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Can Evil Geniuses Rise During Rival 1?

With VALORANT Champions right around the corner, those who sit are not simply looking in from the outside. The tier 2 scene continues to trudge forward and with that Evil Geniuses has their next battleground set; Rival Room’s Rival 1.

Evil Geniuses must battle through Group B and pair off against teams like Radiance, Elysium, and Resonate to attempt to capture their part of a $5,000 prize purse. With another chance to climb the North American VALORANT ladder ahead of the 2022 season, what does EG’s chance look like at this event? 

From an early glance, Evil Geniuses should have a solid chance of advancing from the group stage, but when you take a closer look things become slightly more difficult than just name recognition. EG’s last two meetings against Radiance, which funnily enough happened this month, resulted in massive successes for the veteran North American esports franchise. At both the VALORANT Elite Showdown and Nerd Street Gaming’s Winter Championship, Evil Geniuses has risen to the occasion and has toppled Radiance. 

This rubber match will likely come down to Evil Geniuses’ explosive Jett ace Kelden “Boostio” Pupello. Through the VALORANT Elite Showdown, Boostio managed a staggering 352 average combat score (ACS), 87 kills, 221.9 average damage done per round, and 23 first kills. That kind of power cannot go unchecked, however, the question remains; will Radiance be able to contain Boostio’s impact? 

Evil Geniuses’ most difficult competition comes by way of Elysium. Earlier this year, EG caught the better of Elysium during the Nerd Street Gamer’s March Monthly, winning both their best-of-one and their eventual best-of-three rematch. However, during their more recent meeting last month at the Knights Monthly tournament, Elysium scored a win over Evil Geniuses in a best-of-one on Icebox. That format could come back to bite them as the group stage for Rival 1 will feature a GSL style, best-of-one placement ahead of their playoffs. 

One of the big glaring points to their previous match was how quiet some of EG’s prominent members have been. On top of that, this was also early in the EG’s scouting for their fifth and final member–and while nothing has been officially confirmed it’s clear that the team feels comfortable playing alongside Jeffrey “Reformed” Lu.

This also opens another discussion around Nolan “Temperature” Pepper’s homecoming to the active roster. After returning from loan earlier this month from Gen.G Esports, Temperature has yet to start with his old squad, which leaves us wondering; could Rival 1 be the time to pull the trigger and reactivate the promising North American contender? 

Last but not least Evil Geniuses have to battle Resonate, someone from whom they have a positive but mixed bag of results. Going 2-1 in best-of-three sets against Resonate within the last five or so months, Evil Geniuses have a history but one that hasn’t necessarily been tested with their new roster–which is arguably more potent. This is one of the match records that looks more daunting than it actually is. Their mixed results should be taken with a grain of salt with how far back they happened and with how much Evil Geniuses have evolved both in terms of their starting roster and their strategies. 

That begs the question; with all that in mind, does EG make it out of this group? 

A resounding “yes” should herald the halls of Evil Geniuses. While they carry history with each of their Group B competitors, most of that is positive. On top of that, Evil Geniuses have made serious changes to their macro strategies that this match record simply doesn’t take into account. And with fairly recent wins over teams like Knights, Andbox and Limit, Evil Geniuses look in top form ahead of Rival 1. 

Images via Riot Games

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