What Can We Learn From The VALORANT Elite Showdown?
Evil Geniuses VALORANT roster just wrapped up a promising performance at the Community Gaming VALORANT Elite Showdown. Racing against the likes of TSM Academy, Pioneers, SoaR, Pittsburgh Knights, and NRG Esports, Evil Geniuses made a splash at one of the final tournaments, outside of VALORANT Champions, of this year. This form that EG showcased hints at possible changes and strengths coming into both the new year and presumably the new season of the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT).
Evil Geniuses continue to innovate and experiment with how they play their entry into spike sites. Daniel “roca” Gustaferri continues to take an aggressive approach to Skye, oftentimes being the team’s entry fragger, but with this new agent, he also brings more flexibility to the map in general. It is this additional information that gives EG so many different options in the mid-round that makes them so deadly. Normally this more methodical approach that Evil Geniuses showcases against the Pittsburgh Knights on Ascent would be much more difficult to execute.
Mike “pho” Panza’s position at the top of mid continues as normal, but it’s their B-site jab for information that is much more costly if roca is piloting his Reyna. With only two Leers at your disposal, the more intangible timer that is placed on the attacking team becomes much more accelerated, forcing a high tempo. This often can lead to fairly telegraphed attacks, especially if the defending team can catch any patterns or scout the push before the attack catalyzes.
This push could not have happened without the added utility from Skye’s kit. However, that’s not to say that roca has abandoned his Reyna. He still features it on Icebox primarily and continues to be both a space creator and an offensive threat.
Take this example from their decisive win over actually homeless in the Round of 16. Roca is still putting up 18 kills, 289 average combat score (ACS) and 193.2 ADR with 5 first kills on Reyna. As they continue to refine their compositional versatility, it is this flexibility that is going to pay off for Evil Geniuses in the long run. This dominance further enforces another potential ban against Evil Geniuses.
Icebox has looked good from them as of late. Within the last three months, EG has amassed an impressive 64% win rate (7-4) on Icebox largely thanks to roca’s prowess on Reyna. Now Icebox is in the running with their other two best maps. Both Split with a 68% win rate (13-6) and Ascent with a 69% win rate (9-4) are dangerous battlegrounds for some of North America’s finest to take EG.
Speaking of pho, he truly is coming into his own on Sova. Statistically, he was hitting the mark, but in Evil Geniuses final match in the Community Gaming VALORANT Elite Showdown against the Knights, pho came alive. Take this clutch Recon Dart to save the round from certain defeat. Not only does he have the presence of mind to call that play, but he helps Kelden “Boostio” Pupello secure the spike, pho then wins the duel, leaving the round a 3v1 in favour of EG. Again statistically pho has been hitting the mark, within the last 60 days he’s managed 207.4 ACS and 144.4 ADR. It feels as though both these snap decisions and set plays with his Recon Darts are becoming more and more frequent.
Everything’s coming up aces right now for Evil Geniuses and while the trophy case looks a little lonely, that won’t be for too much longer. There is a lot to be excited about for EG. This new slower pace and new composition without losing their explosive touch reinforces how much of a genuine threat Evil Geniuses’ are moving into 2022 and the future of North American VALORANT.
Images via Riot Games