A YEAR IN REVIEW - EVIL GENIUSES
2021 Season - A Preview
With the 2021 Spring Split looming over the 10 teams in the LCS, roster changes were a major factor heading into the season. Golden Guardians had sold a majority of their roster to 100 Thieves, Perkz switched from the LEC to LCS joining Cloud9, and Evil Geniuses had a diverse roster ready to go. I asked one fan within the Evil Geniuses Discord his thoughts heading into 2021 and he responded, “The off-season was pretty rough, our whole team was formed well other than the ADC position where we somewhat improvised on our pick. Though after a strong Lock-In Tournament performance I had high hopes, the main question that remained was ‘Can we make worlds?’” (Credit @gluracific on Twitter). Another fan said, “ I saw Evil Geniuses as a ‘Dark Horse’ pick for Worlds! While not guaranteed we had a good chance at blowing people’s expectations out of the water.”(Credit @Edgyhoon on Twitter) Worlds would always be the focus for every team, even the ones who knew struggles were afoot. EG would keep their heads held high with this exceptional roster finishing T4 during the Lock-In Tournament to Team Liquid.
The Woes of Spring
After what can be considered a respectable finish in the Lock-In tournament, it caused hopes to rise from the Evil Geniuses fanbase. As the Spring Split began the disappointing results at the start were quite a let down for many of the hardcore fans. EG would start week 1 of the Split with a 2-1 record only losing to 100Thieves. As time progressed they would finish the split off with a slew of back and forth wins and losses ending at 10-8. They would sit in 6th place going towards the summer and ultimately would make some roster changes that would help the team. Rookie Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki would be given the call to replace Deftly heading into Summer. Danny had a stellar performance during Proving Grounds and as a member of EG Prodigies. @Thenatorade on Twitter stated that, “EG had always had an eventful game of Win/Lose. Win streaks are not common for the team, most of the time it's these back and forth win/loss streaks and ultimately this hurts the team. Though the team even when they lose never go down without a fight.’ I think a lot can be said about Evil Geniuses as a team from this fan’s statement. The resilience of Evil Geniuses even in the rough times like the 2021 Spring Split shows that this team is always looking to be better. It seems like most of the time, many of the games they end up losing are from rather micro/macro decisions that change the outcome of the game. Even though most of Spring can be seen in a negative connotation, there were many great takeaways from it. Impact had a very strong performance in top lane, and the synergy between Impact and Jizuke was very prevalent in team fighting and various plays made around the map. As the split came towards its close, EG saw growth as a team and the overall coordination and synergy between each player foretold the strength and great outcomes that would be seen during the Summer Split.
Summer Split Excitement!
With the Spring Split not showing the results Evil Geniuses were looking for, changes were made. At the end of Spring, moving towards Summer Split, Danny was called up from EG Prodigies to replace Deftly to try and establish a more solidified bottom half of the map, as well as give an opportunity to an up and coming player. Danny had a breakout performance in the Summer eventually earning the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title. With a new look and rejuvenated lineup showing up Evil Geniuses would prepare for what would be an incredible Split. I asked @TheNatorade his expectations heading into the second half of the season and he responded, “My expectations for the summer split were dominance, With our missing piece being on our Amateur team all along, the pairings with Jizuke, Impact, and the rest of the team were looking to be very strong. Our coaching staff I saw as underrated, I knew they had the potential to take over the league and prove the haters wrong. Overall I was excited to see how the split would turn out.” His expectations were correct, EG would have a stellar performance during the Summer. They would tie 100 Thieves for the best record at 18-9 and finish at 28-17 overall. Heading into Playoffs they would secure 3rd place and face Dignitas in the first round. Not only did they finish first in the split, Evil Geniuses would earn a plethora of awards. Artemis, Peter Dun, Mash, and Turtle would earn coaching staff of the split, Jizuke would earn 1st All-Pro team of the year, and Danny would earn Rookie of the Year. Impact would also be elected to the 2nd All-Pro team during the split and would earn Player of the Week during week 7. The strong showings from the whole squad over at the Evil Geniuses camp would give fans the “NA Hopium '' they wanted heading into playoffs. With Worlds being the ultimate goal, EG would put in tons of time, effort, and sweat into preparations for playoffs.
2021 Playoffs - A Saga of Happiness and Woes.
Needless to say, Playoffs did not go the way EG was expecting it too. With what can be considered a Worlds quality roster in mine and many fans eyes, the disappointment of not earning that berth was disappointing. Though Evil Geniuses did give LCS fans some incredible back and forth games to watch. The first round started against Team Dignitas which would be a pretty easy 3-1. EG had done their homework and prepared well for them. The Semi Finals would have them facing 100 Thieves and boy was that an INCREDIBLE series to watch. Back and forth the whole time, with many people expecting 100T to crumble under the pressure and have EG sneak by with the upset. We would see my favorite play of the season, and I still bring it up to this day, Danny’s 1v5 to force a game 5. This series would end in heartbreak, as they would fall to the lower bracket to face Cloud9. The series versus 100 Thieves was easily my favorite series to watch during playoffs as it brought the excitement I wanted to see, coming right down to the wire. Facing a stronger opponent would have EG succumb to the pressure, falling 0-3 to C9 and bowing out of the 2021 Summer Playoffs tied for 6th. This disappointing finish would lead to what can be considered a major offseason for the team as changes needed to be made for this squad to produce the results the owners and fans would want.
What comes next? An overview of 2022.
With the 2021 season at a close and the offseason in full effect it left all fans of the LCS with the question, “What's next.” What offseason moves would we see, what teams would look to win it all in 2022, and what teams would fall off the most heading into the upcoming Lock-In tournament and Spring 2022 Split. With 2021 not finishing in the way they hoped, Evil Geniuses shook up the league with a series of major roster changes. First one of EG’s most beloved players Jizuke’s contract would end, which would lead to new changes in the EG roster. This would bring new dynamics to the team. As a result, EG would promote Jojopyun from their Academy team to fill in this gap. The 2021 offseason would also see the transfer of Contractz, he would join the squad over at Counter Logic Gaming. He would soon be replaced by a man who needs no introduction, Inspired , who would make the EU to NA switch, leaving Rogue to join the EG family. Finally, Vulcan would be transferred from Cloud9 in what I consider to be a very unexpected switch, to me their team was pretty well rounded, though this change would allow EG to have some more of the needed variation in the Support role.
Using Factor’s Free Agency Machine, we can take a closer look at what a potential 2022 season could look like for the squad.
Breaking this down a bit further, Factor’s POWR Index takes into account 50+ different statistics to compare and contrast players regardless of their roles. To learn more read the full breakdown. To get back to the point, what can be taken as a very ‘low quality’ outline of what could happen. With this projected roster, Evil Geniuses would finish with a worse record than the 2021 season. Though it is very hard to tell based off of statistics and not actual gameplay. As fans we do not have to wait that much longer as it begins on January 14th, 2022. We will be able to start getting a good judgment of the team’s capabilities and weaknesses. With 2022 right around the corner, I like many League of Legends fans cannot wait to see the players, coaches, and teams hit the rift!