With The International 7 less than three weeks away, it’s time that we put the spotlight on North America’s finest squad, Evil Geniuses.
Changing of the Guard
Evil Geniuses are a model of consistency; only a few organisations can ever compare to what the boys in blue have achieved.
Yet, despite being one of the winningest organisations in professional Dota, the team has never been one to shy away from taking big risks.
A good example of such a risk was them picking up SumaiL, who then had yet to turn 15, back in 2015. Of course, the move has since paid dividends for the organisation, as the young prodigy, who is now known as one of the best players in the world, was one of the main reasons why they were able to secure their win at TI5.
Even as defending champs at TI6, though, Evil Geniuses were unafraid to make changes to the team throughout the season. They shuffled players at the cost of their direct invite, experimented with their players in different roles – Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis moved from the carry role to support and back to carry again – and even ran unorthodox lineups, often to a great degree of success.
So, it wouldn’t really come off a surprise if the team would try to change things up after a 3rd-place finish at TI6 and they certainly did.
Gone was Fear from the lineup, who was now the coach of the team. Meanwhile, their longtime captain, Peter ‘ppd’ Dager, had now moved on to management and became the CEO of the organisation.
Replacing them were Arteezy, who had previously played for Team Secret, and Cr1t-, a two-time Major winner with Team OG, who they had surprisingly made the captain of the team.
Steady As She Goes
For an organisation that has already won it all at TI5 and has yet to place lower than 3rd since TI4, Evil Geniuses aren’t exactly known for taking home a lot of LAN titles. However, whenever they do play in a tournament, they’re always in the running for the top spot and under their new captain’s leadership, things remained exactly the same way.
While Cr1t- was unable to guide the team to a Major title, they were able to able to win MDL 2016 and The Manila Masters 2017, among many others, and also placed high in other LAN tournaments, all the while finishing 3rd-4th at both The Boston Major 2016 and The Kiev Major 2017.
Perhaps more important than the wins, however, is the fact that the roster has remained intact since their formation post-TI6.
Gone are the midseason player shuffles and role changes that plagued the team in the past two years. Although you really still can’t take it away from them to try to experiment with unconventional heroes and lineups.
Case in point, the team drafted 10 different heroes in 10 straight games in the EPICENTER 2017 playoffs, including a mid Earthshaker that went 16-0 against the DAC 2017 champs Invictus Gaming and a similarly dominant mid Ancient Apparition against Clutch Gamers, for SumaiL.
Evil Geniuses won 9 out of those 10 games and would finish the tournament in 2nd-place after having picked 12 different heroes in 15 games for SumaiL throughout the playoffs.
Evil Geniuses – The Boys in Blue
- Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev
- Sumail ‘Suma1L’ Hassan
- Saahil ‘UNiVeRsE’ Arora
- Ludwig ‘zai’ Wåhlberg
- Andreas ‘Cr1t-‘ Neilsen
Other than being the most stable Evil Geniuses roster in a while, the roster heading into The International 7 is probably the team’s most talented yet; each player ranks one of the very best in their respective roles. In particular, many consider SumaiL and UNiVeRsE as the best mid and offlaners in the world today.
Thanks to their sheer skill and talent, every single game they’ve played have been an absolute joy to watch, even in defeat. However, losing is still losing and defeat is simply unacceptable for an organisation used to winning so much.
For all the team’s relative success throughout the year, the fact remains that they were unable to take home any one of the Major titles. Failing to defend their title at MDL 2017 only makes matters worse.
With that said, the pressure is now on for Evil Geniuses’ newest member and captain, Cr1t-, to deliver his team to the proverbial promised land at Seattle in August.
Be sure to follow us here at Esportsranks for the latest on your favourite Esports titles and for our next “Road to Seattle” feature, where we’ll talk about the unlikely champions of CIS Dota, Virtus.Pro.