Who is maLeK? – The Mind Behind Evil Geniuses
While expectations might be high for Evil Geniuses due to their potential and illustrious backgrounds, one thing that is not often talked about is the pedigree they house behind the scenes. And his head coach Damien “maLeK” Marcel’s resume, it’s hard to argue that some of their future success is not thanks to some of his work.
Before he stepped behind the curtain to raise the next generation of Counter-Strike professionals, maLeK was a player himself in Counter-Strike: Source. Carrying the banner for teams like H2K Gaming in 2008 and Tt.Dragons in 2012. And after a minor stint as a player during 2016 with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, he moved into the coach’s chair in the following year.
MaLeK’s first big break came by way of the North American organization Team Envy in the Spring of 2017. Set to take charge of the majority French team consisting of legends like Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, and Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer, all eyes were on Team Envy throughout the next year. And while their consistency was certainly not their strong point, they did have some serious success.
Earning 4th at the Kraków EU Minor, 3-4th at DreamHack Valencia, 1st at DreamHack Atlanta, 2nd at the Europe Minor Championship in Boston, and 3-4th at DreamHack Winter to close the year. A poor showing at the Boston Major at the start of 2018 signaled ill omens for maLeK and by the summer he moved on to his next project; 3DMAX.
Still working within a majority French roster, 3DMAX battle through the European tier 2 events with relative success. After three months working with the team and leading them to a 1st place finish at ESEA Season 28: Premier Division, maLeK would catch the eye of G2 Esports.
For the next 3 years, maLeK would see the roster through success like landing second at cs_summit 5 and at Intel Extreme Masters XIV – World Championship, as well as roster turmoil moving from a majority French roster to something increasingly more mixed across the board.
An insight into the mind of this prolific coach was given during an interview ahead of G2’s appearance at Flashpoint 3. Originally asked about how G2 planned on handling the AWP, maLeK revealed more on how the team was more focused on finding their identity. “The first thing was to not think of a ‘main AWP’ but to think of our qualities, what we possess, how we want to play the game, and not listening to any desk [talking about] the ‘AWP meta’”, he chuckled.
“Even though it’s true, the AWP is super powerful. We wanted to look at each other and ourselves and what we can produce map by map. And find what kind of identity we can have and how we can make it work.”
After G2’s silver medal at the PGL Major Stockholm, maLeK would part ways with the organization he had spent so much time alongside.
And with some season’s greetings, maLeK would ink a deal with Evil Geniuses.
“Hey EG I’m very excited to announce that I will be taking over as head coach for the CS:GO roster for next season,” he said in a video posted to their social media. “[I am] super thrilled to work with Brehze and CeRq for next season and we are building the roster currently. Super excited to announce more!”
With two incredibly young prospects and a core that shocked the world in Boston, maLeK has helped build an incredible potent roster. So when we review EG’s firepower–just remember–it’s not just the players that come with some experience.
Images via Valve.