G2 Esports’ Carlos ’ocelote’ Rodríguez on the Challenges of Competing at Worlds 2020 During a Global Pandemic

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The League of Legends World Championships are in full swing having made its way to the championship quarterfinal bracket. Eight teams fought their way out of the group stages in order for a chance at winning what is widely considered the most prestigious championship in esports. Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez, owner of Spanish organization G2 Esports, is standing by as his own team prepares for its knock-out championship bracket match against Gen.G. During this intermission, Rodriguez found some time to talk with The Esports Observer, sharing his thoughts about the overall Worlds vibe and what G2 has done to prepare–from quarantine to competition.

“Two weeks. Man, they got there early and had to quarantine. I felt for them. This was hard for some of them to go through,” Rodrigueuz said. “Some of them did better than others, I think Wunder [G2 player Martin Hansen] enjoyed it, but it always boils down to the character of each of them. Wunder likes to be by himself, nobody pissing him off, whereas the others aren’t like that. They need people around, and who can blame them? This was hard, but they are amazing.”

This year, Worlds is being played in Shanghai, China, and teams were made to come to the country, some a full month before, and quarantine in order to compete. Rodriguez made sure to have every tool available in order to help his team not just make it past quarantine, but still be able to compete–the entire purpose for being there.

“The best we can do is to ensure that the infrastructure is in place,” he said. “We made sure we had the ability to purchase things online. So if we needed weights for training or whatever in the room, or whether we needed additional items from an infrastructure perspective, we were prepared to take care of it.”

Another avenue that Rodriguez and company made sure that the staff and players could travel on was that of providing online help in the form of medical professionals, if they were needed during this somewhat difficult time.

“In conjunction with the online stuff, our organization is always in touch with psychologists and sports performance experts. Some of them are from Red Bull, who has so much experience in competition having trained a lot of athletes from the states and Austria,” explained Rodriguez. “We have a handle on this and have been planning for this for a while, Besides the fact that we do like to have fun with social media and stuff, we do take our job very seriously. I make sure that in moments like this, the players have every tool within their reach in order to maneuver through those couple of weeks. This was the first time these guys have done something like this.”

Knowing this was difficult for all the teams and their players, Rodriguez notes that Riot Games, the publisher behind the event, has made a monumental effort to get the event off the ground as the company could have simply canceled it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was almost an insurmountable challenge to build a tournament like this in times like this,” he said. “Riot has done a really good job. I don’t think many publishers out there have the balls to put on what Riot has put together–specifically in China. I can’t even imagine the amount of money Riot has probably spent in putting these Worlds together. 

Credit: G2 Esports

And in speaking about the amount of money being spent by Riot in order to even have the event, Rodriguez notes that some teams, like those in North America, may be spending money only to get knocked out early in the tournament. He’d like to see the region get a little better.

“Unfortunately we crushed Team Liquid’s dreams by beating them in the first game of the day, but then again by losing to Suning, which put them out of the tournament,” Rodriguez said. “I think there is a lot of bad to be said about North America. I think the region is relative to last year or maybe even a little worse or maybe the same, but I will say that region does have a lot of heart.”

However, as much as Rodriguez has his own opinions of other League of Legends regions, right now he is fully focused on G2.

“We fucking suck in groups. We are just so bad. We are not a team that cheeses, we are not a team that throws, we are a team that is supposed to be better,” he said.”But, we do play the game our way and we like to limit test a lot.”

Credit: Riot Games/lolesports

However, in all honesty, Rodriguez will take the advancement as they did last year at Worlds where the team made it to the grand finals after finishing second in groups.

“All in all, we should be happy we got through. If you told me before the group phase, that we could and would finish second by signing a piece of paper, I would sign that paper with blood. We may not be in the top five coming out of groups, but we’re really good at adapting and a team that is ready that whatever the team we play next is going to do. We are ready for this next matchup.”

G2 will take on Gen.G in a League of Legends World Championship quarterfinal match which takes place at 3 a.m. PST on Oct. 18, 2020.

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