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Where Does Evil Geniuses Go Next With VALORANT?

2022 has brought massive change to the VALORANT landscape, and Evil Geniuses has not been spared from that dynamic shift. With the departure of Daniel “roca” Gustaferri, Brandon “BRANTED” Ballard, and Nolan “Temperature” Pepper, EG’s VALORANT roster is looking for a revival. That all begs the question; where do Evil Geniuses go next with its VALORANT roster? 

VALORANT had an incredible first year and 2022 looks to level up that experience. And with these roster moves, it seems as though Evil Geniuses are making a big play for a total evolution rather than just small, incremental improvements. This also seems to be within EG’s playbook. Recall back to their initial launch, results didn’t follow in lockstep and the organization made significant changes which saw drastic improvements. Now, according to vlr.gg’s North America rankings, Evil Geniuses are ranked 18th, which allows them a sturdy diving board to be able to attack this offseason with some sizable moves. 

One thing the North American VALORANT landscape does not lack is a potential laden roster that easily could house the next generation of EG stars. Teams like Pioneers, Akrew, even Built By Gamers all could hold the foundational puzzle pieces to help bring Evil Geniuses closer to contender status. The major difficulty is the uncertainty of their direction.

Currently, the starting roster only has two active members signed, explosive duelist Kelden “Boostio” Pupello and ironclad support Mike “pho” Panza. That means Evil Geniuses still maintain their punching power, even if it has diminished with the absence of roca, and still maintain a strong supportive presence.

The additional members may fill out a single duelist format which seemed to be the direction the team was headed as they attempted to have roca pilot Skye on select maps. Perhaps they want to toss a line to another duelist to regain the punching power that they had previously with roca on his signature pick of Reyna. 

What is more exciting is the possible trend of courting international talent. We’ve seen Japan signing many of the top South Korean free agents and select North American teams aiming to grab certain European talents. We’ve recently seen Gen.G Esports do this with Emir “rhyme” Muminovic, and Evil Geniuses could also be making a similar play. It’s a difficult prediction to make with the facts laid out on the table but one that has to be considered. 

What is that obvious from Evil Geniuses is that this is a team that is agile, that wants to move quickly and shuffle often. And that comes with select pros and cons. This allows them to field new recruits and search for improvements quite often, however, on the flipside that agility is going to undercut their consistency, which is understandable.

While this is a massive change, this is far from a death knell for one of North America’s most veteran esports organizations. Boostio and pho both have had stand out performances which make them incredibly exciting set pieces to build around. And with EG’s pedigree and resume in other esports like League of Legends, they handle rebuilding and often land on the successful side of offseason roster movements. 

Images via Riot Games

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