EG – Ever Back to Glory?

Evil Geniuses TI 5

Evil Geniuses, one of the oldest North American eSports organizations, enters the Dota 2 scene in October 2011. Players like Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho, Clinton “Fear” Loomis, Rasmus “MiSeRy” Berth Filipsen, Per-Anders “Pajkatt” Olsson Lille, Sam’ “BuLba” Sosale and Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora have been part of the squad throughout the first few years, but the team had up and down results in this time period. In January 2014, former Heroes of Newerth players peterpandam (later ppd) and zai team up with Fear and UNiVeRsE, also bringing up and coming pubstar Canadian player Arteezy to form S A D B O Y S; ppd takes the role of captain, surging their way to a 19 game win streak. This run ends up with the team being picked up by Evil Geniuses organization in February. It was Clinton “Fear” Loomis as carry, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev on the mid lane, Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora on the off lane, Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg as position 4 support and, of course, Peter “ppd” Dager at the 5.

Bad luck strikes the team after losing Fear due to a wrist injury, having him replaced by their standing player, Mason “mason” Venne, who will take on the mid role, while Arteezy shifts to position number 1. In August 2014, EG finishes 3rd on The International 4 and announce themselves as one of the forces in Dota for the next season, after Fear returning.

They confirm the expectations, finishing second at ESL One New York and winning WESC 2014, StarLadder, and DreamLeague; but after dominating the second half of 2014, they again take a huge, unexpected blow, by losing Arteezy and Zai to Team Secret. The hijacking of their young star players left a lot of bitterness between these two teams, but, most importantly for EG, it left them completely exposed, without two highly skilled players on the mid lane and support role.

They quickly pick up Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling to play the 4, but the team was desperate to find a new high individual skill star player and took a look at 15-year-old Pakistani Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan, who showed a lot of promise in the North American Elite League.

The New EG Star Suma1L

UNiVeRsE insisted to get Suma1L on their roster and, in the end, they snatched him as their mid laner. Although his raw skill was at a high level from the get-go, there were always doubts about someone so young, relocating to a country with a different culture, having to deliver on such an important position on the big stage.

The new roster makes its debut at Dota 2 League Season 5; Suma1L shows flashes of brilliance, but struggles to adapt to the rigors of high level pro Dota, some even questioning his spot in the team.

In the end, this was mainly a warm-up for the next tournament, Dota Asia Championship 2015. Organized in Shanghai, it offered a prize pool of $3,057,519, the 2nd in all Dota history at that time, with $1,284,158 for the crowned champion, making it the 3rd biggest ever.

With all 16 teams in one group, EG finishes 11-4 to take the 3rd seed. They looked as one of the strongest teams in the tournament, playing to prioritize Suma1L having a good game, drafting his heroes last a big number of times and tailoring their strats to protect him and make him feel as comfortable as possible.

A Memorable Suma1L Game

Suma1L relished in this situation and delivers on the big stage, catching the full attention of the entire Dota community. The team is knocked down to the lower bracket by Vici Gaming, but this somewhat helps them understand the way they play when they face them again in the grand finals.

EG sweep Vici Gaming behind Suma1L’s phenomenal play, showing great poise, even at that age, by mounting one of the greatest individual comebacks in game 3 on Storm Spirit, undoubtedly his best hero.

Before the 5 minutes mark, he dies 4 times, the most for any player at the tournament, but ends up with 6 kills before minute 10, for the 2nd most at the event, in the end carrying his team to victory.

EG maintain a high level of play in the following months, placing 2nd at MLG Pro League Season 1, The Summit 3, ESL One Frankfurt 2015 and winning Dota Pit League Season 3, in preparation for that year’s International. They were considered one of the teams with a good shot at winning the most prestigious tournament in eSports.

Evil Geniuses @ The International 5

The International 5 amounted to $18,429,613 as prize pool that season, giving $6,634,661to the champion. In a group of 8, EG finished 1st, with a 10 – 4 record, ppd fully displaying his drafting skills and showing why he was arguably the best captain in the game at that time.

One memorable matchup in the group stage is the one against CDEC, who were having an excellent campaign behind an almost unstoppable 5 man strat. ppd picks Techies in both matches, not just for the fans’ delight, but because it forced CDEC to split their heroes across the map and prevented them from 5 maning, which resulted in two easy EG wins.

The team continued to play well in the playoff stage, defeating Complexity 2 – 0 and EHOME 2 – 1, for a place in the winner bracket finals, where they were about to face CDEC Gaming.

They proved to be the biggest surprise of the competition, after getting into the tournament from the wild card qualifying round. The Chinese team ban Techies both matches and completely steamrolled over EG in two convincing games, advancing to the grand finals.

dota 2 international 5 EG

The International 5 Dota 2 Final

Down to the lower bracket, Evil Geniuses defeat LGD Gaming 2 – 0, advancing in the championship round, for another showdown with CDEC.

Once again, they learn from their losses in the previous matchup, and defeat CDEC 3 – 1 to crown themselves the TI 5 champions, securing the title with a memorable play, called by the community “the 6 million dollars Echo Slam”. The team looked to have a perfect synergy behind Suma1L’s aggressiveness and lane domination, ppd’s great drafting, UNiVeRsE’s great playmaking, Fear’s solid carry play and Aui’s farming supports.

