The G2 Valorant captain talks about the team’s map veto vs Fnatic, his personal break from G2 esports and gives us some insights into the team’s strengths and weaknesses in the post-match interview.
G2 esports lost its first match in the VCT EMEA playoffs, but it has since found its groove, moving through the lower bracket to ensure a top two finish. The team is not done yet, as there is the Grand Finals with FPX, a match that could help G2 achieve that all-important No. 1 seed at Reykjavik. The team’s captain, Mixwell had a lot of interesting thoughts to share in the post-match interview, having just defeated Fnatic in the lower bracket final.
The lower bracket final between Fnatic and G2 was a best-of-series. Both teams have already qualified for VCT Masters 1 Reykjavik by this point and at stake was the tournament seeding.
G2 crushed Fnatic in this series, winning 3-0 and setting up a Grand finals appearance versus FPX. G2’s run through the lower bracket, with wins over M3C, Liquid and now Fnatic has been nothing short of impressive.
“We just first-picked it [Breeze] because if it's their [Fnatic] perma-ban we will just pick it and play against them”: G2 Mixwell
G2 started the veto with a Breeze map pick, a pick that was based on their opponent (Fnatic’s) previous map choices. But it was also Fnatic’s pick of Icebox that came in as a big surprise. G2 is a very strong team on Icebox. Even though Fnatic is no walkover, and many believe Fnatic is one of the best teams on Icebox, the map pick still surprised Mixwell.
“To be honest, I think their veto was not very good because they banned Bind, which I wasn't expecting because they don't play Breeze too much. And they left Breeze open, maybe thinking we don't play it or something. We just first-picked it because if it's their perma-ban we will just pick it and play against them.”
G2 started on the attacking side of Breeze. Fnatic got off to a strong start winning 3 of the first 4 rounds on the map on defense. But G2 was able to pull it back and actually tie the map at 6-6 during half-time. But it was G2’s defense that was too strong for Fnatic in the second half. The first map ended with a 13-9 score and G2 took a lead early on.
Now we talked about the Icebox pick and it was evident right from the start that G2 was the dominant team on this map. G2 also got to defend first, which suited their playstyle. The Mixwell-led team cruised to a 10-2 half and won the next first three rounds on attack as well. G2 had a dominant 13-2 win on Icebox.
I think our Icebox is pretty good. We found a way of playing that really suits us and we don't really care who we play
“Everyone thinks Fnatic has the best Icebox. Maybe they wanted to prove a point. I think our Icebox is pretty good. We found a way of playing that really suits us and we don't really care who we play even though I feel Fnatic is a really strong team on Icebox. Probably the score today was much bigger than it should be.”
The final map of the series was Ascend. Even though G2 clearly had the momentum after the first two maps, (and especially after that 13-2 Icebox), Fnatic fought back. G2 started strong on the Attack winning 8 rounds at the end of the half. But after switching sides, Fnatic improvised their playstyle using a mix of executes and firepower for maximum impact. In the end, though, it was G2 that came out ahead, securing a Grand Finals slot and having a lot of momentum on its side.
“Ascend was really hard but we played really well in the first two maps and I'm happy that we are improving.“
Mixwell’s redemption arc
Earlier this year, G2 replaced Mixwell with keloqz bringing the 18-year-old player in to represent the team for the open qualifiers. G2 had a great run, not losing a single series during the open and closed qualifiers. The success of the team was so dominant that Mixwell had already started looking for new teams.
But G2 brought him back and now they have not only secured a spot in the Masters Reykjavik, they are also en route to securing the first seed if they defeat FunPlus Phoenix.
I was searching for a team, I thought I was already out because things were going well for them.
“For me, when I got benched, it was really tough because I wasn't expecting it. I felt that we didn't have enough time to really develop. We were playing really well in practice.
I couldn't do the IGL + Duelist role at the same time. I didn't play Duelist for a long time as well. It was a lot of stuff at the same time for me. I got benched for keloqz. Keloqz did a great job. They qualified with him to VCT. I was searching for a team, I thought I was already out because things were going well for them.
After a while, they contacted me again and said, they think, for the future, for the long-term, they would want me to come back. And I came back, I said yes of course. Let's go.”
"One of the things that helped me a lot was to take a break" - Mixwell
“This break was good for me. I came back to the team with a lot of motivation”
Mixwell has been a fundamental part of G2’s journey in Valorant. Even though he took a break, he came stronger by his own admission. The break was a much-needed one for the player who also produces a lot of content on his streams.
“One of the things that helped me a lot was to take a break. I've been playing for two years, and I didn't have a break at all. All of you know, I stream a lot, I do content on YouTube and everything. It's a grind. I feel like mentally I was not in my best place. This break was good for me. I came back to the team with a lot of motivation and I learned a lot, because I did watch-parties of every region, so tactically I'm also helping the team as much as I can.
It's been a pleasure to play with the team right now because I feel like we finally understood where our strengths and weaknesses lie and we play around it. So I'm enjoying every game, it's very fun.”
“I think our strength is adaptability… One of our weaknesses is probably that we can have better executes” - G2 Mixwell
Later in the interview, Mixwell also talks more about the team’s strengths and weaknesses. He emphasizes the team's adaptability and the accompanyig communication. G2 can quickly tweak some things, it could be as minor as changing the pace of the game or usage of utility that allows them a foothold into the round.
“I think the strength is adaptability. We are really good at seeing what the enemy team is doing and talk about it to tweak some stuff during the matches. That makes a huge difference. It doesn't have to be something really really big. You can change a piece of utility or the tempo or freezing instead of going directly to the execute because the enemy team is using a lot of utility. All that kind of stuff.
One of our weaknesses is probably that we can have better executes. I think we have maps that are really strong as you could see today and maps that are not that strong that we need to work on for Iceland.”
As a team, G2 relies less on heavy executes compared to others. When asked in the post-match interview whether he believes in saving strats for later in the tournament; G2 Mixwell strongly did not believe in saving strats.
“Honestly, we don't rely on executes too much. For us, we just played like a normal day. Maybe Fnatic, they are a much-more tactical team, they might be saving somethings.
But to me, saving strats and not getting the first seed is shooting yourself in the leg. I don't understand because first seed gives you so much advantage in the tournament and if they did, it's a mistake. But I don't think they did, I hope so.”
While information about the seeding is not yet public, it seems the top teams will get seeded deeper into the Masters 1 Reykjavik tournament.
G2 face FunPlus Phoenix in the EMEA Challengers #1 Grand finals. Both teams have already qualified for Masters and this match will decide the seeding