A couple of days ago G2 announced their super team for Rainbow Six esports, to the surprise of the pro scene community. Many expected G2 Esports to make changes after roster upheaval and a mediocre showing at the Six Invitational 2020. However, no one could have expected the G2 super team that was shown off.
Let’s break down the excitement behind the two newest samurai to join G2 Esports, and what led to the G2 super team unveil.
Presenting: Our Rainbow Six Siege Super Team 💥2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣🏆 pic.twitter.com/bQkRhIHa7n
— G2 Esports (@G2esports) March 3, 2020
Samurai in decline
G2 Esports has become one of the most beloved and bemoaned orgs in the Rainbow Six pro scene. The org entered the scene on the eve of the Six Major Paris 2018 by buying the entire PENTA roster. The Euro mix squad quickly proved they were worth the money. They took the Paris Major immediately after moving to G2 and then won every single LAN they played for the rest of 2018. G2 then went on to win SI2019, making the main core of Fabian “Fabian” Hallsten and Niclas “Pengu” Mouritzen back-to-back Invitational champs.
But since SI2019, the samurais started slipping. One year after winning in Paris, they lost to the Russian upstarts Team Empire in the finals at Raleigh. G2 had poor showings at DreamHack Montreal and failed to make the Pro League S10 finals. The departure of Daniel “Goga” Romero saw Pascal “Cryn” Alouane step in. He became the biggest target of fan criticism, especially after G2 failed to make SI2020 in the EU qualifiers. Alouane was replaced with Ferenc “SirBoss” Mérész, a loaner from PENTA. This move came less than a month before SI2020 and left G2 looking a little desperate ahead of the biggest R6 tourney of the year.
As an invite team, G2 exceeded expectations and yet somehow didn’t at the same time. They managed to pull off a 2-0 start in Group D at SI2020 to start things off. It looked like the good old G2 was coming together, the one you can never count out in a tournament. However, G2 was then upset by Fnatic in the quarterfinals, and smacked in the mouth by Ninjas in Pyjamas in the loser’s bracket. They were out in a flash.
After sliding for so long, the community knew that G2 was going to have to do something to regain their former glory. Many expected them to fill only Mérész’s spot once his loan ended, but G2 Esports had bigger plans.
O Captain! My Captain!
I don’t think anyone could have honestly expected to see long time G2 captain and R6 legend Fabian “Fabian” Hallsten moved to the bench. The decision was mutual between player and org, after Hallsten requested a transfer following their loser’s bracket exit at SI2020. As of right now, he says he has no idea what the future holds for his pro career.
A lot of people are asking where I am going now. To be honest I do not know, for now I play 3 months of ranked to become the best ranked player in the world, after that we will see, perhaps I'll stream a lot, we will see what happens
— Fabian Hällsten (@G2_Fabian) March 3, 2020
Hallsten is one of the biggest names in Rainbow Six esports. He’s one of the few elite players to have won the Six Invitational twice and winning it back-to-back. The former G2 captain is also one of pro R6’s most electric personalities. He’s a player who’s not afraid to speak his mind and likes to have a bit of fun with the pro community. An era ends with his movement to the bench. Mouritzen is now the only G2 player remaining from the old PENTA team, which could have been considered a super team in it’s own time. Coach Thomas “Shas[O]Udas” Lee, the PENTA/G2 coach behind the team for both SI wins, also managed to survive the roster upheaval.
G2 loses a huge face in Hallsten, now that he has been removed from the starting roster. Hallsten has been the in-game leader and captain for G2 and it’s core for years. Losing the team’s captain will be hard on both the fans and the players.
we built a fucking legacy Fabian, something that is unlikely for ANY team to ever replicate. We made a roster out of nothing but passion and reached the stars, you know how proud I am of what we have achieved together through good and bad – I wish you nothing but success
— Pengu (@G2Pengu) March 3, 2020
His departure from G2 also leaves the team with another set of problems. The team now lacks a dedicated in-game leader. Mouritzen and Toivonen have been known to share IGL duties with Hallsten in the past. G2 will have to rely heavily on them and its two coaches unless someone truly steps up to fill Hallsten’s role.
As for Hallsten, he will have no trouble finding a new team once he is ready to return to the pro scene. His pedigree is unmatched as a Rainbow Six player. He’s an experienced IGL that will be able to raise his next team up to the highest levels of pro R6. Expect to see him back with a vengeance soon.
