Expert take: kassad and Mauisnake defend jks' move to G2
Many fans are happy for the Australian to land a team, and a big one at that, more than eight months since the old Complexity squad disbanded. After all, he showed in his stand-in stint with FaZe at IEM Katowice that there's still plenty he has to offer, helping Finn "karrigan" Andersen's side kick off their successful seasonal run with a superb showing across two different roles.
Others have voiced concerns over whether jks is a good fit, worrying that he might end up being tasked with a Terrorist role in which he is not entirely comfortable given the pieces that are already on G2 — Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač and Nikola "NiKo" Kovač in particular. Comparisons have been drawn to the situation jks found himself in Complexity, where he struggled with consistency when there was an evident role clash between him and Benjamin "blameF" Bremer.
Personally, I am curious to see how G2 will solve the puzzle with their three star riflers, but I have my doubts, not so much because of positions on the map but rather their playstyle and the potential lack of space and an offset balance of aggression.
Even back when NiKo first joined G2 he and huNter- had to move around to solve the fact that they both like to do similar things and require a lot of space when working around the map to find picks. The former admittedly is a much more aggressive player in general and that helped solve the equation, but with jks they get another player who has typically done best in positions where he closes rounds as the more passive lurker, which makes me wonder whether there is enough space to go around for the trio for G2 to be functional in mid-to-late-round scenarios.
But after seeing a few other key people in the scene talk about the issue and argue why this combination could actually work, I'm beginning to see the light. Alex "Mauisnake" Ellenberg and Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović — the latter being a former coach of jks from the Renegades and 100 Thieves times, of course — had a brief discussion on Twitter where they shared a different viewpoint, with the American analyst saying role clashes are being overstated by the community and the Serbian coach even going as far as to argue that there are none. G2's coach, Rémy "XTQZZZ" Quoniam, stepped in as well to say huNter-'s best positions aren't the lurky ones he has fulfilled in recent times, suggesting jks might just get what he is best at.
To get a better idea of what Mauisnake and kassad were talking about, I asked them both to elaborate on what their thoughts are on how good of a fit jks is in this new G2, which will also reportedly include Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen as the new in-game leader replacing Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen.
kassad: "Getting jks is probably the best move G2 could make at this moment"
kassad, who spent nearly three years standing behind jks as the coach and also played with NiKo in 2013 and coached him as well as huNter- in two different teams in 2016, didn't waste a moment to praise the addition. He touted it as "the best move G2 could make at this moment" and pointed out that he expects his former pupil to get nearly all the positions he likes on both sides.
"Their CT sides have been struggling on anchor positions and jks is playing that by nature, so it will fit in almost perfectly," the Serbian began. "Aside from his individual aiming/mechanic skills, Justin is very solid with utility and can take a secondary AWP, so having somebody versatile and reliable on for example A site Mirage will free up NiKo/m0NESY much more, especially in mid-to-late-round rotations."
"When it comes to T sides, I expect that jks gets all of his natural closer/lurking roles where he is at his best. The FaZe stint where he had to replace rain shouldn't be considered at all, and if you want the best version of jks you will put him in his natural positions."
kassad concluded his opinion by addressing where this will leave the entry position in G2 and the chemistry: "All this leaves the gap in the entry role, and I believe that it will most likely shift into the hands of whoever is the new IGL. It's the only way to do it with a lineup like this and it is not uncommon nowadays. The final aspect is the personality match, and knowing Justin for over five years and NiKo/huNter- for close to 15 there shouldn't be any problems in that area."
Mauisnake: "G2 now has a true finisher on the rifle side"
"jks was at the peak of his powers in 2019 while playing with Renegades which turned into 100 Thieves. The T-side calling of AZR and Renegades during that period involved many set piece type plays with a sprinkling in of layered map control procedures that led to bombsite pinches. This wasn't a team that was looking to default for 15 rounds straight on the offense," Mauisnake argues. "jks was frequently in the back for these plays throwing utility to set up jkaem, the designated space taker for this team. jks was frequently allowed to run in second behind Liazz on executes, although spawn-based calls could occasionally lead to jks running in first (it's based on whoever has the spawn, duh)."
"To concisely sum up jks' role on the T side, he was the closer. In the iteration of G2 we've been witnessing through 2022, I don't know who was supposed to be the closer. The most memorable clutches from this team were off the back of m0NESY's heroics, but G2 now has a true finisher on the rifle side."
Mauisnake offered a wider viewpoint on where HooXi will fit in at the helm and analyzed the Dane's leading style in Copenhagen Flames, before tying it back in with how he sees the in-game leader developing a similar dynamic in the new G2 team.
"One of the reasons I liked HooXi's induction into this lineup is that he doesn't overcomplicate T sides and he gives players their own autonomy. When I first watched HooXi's CPH Flames games, I was appalled at HooXi attempting to put himself in blameF-type positions, mimicking strategies from the 2020 Complexity. What he quickly realized was that he wasn't individually cut out for those positions, so he began to use himself more like karrigan does today, taking space and throwing his body to the wolves so his huNters can find the trades."
"I imagine this same sort of dynamic playing out on G2's new offense, where players like NiKo, jks, and huNter- can work behind a leader that understands his limitations and position in the pecking order. HooXi will attempt to take the first bite of the opponents, but it will be his stars who end up feasting."
Reports claim G2 submitted jks and HooXi in place of Audric "JACKZ" Jug and Aleksib for the first tournament following the off-season, the BLAST Premier Fall Groups, and should that be confirmed the new G2 will debut at the event in Copenhagen from August 19-28. We should then get some early answers on how these new pieces will work together in just a few weeks' time and if this is the combination that will finally get G2 some trophies after a long title-less drought.
Where do you stand on the changes? Is jks a good fit, or bad?