The dream is still alive for North American League of Legends fans after Team Liquid pulled a major upset over G2 Esports in the Worlds 2020 group stage by playing the European champions’ own game, according to jungler Mads ‘Broxah’ Brock-Pedersen.
Their game against G2 was, by far, the bloodiest match TL has had in the group stage. For what it’s worth, it was also their cleanest performance with them absolutely denying their EU rivals any win conditions, taking all drakes and barons in the 35-minute affair.
Yet, as dominant as they were, the team implemented a paradigm shift after opening the Group Stage with two losses that ultimately led them to dominate in their third outing.
Down 0-2 after losing to Machi Esports and Suning, TL were inching closer to elimination and had to beat the LEC champions to stay in the mix.
“We decided to change the mindset,” Broxah said after the game. “We didn’t come in with the right mindset, the right preparation, the right approach to the first two games, but now we came in and said, ‘Guys, this is do or die.’”
With nothing to lose, TL decided to size up against G2 since they were counting on the European giants to be hyper-aggressive like they’ve been all season.
As someone who’s quite familiar with G2’s brand of offense, the former Fnatic jungler was on board when Liquid decided to take the fight to their opposition for a last ditch effort to get a win in the first round-robin.
“Fight them,” Broxah said, recalling TL’s game plan going into the match. “We know G2 wants to fight, we’re just going to fight them back, we’re going to outplay them, and we’re going to win playing their game.”
In sports, ‘playing not to lose’ and ‘playing to win’ are two completely different approaches to adopt and Liquid had been stuck doing the former. Broxah felt that TL “never had the ball in their hands” up until Day 4 of the groups, and were being more responsive to other teams than pressing the initiative.
But the team switched it up, starting with the draft where LCS Summer 2020 MVP Jo ‘CoreJJ’ Yong-in and LCS Rookie of the Year Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra picked Sett and Kalista into G2 Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković’s Ashe.
As for the rest of the team, Nicolaj ‘Jensen’, Jung ‘Impact’ Eon-yeong, and Broxah brought back champs Orianna, Volibear, and Graves, respectively, after prior matches resulted in complete duds for those picks.
But with a renewed mindset and a change of pace courtesy of G2, TL had the components needed to create an stunning upset in Group A.
The team now ties Machi for third place at 1-2, with G2 and Suning leading the pack with a 2-1 record apiece. The final day of Group A will be October 10 starting at 1 AM PST / 4 AM EST / 9 AM BST, when every team plays twice.
As for Broxah, the fateful day will be the best chance to turn the tides of Worlds 2020 to potentially give NA a playoff berth.
“I’ve done some emotional interviews in the past, but right now I’m almost shaking,” Broxah said. “This win was so important, I was so nervous coming into the game, I’m so happy to beat G2. There’s still hope.”