Third time's the charm for G2 against emerging challengers.
Despite G2 Gozen winning the first Game Changers EMEA regional of the 2023 season on May 21, the teams path to the title was much more difficult than many expected thanks to them looking second best up until the grand final.
As well as winning the Game Changers World Championship last November, G2 Esports womens lineup had also won two of the last three regionals and finished as runners-up in the third. This regional dominance made their early losses to BBL Queens during Series One 2023 fairly surprising.
G2 and BBL looked a step ahead of their regional counterparts in this tournament making their initial head-to-head during the group stage a highly anticipated one with a map three overtime win to BBL cementing the Turkish lineup as a real challenger to the G2 dominance.
BBL Queens had competed in four prior Game Changers regionals but failed to get past the top eight. To remedy this, the team made multiple changes ahead of the 2023 season, bringing in Zehra “Felipa” Durak and Zeynep “Rayka” Kalkan to the team, who themselves had only had lower-level finishes in Game Changers competitions, as well as a new coach, Melih “Meseka” Kaya.
This change had made all the difference with BBL repeating their win against G2 in the playoffs winners bracket final making BBL the first team to beat G2 multiple times since they joined the VALORANT womens scene in October 2021.
Eventually, G2 finally recovered to beat BBL on their third attempt when it really mattered in the grand final. After G2 went up two maps, BBL looked to be ending the regional in style with a reverse sweep only to lose map five in a 9-13 scoreline. Nevertheless, the comeback was yet another reminder of how tight this meeting was, cementing BBL as a serious threat to G2s title hopes for the rest of the season.
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While G2s world championship title win meant the team was definitely the favorites coming into the regional, many did expect somewhat of an adjustment period after the teams captain, Julia “juliano” Kiran, left G2s VALORANT division in March to return to Counter-Strike. There she currently leads a newly formed G2 womens team alongside another ex-Gozen player, Zainab “zAAz” Turkie.
The core of the VALORANT title-winning G2 roster previously met in Counter-Strike at the beginning of 2020 where they won several high-profile womens tournaments before switching over to dominate VALORANT. Now with juliano opting to switch back, this left a massive hole in the team which they filled with Guild Xs Vivian “roxi” Schilling.
Guild X was Europes second-best team throughout 2022 and the only team to beat G2 Gozen in the 19 months prior to BBLs wins. This made a Guild X player the logical replacement to join G2 with roxi responding to any doubts fans had over her signing by simply saying We are not perfect, were allowed to have bad games, the important thing is you recover from those and come back stronger as she cemented the teams confidence in winning all three regionals in 2023.
Nevertheless, BBL Queens are also coming off of two big roster changes and did win the majority of maps played against G2, while in the one series they lost BBLs Aleyna “Vania” Keskin impressively netted over 100 kills while playing only controller agents showing the teams strength against the best.
This sets up a more competitive 2023 Game Changers season as BBL in Europe and Version1 later on the global stage both look to take advantage of any G2 weaknesses.
G2 Gozen will next be in action in the next Game Changers regional from July 3 to 30 where theyll hope to prove they are just as strong as last year with a second back-to-back title win.