A star-studded roster is looking to become the first European dynasty
A bit late to the development of a competitive scene with established teams, European VALORANT has been in a state of flux, mixing and matching teams during its beta events and early post-launch competitions. Slowly but surely, top tier organisations are signing full teams and as a result, the competition is turning serious. VALORANT is the younger cousin of Counter-Strike, the game that Europe has dominated for almost two decades, and a letter of intent has been sent to the global VALORANT community that Europe is going to collect prize money worldwide too. Spearheading the development of the scene is top tier esports organisation G2 Esports, signing four of the most coveted players on the continent’s market.
The freshly signed core of G2 made a statement during the Vitality European Open, winning the entire event while only dropping two maps. This weekend at the stacked WePlay! Invitational they could cement themselves as the kings of Europe. However, the only other team that was able to take the fight to this core of players, Fish123, will also be participating this time around. Nevertheless, G2 enters the event as the clear favourite with the field chasing this extraordinarily skilled roster. Who are these aspirants in pole position for the European throne?
Only recently the core of G2 has crystalized, indicating a thorough process of the team captain Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho in carefully choosing his roster. mixwell has played with a number of mixes during the beta and seems to have handpicked from his best teammates and opponents, resulting in a team with these currently assigned roles:
Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho
Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski
Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi
Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks
Curiously, David "davidp" Prins has been playing both with mixwell in several beta events and has stuck around with the core for some events now. Whether or not he’s the last member joining or just filling for now is unknown. He’s mostly been playing anchor roles and support agents for the team, playing Sage for the majority of his playtime.
Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho - Jett (Entry role, Operator)
Naturally as a former CS:GO top tier AWPer, mixwell has become one of the dedicated Operator players for G2. Playing duelists for the team and most often Jett, he often is the first into the site playing an entry role for the team. The captain seems to have decided that he doesn’t necessarily have to be the star player for the team, doing the hard tasks for the team and during the Vitality European Open, G2 was stomping opponents with mixwell regularly raking up the most deaths and mid-tier scoreboard positions for his team. You can tell how scary this team will be if the team can dominate the opposition without a standout performance from their Spanish captain in the finals. mixwell is a smart player with honed CS fundamentals, rarely committing to unnecessary risks. He’s the crown-jewel, and rock-solid foundation of this team.
Patryk "paTiTek" Fabrowski - Brimstone/Omen/Phoenix (Second-in, support carry)
paTiTek has been one of the revelations of the European beta. Having been a relatively unknown player during the CS career, the French support player has grown into a carry role for G2. Most often, paTiTek is the second into a site after having used his smoke utility, reliably getting trade kills and having great multi-kill potential. His pistols are perhaps the best (and nastiest) in Europe.
Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi - Cypher (Support)
After a long career in CS in which he played for some top tier teams like NiP and SK Gaming, pyth has found his way into G2 as a support player. Mostly seen on Cypher, he’s an incredibly smart anchor player who knows how to engage in duels that are tipped in his favour. Rarely caught out of position, he’s a reliable support for G2.
Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks - Sova/Raze (Third-in, support carry)
ardiis is an extremely skilled player who exceeds on a wide range of guns. He has a solid rifle and an equally impressive pistol, but the weapon he’s possibly the best at in Europe is the Operator. During beta he was with Fish123 and won the vast majority of events they participated in with him. With an absurd reaction time and very reliable hit ratios, he’s arguably the most skilled player on G2. Therefore with good reason, he’s the third-in on any given site and regularly rakes up the top fragging position for his team.
The team’s strategical profile
Given their incredible pistol players, G2 will often rack up pistol rounds victories which allows them to occasionally stick to Armour and Ghost setups plus one or two SMGs in the second round, with a high win percentage. This gives the team an economic leg up and due to their skill set, isn’t as risky as it may appear. When they lose a pistol round, they stay conservative with minimal credit investment, trusting their skill in full-buy rounds.
Strategically, the team is very flexible and has many more than one default per map, playing a pick-up style when needed. This leads to players like mixwell and davidP regularly switching up their positions on defence to stay unpredictable. One of the strongest points of G2 when defending has been their ability to read a situation and call crisp rotations. The only map where they seem unable to regularly do so is on Haven, not coincidentally the only map they were beaten on during the Vitality European Open. There, they often and perhaps willingly find themselves to be vulnerable on B-site, having to go into retake scenarios often. So far, this weakness has been the only discernible one during their stint together, revealing their Achilles Heel at least partially.
"Seeing our Valorant team kick a** just makes me so happy. Can't wait for the first World Championship." - Carlos "ocelote" Rodríguez Santiago, Founding CEO G2 Esports
Truly unbeatable do G2 feel once they get an economy going, given the metagame strength of double Operator setups and their individual player’s strength with the boomstick. Curiously, despite ardiis arguably having the stronger OP, mixwell is generally given priority though the actual underlying pattern of who gets to carry the sniper seems to be based on the position on the map a respective player may be playing. As such, it’s occasionally the case that either davidP or paTiTek will carry the only Operator.
The same flexibility can be seen in how G2 so far have paired up in engagements. From Counter-Strike we know that teams usually form team internal squads of two or three players which they attack or defend a bomb site in. So far, G2 has shown weak patterns, remaining flexible in any given situation, blurring the lines between clearly defined roles more than in other teams. This is mostly possible due to their stacked roster that currently outmuscles most European teams with relative ease. Until a highly strategic team rolls along, it will be challenging to compete with G2 in pound for pound comparisons which matter so much in the infancy of a meta development.
The best team in Europe?
With the victory at the Vitality European Open, a tournament that pitted many of Europe’s best teams against each other, a repeat victory at the WePlay! Invitational (especially against Fish123 feat. ScreaM) would crown the kings of Europe this weekend. As the defender of the IGNITION Series title, they will also go into the tournament as a favourite. The silver lining for fans that wouldn’t like to see Europe move to a dynastic region ruled by G2 is that the team now has their strategies in plain sight, while Fish123 gets to study away from the limelight of the latest event. Having revealed their weakness in Haven, this is where an upset could begin. That said, the attack vector against them remains small as G2 looks to crown themselves as the first King’s of Europe.
GGRecon will provide more coverage of the teams and events at WePlay! Invitational.
Images via G2 Esports & Riot Games