G2 and NiP going separate ways

G2 Esports tried to gain ground on first-place Splyce by dispatching the bottom-dwelling Ninjas in Pyjamas on Friday. Riot Games

G2 Esports picked up a crucial victory Thursday against Ninjas in Pyjamas, sweeping its opposition on Week 8, Day 1 of the European League of Legends Championship Series in Berlin.

While the match certainly ended as expected given the two teams are separated by a vast gulf of experience, that didn't make it any less important for both teams. G2 Esports (7-3, 13-7 match record) is still trying to catch up with Fnatic (8-1, 17-3 match record) in the standings before the two clash next week, as a victory in that series could then propel G2 Esports back to the top of Group B. The Ninjas in Pyjamas (0-10, 2-18 match record) are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, as it's in a desperate race to simply avoid the bottom. The team has yet to pick up a single match win, and it has struggled mightily to take the only two games it has won. This match was one of the last chances that the Ninjas in Pyjamas had to catch up to ROCCAT (3-6, 10-14), which sits two games above NiP in the standings. Now the Ninjas must win two of its next three matches in order to simply have a shot at escaping relegation, but such a winning streak is something of a longshot considering its current form.

The series was about as uncompetitive as could be expected considering the teams involved. G2 Esports might not be having the best split, but that hasn't stopped it from utterly crushing the weakest teams in the EU LCS. The Ninjas simply couldn't keep up with G2 Esports' early game throughout the series, and it failed to defend its mid laner, Kim "Nagne" Sang-moon from ganks. While Nagne managed to buoy himself somewhat in Game 1 with some solid teamfight performances on Cassiopeia, he couldn't say the same about Game 2, where he served as G2's punching bag over the course of the game's first 20 minutes. The greatest imbalance wasn't in the mid lane, however, but in the jungle, as Ilyas "Shook" Hartsema spent the entire series merely trying to pick up the pieces that Kim "Trick" Kang-yen left behind. Whenever G2 Esports made a decisive play, Trick was always involved, while Shook was often nowhere to be found.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the MVP of the series was none other than G2 Esports' jungler, Trick. He commanded the early game across the whole series, and punished Ninjas in Pyjamas' every attempt to get itself back into the series. His Game 1 was remarkably solid, but it was in Game 2 where he truly excelled, as the Ninjas in Pyjamas made one of the biggest mistakes in competitive play: they left Zac unbanned. Trick took the flubber look-alike the moment G2 got a chance to pick, and he used it to secure the important victory.

G2 Esports will go on to face the Misfits on Thursday at 1 p.m. EST, while the Ninjas in Pyjamas will take on ROCCAT on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET in what will be its last chance to escape the relegation zone.