’t gain any additional kills throughout the rest of the game. Following a 20-minute Baron kill by G2, the team quickly closed out the game just before the 25-minute mark.
Mikyx and Jankos were dominant forces in game 1, participating in 20 and 19 of the team’s overall 22 kills respectively. Game 1 of the MSI Finals clearly displayed G2’s ability to snowball their leads and close out games. There were nearly no glimmers of hope for Team Liquid in game 1. For the rest of the series, it was obvious TL had to adjust their game plan in order to ensure G2 didn’t rack up another massive early-game advantage.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) May 19, 2019
After a dominating presence ganking the bottom lane in game 1, Jankos opened the second game of the series with a successful gank to the lane in game 2, securing his second first blood of the match. This game, however, Team Liquid came prepared to fight. At only the five-minute mark, TL and G2 traded kills in a 3v4 fight in the mid lane, with mid lane players Rasmus “Caps” Winther of G2 and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen of TL securing kills of their own. The game wouldn’t see another kill until 12 minutes into the match.
Following a successful tower dive by G2 in which both Doublelift and CoreJJ were killed, Team Liquid answered back. Jensen on Akali and Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong on Kennen roamed to the lane, and Impact was able to secure two kills at the tower in response. Over the next eight minutes, each team would only secure one kill for itself. At this point in the game, Team Liquid had scratched out a 1,000-gold lead and was in a much better place to fight than in game 1.
At 21 minutes into the game, one team fight pushed the lead back into G2’s favor. Mikyx secured a kill onto Impact with a great Thresh hook, but TL fought back. The fight resulted in a two-for-one trade as Mikyx and Luka “Perkz” Perković fell for G2. Instead of pushing the lane, however, Team Liquid continued to chase G2 into the river. Caps responded by assassinating Jensen, and G2 was able to turn on the remaining Team Liquid roster to complete the two-for-five ace.
At this point, Caps became a monster on Sylas. Stealing Akali’s ultimate, Caps turned a one-on-two fight in the top lane, resulting in a one-for-three trade. After an uncontested Baron play, G2 looked towards Team Liquid’s base. G2 orchestrated a fight under Team Liquid’s towers at 27 minutes into the game. There, Caps stole Impact’s Kennen ultimate and Martin “Wunder” Hansen deleted two Team Liquid members with Pyke’s ultimate to close out the game 2 of the MSI Finals.
— LoLEsports Stats (@LoLEsportsStats) May 19, 2019
If it works, you might as well keep doing it until it doesn’t work anymore. And so in game 3, Jankos again secured first blood in the bottom lane four minutes in. Although Jensen secured one kill in a mid lane 2v2 skirmish, G2’s early game pressure became too much for Team Liquid to overcome. Jankos continued to gank lanes, burning summoner spells wherever he roamed. Individual skill also put G2 Esports ahead early. Caps impressively turned around two ganks in the mid lane, getting kills on Jensen and Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. By 12 minutes, G2 had gained an eight-to-one kill lead.
Team Liquid was able to squeak a few kills out through the next few minutes, but they would need to avoid losing a team fight in order to have any hope of extending the game. At 17 minutes into the game, with a 10k gold lead under G2’s belt, Team Liquid’s hopes were finally crushed. Wunder on Neeko landed a massive three-man stun, which was followed up by Caps and Jankos to immediately delete three members of Team Liquid. The following two TL members were quickly killed, and G2 ended the match at 18 minutes.
WE DID IT.
— G2 Esports (@G2esports) May 19, 2019
The series not only marks the West’s first victory at Worlds or MSI since 2011 but also set the record as the fastest best-of-5 series on the international stage. The previously shortest match was 16 minutes longer than this year’s MSI finals. G2 Esports’ strengths were clearly too much for Team Liquid to deal with; G2 took any advantage they had and used this to swiftly end each game. Team Liquid never found an opportunity where they were fully in the driver’s seat.