Despite a loss to LOUD, G2 Esports managed to qualify for playoffs. Following the series, had a chat with G2’s leaf.

The regular season of VCT Americas 2024 Stage 1 is complete. Up next is the mid-season playoff tournament, to determine who heads to VCT Masters Shanghai. One team gearing up for a playoff run is G2 Esports, with their former star Duelist turned Viper/Sentinel player, Nathan "leaf" Orf.

The team comes off a loss to LOUD in their final Stage 1 match, but they put together enough rounds to keep playing come May 8. After the loss, we spoke to leaf about the series, how he's evolved since our last interview, and his expectations for the remainder of the year.

G2's leaf says loss to LOUD is more bitter than sweet, but expects team to make Shanghai

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"You could say this was a bittersweet series. You lost, but you got enough rounds to qualify for the mid-season playoffs. Would you say it is more bitter or more sweet?"

leaf: "Definitely more bitter, I'd say. We still wanted to win. The championship points are a big thing, and I mean, we just had high expectations for this match. We wanted to win. So, yeah, it's definitely way more bitter."

"Well, let’s talk about the game a bit. Bind was super close, but LOUD was able to string some rounds together at the end to win. From your perspective in the server, what do you think was the cause for their late momentum?"

leaf: "It was just more adapting to what we had. And they had some individual plays that were very, very strong. So, I just think that they needed a little bit of time to get the ball moving. Then they carried that momentum to Icebox."

(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)
(Photo by Marv Watson/Riot Games)

"And then Icebox, obviously, it was not the best showing for G2. You put up a few rounds on attack, but do you think the lack of that entry power with a no Duelist comp was an issue here?"

leaf: "No, I don't think it was. I think the issue was just coordination and timing. I think we just were very, very lazy. Okay, not really lazy, but just very antsy and it kind of cost us."

"Okay, and I’d like to know your thoughts on Less. He plays a similar role to yours these days, and he just utterly frags out. Do you have an answer when it comes to going against a player like that?"

leaf: "You don't really have an answer. I mean, you just kind of play how you want to play. He's hard to counter, because of the role that he plays. He's just very, very smart. He's skilled in every regard. I think he's probably one of the best individual players in the world. So, yeah, it's very hard to punish him when he is on."

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"When it comes to your role on the team, having switched over with icy joining. How would you compare your play as the Viper and Sentinel roles to when you were on Jett and Raze?"

leaf: "I obviously don't have as much entry prowess, but I would say that I'm very impactful in what I do. It's very pressuring, because I think that a lot of people respect me, in the way that I see the game. So, I'm not sure. It's hard to compare, right? It's a very different role, but I'd say I still have very, very good impact."

"With icy taking that over, was there any sort of guidance from you on how to be that Duelist player on this team?"

leaf: "No, not really, at all. We kind of just wanted to see how he played, and how he fit into our system."

"And I’m just curious. How many more reps as the Viper/Sentinel combo do you think you need to get in to match the amount of reps you have as a Duelist?"

leaf: "I don't think a whole lot. I'm very comfortable on it and I understand the role. There's stuff that you can do, but there's not a whole lot of complexion to the Agents. So, I think I'm at a very good level. I just say that more match experience makes it easier for me to know where I need to improve. But yeah, it's not that complex to be honest."

"We chatted last year, you were on Cloud9, and ended the regular season well. Of course, the post-season didn’t go as planned. But you told me, you know how good you are and how good you can be. Since you told me that, what kind of evolution have you seen in yourself as a player and a teammate?"

leaf: "I'm a lot more emotional, like leadership-wise. I try to help as much as I can in terms of experience and stuff, even though I am pretty young. I've just been improving by broadening my knowledge of the game.

"I know a lot about the game, but there's even more that I could know. So, just watching the game, and of course playing, I always think that my mechanics are pretty good. It's just been a lot of learning and watching."

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"Well, there is plenty of VCT Americas left. Playoffs, potentially Masters Shanghai, and then Stage 2. Just a couple more questions about the future. What do you think the main focus of the team is, to prepare yourselves for the knockout match in the playoffs against your old team, Cloud9?"

leaf: "We know it's going to be a very pressuring game. In terms of what's at stake. Then also the team that we're playing against. C9 is kind of on a tear, I'd say. They're what? 5-1 in our group? And they've just been playing very good individually.

"They have very good individual players. So, I think it'll be a very fast-paced game. And if we're not able to reel it in, and make sure that we're in the right head space when it is fast-paced, then we're just going to fail."

"Lastly then, in terms of expectations. What are your hopeful expectations and your realistic expectations for the rest of the year? Is there any difference?"

leaf: "No, not really. I mean, I think all of our expectations are to make it to Shanghai and then Champions at the end of the year. So, I think that's realistic. I think we can. It's just about us pulling through and making sure that we do our best. That we don't think overthink it too hard, and we just do what we know."

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