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Can Evil Geniuses Thrive During VCT: Challengers?

Evil Geniuses have booked their tickets to the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 1 Challengers in North America. After ending 2021 on a quiet note, they’ve marched triumphantly with a brand new roster ready to rival some of North America’s best. With the groups laying in wait, can Evil Geniuses make a statement at North America’s first major event of the year? 

Riding with some serious wind in their sails after the second open qualifier, Evil Geniuses have showcased the potential we all knew they had. With dominant and sweeping victories over the likes of Team Basilisk, Pack a Punch, Ghost Gaming and Rise, Evil Geniuses only dropped two maps throughout their qualification. This should speak volumes to where they sit when competing against some of the best and most active teams in North American VALORANT at the moment. 

And with a recent report coming out from Dot Esports revealing the groups for Stage 1 Challengers, we can accurately start to piece together what their chances are like at possibly securing a Masters ticketing and some incredibly important circuit points. 

According to a report by Dot Esports’ George Geddes, the Stage 1 Challengers stable will be divided into two groups of six. Group A will house the likes of 100 Thieves, XSET, Cloud9 Blue, The Guard, Luminosity Gaming, and Evil Geniuses. Group B will feature Sentinels, Version1, Envy, NRG, Knights, and Rise. And while there are teams that Evil Geniuses have toppled recently outside of their group, their peers are not all world-beaters. 

Bringing a new iteration to the North American VALORANT table, 100 Thieves provides an interesting test for EG. With former FaZe Clan ace Hunter “BabyJ” Schline and Team Liquid player Adam “ec1s” Eccles, joining their ranks, 100 Thieves should be considered a favourite to make it out of the group. However, without any stage time as of late, there is some serious upset potential to be had. With Evil Geniuses keeping warm in the lower rungs of the North American ladder, that experience together could be vital for the team in a possible upset of any team–100 Thieves included.  

XSET provides one of the most stinging losses within recent memory. During Nerd Street Gamers Winter Championship, the two teams paired off and XSET quickly dispatched Evil Geniuses with a 13-5 loss on Haven. This also echoes some of their previous meetings. Prior to Evil Geniuses roster swap, they also lost a narrow 1-2 series to XSET in the quarterfinals of Nerd Street Gamers Winter Championship Open 7. 

Cloud9 Blue are a force to be reckoned with and are easily going to advance as the top seed in the group. The former VALORANT Champions attendees have been in top form with their victory at the Knights’ VALORAMPAGE. It’ll be a tall task for EG to best such an international competitor. 

Then there are teams like The Guard and Luminosity Gaming, both of which hold a sense of volatility to them. Both seem to hold a similar caliber and both feature some recent roster moves which also could cause some added stress. 

Evil Geniuses have a solid chance of making a deep run with some rather surprising wins over the likes of The Guard and Luminosity Gaming but to cement the Cinderella run they would need to upset a team at the caliber of 100 Thieves. None of which are outside the realm of possibility. Even with their new roster, Evil Geniuses need to be and should be considered a threat in North America. 

Images via Riot Games