Are Evil Geniuses Growing Into A North American VALORANT Contender?
After being forced to stand on the outside and look in last year, after rebuilding for 2022, we’re finally getting some real proof that Evil Geniuses are a team that can compete at the highest level in North American VALORANT. While their record thus far during the North American win of the VALORANT Champions Tour has been less than stellar, just getting in the mix of Stage 1 Challengers is likely a sign of things to come from the storied organization. Is this the start of something good? Is EG finding their footing and slowly becoming contenders domestically?
From his time Luminosity Gaming and beastcoast, the world knew Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond was capable of great things. And while Evil Geniuses did not prevail over his former home, his individual performance only further cements him as a significant element to EG success. Consistently coming up big for Evil Geniuses, YaBoiDre ended the three-map-set against Luminosity Gaming in style with 236 average combat score (ACS) and 158 average damage done per round (ADR). And while that doesn’t scream like an all-star level performance when you look at his spread across the series as a whole, while also still judging this based on a loss, the picture becomes clear; YaBoiDre is perfect for Evil Geniuses. He is a hyper consistent player, that has agent depth (with playtime on Sova, Chamber, and Sage within the last 30 days), and has the potential for upside. However, YaBoiDre has not been the only player the EG seemingly have gambled on and are likely to win big on.
Sticking with their match against Luminosity Gaming for a moment, Alexander “jawgemo” Mor continues to showcase a lot of promise. Take for example EG’s victory on Split, jawgemo led EG with a staggering 264 ACS, 20 kills, over 70% KAST (kills, assist, trade, survive percentage) and 4 first kills. By far he has been the most consistent threat this team brings to the table, jawgemo could easily grow into the position over time–and that’s the name of the game for EG right now. While individually Evil Geniuses continue to impress, their map statistics are a bit harder to parse through.
Evil Geniuses’ last ten outings on Bind were incredibly positive. With a 70% win rate, this should be a map EG can lay their heads on however during VCT: Stage 1 Challengers, Evil Geniuses are 0-2. Their opening match against XSET saw EG drop 7-13, namely off a difficult attacking half where they ended the half down 4-8. Following that, Evil Geniuses took on Luminosity Gaming during Week 2 and were quickly dispatched with a 2-13 loss on Bind. Even venturing outside of VCT, EG has had a rough go of it on Bind. Using their recent loss to Moon Raccoons during the Nerd Street Gamers: Winter Championship. While the 14-16 loss was much closer, the trend still remains; the map draft for Evil Geniuses could be in a transitional phase–and that’s inherently a bad thing.
It’s clear the team has confidence in Bind and being a fresh squad this year means problems like this are bound to arise. The fact of the matter is that it’s likely better for this to happen now and for new growth to spin up than late into the year when your options are truly limited. Now, we agree 100% that the VCT is a grueling format that does not allow for too many errors, but if you had to pick a time to see the difficulty, early on would be more beneficial.
While Haven and Breeze continue to be problem children for Evil Geniuses, tallying up a 59% win rate and a 29% win rate respectively during the last few months, this doesn’t mean they don’t have their wheelhouse maps.
Pulling from the start of last November, Evil Geniuses Split, Icebox, and Ascent are all strong picks that can help them turn the tide and see them exit VCT: Challengers with their heads held high. Past that, their Bind mishaps could be chalked up to bad form which is prone to happen, especially with how new the roster is.
The results will come with time, but North America is facing a serious shakeup. Past Evil Geniuses, teams like The Guard and XSET and Rise are all challenging the former status quo from last year and doing extremely well. Don’t get caught by the comfortability of the rose tint, Evil Geniuses are just a few moves away from becoming a serious threat in North American VALORANT and we’re seeing that built before our very eyes.
Images via Riot Games