Where Do Evil Geniuses VCT: Challengers Hope Lie?
With the 2022 VALORANT year igniting with some of the most competitive matches, North America has been put on notice. Some of the old guard teams we once thought untouchable and sure-bets to maintain have been made mortal, leaving room for the next class to graduate to the upper echelons of the regional ladder. And one team that is positioned to benefit the most is easily Evil Geniuses. With Group A up for grabs after 100 Thieves slipping, Sentinels looking questionable in Group B, and more matches to unravel this week–what lines should fans of Evil Geniuses be looking for to see them advance with their best foot forward?
If Evil Geniuses can strike at just the right angle, they can battle almost any team in this group close. The issue is, can they manufacture that level of consistency. Bring someone like Diondre “YaBoiDre” Bond in house, allowing themselves to bet on someone like Alexander “jawgemo” Mor while also knowing Kelden “Boostio” Pupello is waiting in the wings gives them that potential for upside while also having a sturdy base that can pop at a moments notice. However, when it comes to their peers, can Evil Geniuses hold a torch?
Speaking frankly, initial research seems fairly positive.
The Guard are a team that seems to be on a skyrocket trajectory with recent statement wins over the likes of Luminosity Gaming and XSET, both of which are featured in Group A, but what leaves them wanting is who they’ve also lost within the last month or so. The Pittsburgh Knights and Zero MarksMen Black are among the teams that have taken The Guard to their limit. Now by no means does that or should that discredit them, but it’s difficult to say where their ceiling sits. The fact that The Guard are mortal and have lost recently to opponents considered to be underneath them should give weight to a possible Evil Geniuses upset. By no means is that the typical or average match script between these two team but EG most certainly has the firepower and the brains to truly compete with The Guard and take them into deep waters.
100 Thieves dropping to Cloud9 Blue isn’t at all out of left field, but what is interesting is their strength of schedule before closing the event with their match against Evil Geniuses in Week 5. Dropping 0-2 is bad enough, but following that with a potent team in the form of The Guard and then having to play XSET in Week 4 leaves Evil Geniuses in a possible vulture position. Already taking some bruises, it’s possible Evil Geniuses could capitalize on a new roster that’s had a string of difficult recent showings.
And while Cloud9 Blue seems fairly untouchable, you have Luminosity Gaming who should be considered a slight more doable then the remaining teams. This is a roster that has lost in their last 3 outings, to The Guard, Complexity Gaming, and NRG Esports, while also fielding a new roster that is attempting to build the plane as they fly it. There is no doubt the team has potential, but looking at their histories stacked next to one another–it’s tough not to side with Evil Geniuses here especially with who they’ve played close recently.
This leaves Evil Geniuses with a possible 3-2 finish, which could sneak them into the playoffs all things considered. That outcome would already be a metric for success. Think of all the names left on the outskirts. Akrew, T1, TSM, some of the better names in North American VALORANT are missing and Evil Geniuses, with a retooled roster, is in the conversation for playoffs of Challengers 1.
While the road is difficult there are very tangible avenues for Evil Geniuses to advance within the top 4 of the group. All eyes should be situated on Group A. While it doesn’t jump off the page when it comes to name recognition, it is easily the more competitive group and that is someone fans of Evil Geniuses can rally behind. Nothing is certain in a group-of-death like this and that tends to favor the strongest underdog. Only two teams go home, and if EG plays their cards right–as they have recently–they have a strong shot at advancing into the VCT: Challengers playoffs.
Images via Riot Games.