Bringing in a Brit
The moment the off season started, the community threw around Rogue’s Lukas “korey” Zwingmann and Maurice “AceeZ” Erkelenz as possible fifths for G2. When Dimitri “Panix” de Longeaux was dropped from BDS, his name started coming up in the conversation too. But slowly, rumors swirled that Ben “CTZN” McMillan was going to be tapped as the newest samurai. The various leak accounts chimed in that this was it, G2 was going to buy up Natus Vincere’s hottest benchwarmer for a super team. McMillan requested a transfer after the team’s rough go at the Six Invitational 2020.
McMillan’s teams were looking hot in 2019 up until SI2020. While a member of Molotovs and Marshmallows, McMillan and the UK mix team won the ESL Spring Premiership 2019, the British Isles major R6 tourney. The team then went on to win Challenger League Season 9 and a spot in Pro League. It was then that NaVi came calling and bought the roster and their valuable PL spot up.
Born to win… mostly
McMillan would go on to three-peat the UK Premiership, winning all three 2019 events. When the team stepped into their first season of Pro League, they got hot fast. They torched top teams like G2 and Vitality to take first in S10 with a 10-4 record. NaVi hit the ground running at the Season 10 finals. McMillan and the Brits throttled the competition and took the S10 trophy home. NaVi was looking like one of the brightest new teams in Europe with the hardware to show for it.
But then they hit EUPL Season 11 and started to skid, falling to a 2-1-4 record. NaVi looked like they would have a hard time heading into SI2020. While they managed to pick up a huge win off EU’s number one team Rogue, they still fell in close matches against TSM and SSG. At third place in Group B, Navi missed the SI playoffs and went home starting 2020 on a rough note. McMillan asked NaVi to bench him, and the gears started turning on G2’s end.
G2 Esports has picked up one of Britain’s top players in McMillan. He’ll only help boost G2’s sky high fragging potential once he settles in with his new lineup. The move from NaVi to mainland Europe’s most prestigious org will give McMillan a chance to prove that he was the right choice over everyone else who r/R6ProLeague recommended make the roster.
If you can’t beat them, buy them
Without the roster leaks, I don’t think anyone could have ever expected G2 to go down under for their next samurai. G2 decided to pluck away one of APAC’s rising stars in Jake “Virtue” Grannan after getting upset by Fnatic at SI2020.
Grannan was brought on by Fnatic as their sixth player shortly after the org entered R6 in early 2019. He got his chance to shine on the starting roster when Daniel “NeophyteR” An was released. He got his first taste of international play at SI2019 where Fnatic fell in the quarter finals. Since then, Grannan and Fnatic have asserted themselves top tier contenders in APAC. The team has managed to snag several regional titles, but has yet to win an international tourney. Grannan’s growth alongside Fnatic was noticeable, as he developed into one of the best riflers on the Fnatic roster. He ended the run at SI2020 with the highest headshot percentage of all the playoff players.
Grannan rounds out a G2 roster full of fragging potential. His success at SI2020 gave glimpses at a player on the cusp of raising his skill level. I believe that this move to G2 is the perfect opportunity for an “older” player to prove himself against Europe’s finest. At 26 years young, Grannan still has enough gas in the tank to show everyone why he was selected for the G2 super team.
The play of the samurai
So is this the G2 super team that will bring the samurais back to the elite status in R6 they once knew? I believe Mouritzen will be able to fill into Hallsten’s shoes well as the de-facto captain. He has plenty of experience and has been able to build teams from the ground up since starting in pro R6. Aleksi “UUNO” Työppönen and Toivonen will help bring stability as core members of the team, while the newest samurai find their feet. Grannan and McMillan are both strong players with plenty to prove coming onto G2. Expect them to come out swinging in the second half of EUPL S11.
G2 not acquiring a dedicated support player is probably my biggest worry for this roster (which they made sure to poke fun at in the announcement). The G2 super team is stacked with fragging power, but lacks in utility players able to help others perform. Think of Team SoloMid in North America. The roster has plenty of killing machines on it, with Owen “Pojoman” Mitura as the team’s dedicated hard breacher and site anchor. While the “just get five all star fraggers” strategy can work well in games like CS:GO, I’m not sure how well it will translate to pro Rainbow Six.
The redemption arc of G2 is now my most anticipated storyline of 2020 in Rainbow Six. The G2 organization clearly had an idea in mind when they threw around the money to acquire McMillan and Grannan. To anoint themselves as a super team off the bat is the confidence that you would expect from G2. Kings stay kings as they say. Let’s see if G2 can reclaim the throne.