Arteezy returns to EG

Just a few days after the grand finals win, Team EG make a very surprising decision and kick Aui_2000 from the team in order to bring back Arteezy from Team Secret. Since his departure from EG, he had won 4 tournaments, 2 by defeating EG in the finals. Secret were entering TI 5 as arguably the biggest favorite. They end up with a disappointing 7th – 8th place, which leads to disbanding the roster.

The move to bring Arteezy instead of Aui was a bit controversial and, if analyzed a little bit deeper, it didn’t look to make a lot of sense. Although in theory, EG seemed to have a better team now by adding a higher skilled player in Arteezy, the move completely disrupted that great synergy.

It wasn’t necessarily the fact that Aui was removed, there were many players capable of replacing what he brought to the team, but in order to bring a high maintenance carry player like Arteezy, they had to make significant changes to the way they play. Fear had to take the position 4 support to make room for Arteezy, who, as a player, demands a lot of attention and needs a lot of farming to be efficient.

Aui 2000 Dota 2

This shifted the team’s main focus when they had great success, from giving Suma1L a good start, where he can snowball from, to splitting the farm priorities between the two or having Arteezy as the main focus. Suma1L was sometimes put in situations where he was playing heroes like Axe on the off lane for example, a position which doesn’t bring out the true value of his skills.

EG remained one of the strongest teams in Dota  2 in this new formula as well, finishing 2nd at MLG World Finals, 3rd at Frankfurt Major, while ending the year with a win at the Summit 4.

Evil Geniuses in 2015/2016 season

This pace continued at the beginning of 2016, with 2nd place at SLTV i-League Season 13 and 3rd at Shanghai Major, but after a 3 – 0 loss in the finals of Dota Pit League Season 4 against MVP Phoenix, Arteezy once again leaves EG for Team Secret, followed by off lane player UNiVeRsE.

This is a huge blow for Evil Geniuses; challenged to replace two key players on the fly, they look at two former players, Bulba for position 3 and Aui 2000, this time playing the carry. After a 3rd place at WePlay League Season 3, a series of disappointing results followed, including finishing basically last at the Manila Major.

A roster retool was obviously needed, so the team was happy to take back another two former players, Zai and UNiVeRsE, whose stint with Team Secret was very short as it turned into a disaster. He and Fear took back their original roles, off lane and carry, with Zai as position 4 to go alongside ppd and Suma1L.

Because of the bad results and roster shakeup, EG didn’t have a direct invite to The International 6, so they played the Americas Qualifiers to get into the tournament, which they easily won.

With a similar roster to the one in 2015’s edition, having Zai instead of Aui playing position 4, EG got into The International 6 with high expectations. They finished Group A second and played Newbee in the first winner bracket matchup. A swift 2 – 0 win had them facing EHOME in the next round.

First game was a 75-minute bloodbath; the Chinese team manages to get mega creep advantage and feels close to victory, but EG shows amazing resilience and creativity. Pulling out some amazing Dagon plays to get several key enemies kills, they come back to snatch the victory, in what ended as one of the best games in TI history.

Advancing to the winner bracket finals, they get stopped by Wings Gaming in a dominating fashion and ended up facing Digital Chaos for a place in the grand finals. This series went to a game 3, where EG had another thriller matchup making the case for one of the best at the competition.

Although Evil Geniuses looked like the stronger team for a big part of the game, DC managed to outmaneuver them with amazing rat tactics and get an impressive win. EG get the 3rd place and almost 2.2 million dollars out of the 20.7 million prize pool.

Evil Geniuses in 2016/2017 season

The team starts next season with a different roster: ppd and Fear retired and took the positions of CEO and coach respectively. Cr1t joins the club as captain and Arteezy returns to take the carry role. The team plays off the high individual skill of its players and starts the season well, with a win at the MarsTV Dota 2 League Autumn 2016.

Other tournaments they win this season are China Top 2016, Dota Pit League Season 5 and The Manila Masters. They secure 3rd places at the two majors in Boston and Kiev, being defeated both times by OG and reach the finals of Epicenter, having high hopes for the coming TI in August 2017.

The International 7 group stage well for EG, finishing 3rd in the group stage with a good 11 – 5 record. They face a tough Newbee team in the first round of the winner bracket and lose 2 – 0, only to repeat the same result on the lower bracket against Team Empire and exit the tournament in a disappointing fashion.

Beginning of the following 2017 – 2018 season finds Zai replaced by Fear. In the new competition format of 11 Major and 11 Minor tournaments, the team didn’t perform as last few seasons, 3rd place at DreamLeague Season 8 being the only significant achievement. After the final tournament of 2017, EG and UNiVeRsE part ways and his place is being taken by Misery, who also becomes the team’s captain.

For this formula to work, EG once again makes significant changes to the players’ roles. Out of Fear, Arteezy, and Suma1L, the most suitable for the off-lane position is the latter. Arteezy moves to Suma1L’s place on mid, while Fear takes his role as carry. Cr1t is no longer the team’s captain but remains on the team as position 4.

Suma1L needs to make a huge adjustment to his game in this new role. His superior lane domination is not this big of a factor now, as there are not as many opportunities for 1 on 1 matchups on the off lane.

Dota 2 Team EG 2018