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In an episode of Showstopper, G2 Esports’ Former Head Coach Neil “nEiLZiNHo” Finlay discussed the issues that befell G2 Esports during the EMEA Last Chance Qualifier.
G2 were dominant during Stage 3. They made it all the way to the final in the EMEA Stage 3 Challengers 1 finals, only being beaten by Acend. After taking some time to prepare, they placed fourth at the EMEA Stage 3 finals, qualifying for Stage 3: Masters Berlin. After taking a game from Sentinels (a feat that no one expected), they pushed past KRÜ Esports to make it to the semifinals. However, they fell short by losing to Gambit Esports.
Thus, G2 couldn’t garner enough points to push past Fnatic, falling into the Last Chance Qualifier bracket. Once there, they fell victim to Team Liquid and Guild Esports, losing out on making it to Champions.
“We had less than a month after Berlin to rest up and prepare before the tournament started,” nEiLZiNHo said. For him, it was the same fate that Fnatic and Team Liquid suffered after VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 2: Masters Reykjavík. “That is not enough time to change strats. Everyone has their eyes on you, they know how you play. We did the same thing to Fnatic and then teams did it to us.”
It was after the EMEA LCQ loss that several staff changes were announced, including nEiLZiNHo’s departure.
In terms of why he left, nEiLZiNHo said, “We came to a crossroads and I had to decide.” He said that he and former Coach Lucas “LRojo” Rojo constantly felt at odds with the power dynamic of the team.
“I think he wanted to be head coach from the start. The whole situation was weird,” nEiLZiNHo said. “We ended up having the players vote on who they wanted as head coach.”
The problems did not stop there. Right as VCT was ramping up, the roster started changing. NEiLZiNHo was not a fan of the constant additions, stand-ins and departures. “I told management, I don’t want any more roster changes. It is hard for me as a coach if stuff keeps changing.” Once G2 lost in EMEA Last Chance Qualifier, and LRojo left, nEiLZiNHo also felt that “it would be better for everyone that we parted ways.”
Along with nEiLZiNHo and LRojo, Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi left shortly after EMEA LCQ. As of now (with nEiLZiNHo’s contract yet to expire), none of the current departures have officially found new teams.
According to the Showstopper with nEiLZiNHo, there are also many rumors of other players retiring from the team, or moving to other organizations. The reasons for these rumored moves range from in-team tension to burnout.
As a result of staff changes, nEiLZiNHo understands that there will be a lot of of player changes as well. “When there is a change in staff, it’s a good time to change for 2022,” he said.
There was also the issue of having three duelist players on a single team. “If we wanted to keep that team of five, someone would have had to play a role they didn’t want to play. For example, [Auni “AvovA” Chahade] would have had to go onto a Sentinel, which would mean we are sacrificing one of the best Controllers,” nEiLZiNHo said. He said he thought it might have worked but, because they didn’t qualify for Champions, it was time to make changes.
“They have three months to sit and practice. Now is a good time to get roles in,” nEiLZiNHo said.
G2 Esports are out for the rest of the 2021 VALORANT Champions Tour. With Champions near, and 2022 just around the corner, it won’t be long until we see a renovated G2 team.
Attending university on my Master's in Mathematics, working as an on-campus tutor and writing about what I enjoy. For Upcomer, I mainly write about Valorant and esports, combining my love of Math and video games! I also love food, Pokémon and League!