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EG CS:GO – An unpredictable gamble

Evil Geniuses had a rough start with their rebrand in CSGO. The roster tried to achieve success in one of the darkest eras for NA CS, utilizing that timing to proclaim themselves as the saviors of NA CS. We now know how that endeavor ended, but the expectations that EG would follow the likes of C9 and 100T and just jump ship were wrong. The organization, despites its previous failures, seems committed to investing in the NA scene and has recently announced a lineup built around one of the crown jewels of the region, Stewie2K. The message, as EG’s CEO reiterated in a tweet, remains the same: save NA CS.

As we know, their first foray into CS:GO after the rebrand didn’t go as planned. Evil Geniuses began their previous project with a similar plan to what they have now, but with less exciting parts. Cerq and Brehze were supposed to be two incredible talents, but Tarik had already been past his prime for a long time and Stanislaw had just been leaving a trail of dissent and disappointment behind him. Ethan retired from CSGO to play Valorant and the team just went downhill from them. The legendary brazilian coach Zews joined the project to no luck, Daps followed suit also to no avail. 

The team never seemed to jell either with Obo or Michu and their results were always below the names in the roster. It was disappointing, yet predictable. Although the names looked decent on paper, the entire core of the roster were people on a consistent downtrend. This failed project turned NA into a single team region, effectively represented only by Team Liquid. Bringing the previously mentioned tweet up again, Thorin quote retweeted it precisely to point out how EG’s disaster contributed directly to the region’s issues. Nicole’s answer was, as both the Esports Historian and Richard Lewis mentioned in By the Numbers, quite refreshing. 

After taking the “L(earnings)”, EG seems to be mixing a bit of what they tried before with more unpredictable ingredients in their new lineup. Cerq and Brehze maintain their spots, but they’re now surrounded by three members of the Major winning C9 lineup. The roster would look quite promising on paper, if we weren’t in 2022. Autimatic and Rush haven’t been top names in NA CS for a long time. Rush has been grinding and trying his luck while the NA scene falls apart, but with little success. Autimatic, on the other hand, was literally playing another game in Valorant. The rest of the lineup, despite being more certain than these two names, still leaves a lot of questions hanging. 

Cerq and Brehze were one of the most exciting duos in NA CS while they were playing for NRG, but they never seemed to reach their full potential. The firepower is there if they manage to find it again, but it hasn’t been felt in the server recently. Stewie2k is the blockbuster signing for this EG roster, but even he brings a lot of uncertainty. The charismatic player has been consistently good every year, but he is now facing a new challenge. 

Stew has been splitting the IGL role in his previous rosters, calling an agressive, unpredictable game while often leading from the front as the entry fragger, but he’s been surrounded by veteran voices who can help carry the IGL burden. In this new EG line-up, that is not the case. Every member of the roster is experienced, but none of them have been known for their calling or active input in the game. Stewie2k will have to be the main in-game leader by himself, which will most likely be detrimental to his individual performance. His main help when it comes to calling, will be the last puzzling piece of the roster, Malek, the coach. 

The French coach had been firmly ingrained in his native scene with the G2 roster since 2018. The team did eventually go international, and the loss of most of the French players coincided with Malek’s departure. It’s never easy to gauge a coach’s role in a CSGO team, especially when they remain with the same organization for a long time. Malek might be a good fit for EG, but only time will tell if he will mesh well with the NA style of play.  

I know this viewpoint has been mostly negative regarding the new roster, but I actually see EG as a dark horse for this year. What makes me hesitant about this lineup is simultaneously what is exciting about it. They are unpredictable. They will take a while to get started, as their performances in Blast Spring 2022 has shown, but that is expected. Autimatic still needs to get back into shape, the team needs to get used to Stew’s calling and the IGL himself will require some time to get used to the role “full-time”. But there have been some good signs, nonetheless. Rush had a great first game, Cerq had some bright moments and Stewie’s calls on Inferno T-side had a lot of success. 

The “save NA” line has become a meme in the CS community, but this EG roster will undoubtedly be a key factor in bringing the NA scene back. Although Team Liquid has a very exciting lineup, one team doesn’t make a region. NA was at its best when the rivalries were at their peak, so EG needs to reach a level in which they can compete— or even beat— TL to breathe new life into the scene. 

The project might crash and burn, but if the gamble pays off, Evil Geniuses will be a very exciting team to watch, with an ever-present unpredictability that has always been one of the best aspects of NA CS. 

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