G2 completed what was possibly the biggest Counter-Strike transfer ever as they signed superstar Nikola “NiKo” Kovač from FaZe Clan at the end of October.
This move was expected to elevate the status of the team, which has famously struggled with consistency and firepower throughout 2020. Signing NiKo was the plan to fix those problems and although he’s been with the team for under a week, they’ve already seen improvement.
However, before we dive further into the current G2 and their prospects, let’s take a look at their background and situation through the year.
G2 in 2020
So far 2020 has been a roller-coaster of a year for G2. They came into the year just outside the top 10 and, after a string of podium finishes, climbed all the way to No. 1 in the HLTV world rankings in June.
That, however, did not last long. The second half of the year exposed their weaknesses, as a mix of individual inconsistencies, tactical short-comings and overall poor firepower saw them drop matches all over the place. They found some form with a third-place finish at ESL One Cologne but quickly dropped off again.
It was clear that something needed to change and in October rumors of G2 approaching FaZe about NiKo began to circulate. During that time the team finished dead last at IEM New York and tied for second last at DreamHack Open Fall. It seemed that the only way to go for the French squad was down – that is, until G2 announced the signing of NiKo and completely turned around the fate of the team.
How NiKo has Affected G2
As of this writing, NiKo has only been on G2’s roster for a week, but he seems to have completely revitalized the squad.
The team has only played four matches, but every player looks like a new man. They couldn’t have started off with a bigger challenge, as they faced the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the world in Astralis and Furia in their BLAST Premier Fall group.
Many would have expected the new roster to put up a show but not really do anything special – they were playing the best in the world, after all. However, G2 did just the opposite. With NiKo leading the charge, they absolutely dominated the competition.
A quick 2-0 against Furia saw each G2 player perform well above average, while NiKo added much-needed firepower against Astralis in a 2-0 demolition.
Not only has NiKo added a superstar level of firepower and consistency, he has also seemed to boost the performance of his teammates around him, perhaps by easing the pressure on each player to perform.
So far things are looking incredibly well for G2, but they do have a tough schedule ahead of them.
Which Events Are G2 Playing In?
Both November and December are packed for G2, which sees almost non-stop tournament action from November 6 to December 13.
They’re set to play at IEM Beijing Europe, DreamHack Masters Winter and the BLAST Premier Fall Finals. All of those events feature only the best of the best in the world, with G2 coming in as one of the lowest-ranked teams, despite currently being No. 13 in the world.
IEM Beijing Europe sees G2 come in at +800 to win and while the other tournament odds have yet to be released, there’s unlikely to be much of a change. With so many games coming thick and fast, there’s little time for G2 to prepare, but the team does seem to have things somewhat figured out already.
Should You Bet on G2?
G2 definitely seems to be a very solid pick right now. They’ve taken down two big dogs in Astralis and Furia very convincingly and seem to be riding the wave of a powerful new signing. Based on those matches alone, it’s easy to see G2 sweeping through the world and closing out the year in style.
However, things aren’t so simple. There are many factors to consider. They’ll be playing different teams with different strengths and weaknesses, player form varies, and the sample size of games with NiKo is just way too small.
IEM Beijing will definitely make things clearer, as we’ll see at least a few more matches from G2. Going into the event, I wouldn’t tip them as favorites, or even expect to see them make the finals. However, there’s a strong possibility of some upsets to come out from the squad. When it comes to IEM Beijing, I’d keep my eyes on each individual match for G2 and try to pick out some value.
But as the team continues to play matches and get more familiar playing with NiKo, I’d definitely tip the scales more toward them. I can see G2 making waves at DreamHack Masters Winter, and maybe even sneaking away a place on the podium, if not winning the trophy, depending on their form at IEM Beijing.
Going into the BLAST Premier Fall Finals, it’s difficult to place G2. I’d once again expect them to threaten the favorites like Vitality and Natus Vincere.
Overall, G2 is definitely the team to back going forward, but you should be a little careful at this stage and observe their matches, especially at IEM Beijing.