Evil Geniuses Show Potential At The Knights Arena Fall Frenzy
While the world has its steely gaze fixated on the Last Chance Qualifiers set to begin later this month all across the globe, Evil Geniuses still is battling to find its footing in the North American VALORANT ecosystem–and they may have struck paydirt.
Recently the team has undergone another marque shuffle with Evil Geniuses staple Nolan “Temperature” Pepper being loaned to Gen.G Esports head of their North American Last Chance Qualifier bid. His reported replacement–Jamal “jammyz” Bangash–and Evil Geniuses have just wrapped on an impressive first showing with the newly retooled squad at September’s Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet.
EG’s road to the quarterfinals–where they would take their exit–was paved with teams they should easily dispatch–but it was their final match against Complexity Gaming that has us raising our eyebrows. Drawing a top 15 team into deep waters is not something that just anyone can do and the form that Evil Geniuses showed–with such short notice regarding jammyz–only serves to bolster their confidence.
Let’s examine Complexity’s last five opponents just to establish what kind of calibre this competition truly was for Evil Geniuses. Complexity Gaming most recently has lost to DarkZero Esports and took Built By Gamers close in a narrow 1-2 loss.
Past that they’ve beaten the aforementioned Evil Geniuses, FLICKBAITERS, and Project A. Now, the transitive prosperity is not the lens we’re using to explore the possibilities of this team–meaning we don’t expect Evil Geniuses to go on and be able to challenge Built By Gamers as of right now–but don’t worry, they can. However, this does showcase two separate things; the promise of the core roster and the unique position that Evil Geniuses is in.
This was due to two major factors; the team’s dynamic entry style and commitment to map-wide threats. The pairing of Daniel “roca” Gustaferri and Kelden “Boostio” Pupello as Evil Geniuses’ entry threats live up to the team’s namesake. Throughout the majority of their game, you can find either one of them leading the charge–but the catch comes from what the other is up to in the shadows.
Let’s say that roca is on entry, as we see here against Complexity Gaming on Split, Boostio is lurking across the map to keep the enemy honest in their rotations. If successful, this conditions the enemy into slowly having to traverse the map with the possible upside of taking some expensive resources off the table as well.
Having two potential entry players also obfuscates the direction your team is headed. Lean too much on one person and you can stay to telegraph your intention based on your macro body language. This is not something Evil Geniuses have to worry about–past that, individual performances are also not something to draw concern to.
Let’s stay with EG’s narrow loss to Complexity for a moment, roca–a member of their entry pairing–dropped 240 average combat score (ACS), 41 kills, nearly 160 average damage done per round, 26% headshot percentage, and 9 first kills. If that’s not promising, then we’re not sure what is. To top it off you’ve also got jammyz–a new trial–averaging 223 ACS, a 26% headshot percentage, as well as a surprising 213.3 ADR.
Not convinced from just one match in particular. Fair. How about boostio’s performance against Built By Gamers during the Nerd Street Gamers Summer Championship? Do you fancy a stat line like 264 ACS, 75 kills, 161.7 ADR with 15 first kills across 3 maps? What about roca again showcasing that he is a lethal threat from the entry position in a loss to Cloud9 Blue?
The list goes on and on–with one constant; potential. And we’re not the only ones. As of writing this, vlr.gg has Evil Geniuses ranked at a modest 23rd in North America currently–but when you consider they’re right behind Andbox and above Renegades–you start to see the calibre of team you’re truly dealing with. Evil Geniuses performance during the Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet only served to compound that fact. Get in on the ground floor now because EG is only set to improve.
If we’re looking at this from a betting perspective, Evil Geniuses have a massive amount of upside. The core of the roster don’t jump off the page which drives expectations down, the organisation has the resources to support and facilitate the growth of the team, and the team has stayed active both in roster movements and competitively during 2020 post-season.
Will it take time for Evil Geniuses to be in the conversation? Undoubtedly, but the key takeaway is that they are on the right track to get there.
Images via Riot Games