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Photos of Evil Geniuses playing in ESL ONE Birmingham. They placed 2nd this event.
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Evil Geniuses — The Paragon of Consistency

Aug 092019

There are few teams cursed with success. In Dota being successful means putting a target on your back, becoming the team others look to as the standard for championship-level play. And no team has been more successful than Evil Geniuses. This hasn’t always been the case, though. While the EG we all know and love are the champions of champions, the team did have relatively humble beginnings. In the beginning, EG picked up a roster of veteran Dota 1 players that participated in TI1, including the legendary Clinton “FearDarkness” Loomis. Unfortunately, experience alone proved insufficient in the new world of Dota 2 and the EG roster struggled greatly. The team saw countless roster changes over the next few years, but no number of player-swaps could solve their problems. Eventually, EG would pick up the full SADBOYS roster in 2014 and finally began to win championships.

This was the real beginning of EG’s story. The beginning of a dynasty. For the first time in Dota 2, EG was a top team and they looked unstoppable. But all good things must come to an end and after only a couple months, Fear was forced to shift to coaching the team due to a wrist injury. Fellow American Mason stood in as EG’s carry in the meantime and EG eventually placed third at TI4. Despite continued success in the fall and winter, Arteezy and Zai left to join Team Secret in January. EG tried to pick up the pieces by replacing Zai with Aui_2000 and taking a risk by replacing Arteezy with the relatively unknown Sumail, a 16-year-old who had made a name for himself in North American inhouse leagues. 

 

This leap of faith paid off when EG won DAC 2015 in dominating fashion thanks to Sumail’s incredible play. Sumail established himself as one of the best mid players in the world and EG proved that they were still championship-contenders without Zai and Arteezy. He also revolutionized the midlane with his unrelenting aggression. Every mid player in the world began mimicking Sumail, pushing up to the enemy’s highground and bullying them out of lane. Picking a weak laner or bad matchup into him became a death sentence. Sumail quite literally changed the way the game was played. EG continued their string of podium finishes all the way up to TI5 where they would find the greatest victory of all. Thanks to phenomenal play from all members of the team, EG defeated CDEC in the grand finals and took home the Aegis of Champions. For the first time, North America won The International.

This would be the height of EG’s success in Dota 2, as it is for every Dota team. And EG wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer. Well, not quite. Having already won a TI, their next step was rather straightforward. Other teams had won TI, but no one has won it twice. No one has ever done that in the history of Dota. And so, EG embarked on their journey to become the first team to claim the Aegis twice and in doing so become the greatest team of all time. More strong performances, more championships, more roster swaps, more EG. This continued until the 2017 post-TI shuffle. Arteezy returned to the team, bringing with him Danish support player Cr1t- to take over as captain. This would mark a new era for EG. The previous era was one riddled with instability but won championships in spite of that. The new era would be defined by three S’s. Stability, superstars, and success.

 

Stability

 

Unlike the EG of old, whose roster would change multiple times over the course of a season, the new EG would understand how to stick together. Sumail and Arteezy were older and wiser, they wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. Finally focusing less on who got to farm and more on how to win, the two cores learned to better handle themselves and their relationships with teammates. This iteration of EG would stay together for the next year, once again showing their dominance as they earned podium finish after podium finish. 2017 was a great year for EG barring one tournament: The International.

 

Despite a strong group-stage, EG lost both they playoff matches 0-2. A shocking result for a team that looked like they might go all the way. Their struggles continued when Zai left the team, forcing Fear to return to the active roster. This would be a rough patch the likes of which EG hadn’t seen in years. They looked like… a regular team. But while their performances were average, the way they went about their roster changes continued to express their newfound maturity. No roster was thrown away at the first sign of weakness, with EG only making two roster changes that season, and only after spending months attempting to work out their issues. 

 

 

Thankfully, they struck gold with a late-season roster shift. EG picked up the legendary TI Champion S4 and his captain from OG, Fly. This new roster walked through the qualifier and earned their spot at The International. Lo and behold, one International later, EG secured their fourth top-3 TI finish and proved that they were back. They had been together for less than 3 months and the only teams that could stop them were finalists PSG.LGD and OG. This roster proved that they were TI-contenders and before they had even left Vancouver they decided to stick together all the way through TI9.

 

Superstars

 

There is no team in Dota right now with more star power than EG. Hell, there hasn’t ever been a team with more star power than EG. Sure, there are teams like Secret and VP. Teams that are threats to win any tournament they participate in and have strong or even legendary players. But neither of these teams have the raw talent or TI-experience that EG has.

 

Arteezy:

 

Easily the most successful carry player to ever come out of North America, his hero versatility and ability to play at a world-class level in either the mid or safe lane are huge assets to EG. He is one of the most talented players that has yet to lift the Aegis. There’s a reason that legendary players like Puppey, S4, and Fear are always happy to play with him.

 

 

Sumail:

 

Also known as The King, Sumail is the essence of a TI winner. He won the Aegis on his first try and was fundamental to that victory. He was hands-down best mid player in the world for years and single-handedly revolutionized the way the mid lane was played. Years later he is still one of the scariest people to lane against in mid, able to snowball a dominating laning stage into solo carrying the game.

 

S4:

 

The legend of legends, S4 is simply one of the best to ever play the game. There are no players better than Gustav, at best they are his equals. He is one of the most well-respected players in the history of Dota 2, particularly for his deep understanding of the game (something that impresses even other pro players). Any pro would be happy, and lucky, to play with him.

 

Cr1t-:

 

One of the best position 4 players in the world, Cr1t- is constantly pushing the boundaries of what his role can do. He is also one of the winningest players in recent memory, having played with OG during their Major-streak and then continuing his success at EG. His Io skills force opposing teams to first phase ban the hero in almost every match and while it’s unfortunate that we never get to see Cr1t- on one of his signature heroes, it provides a major draft advantage to EG.

 

 

Fly: Veteran of the scene going all the way back to 2012 and former captain of OG, Fly has been anywhere and everywhere in Dota 2. He’s attended every TI since transitioning to Dota 2 and does his best work under pressure, having lead OG to winning four of the first five Majors. He’s clearly found a working formula for EG given their success this year.

 

With players like these, really the only team that could compete with EG would be the TI5 iteration of Team Secret. A team that also included both Arteezy and S4. EG is unlike any other team in the history of Dota. Every role is filled with a world-class player that has succeeded numerous times over and it honestly feels that there are no players on EG that could be replaced with a strictly better player. Each player has the raw skill needed to compete with the best of the best, making EG a constant threat to any team in any tournament.

 

Success

 

Much like EG’s super-team status, other teams often have a hard time competing with EG in terms of success. Sure, other teams have won more Majors. Team Secret and Virtus.Pro can have all the Majors they want, EG don’t mind. Because in Dota 2 there’s only one thing that matters: The International. No matter how you slice it, each year there is nothing more important than The International. And who is the winningest team in the history of The International, this tournament of tournaments? The answer should be obvious by now, it’s Evil Geniuses. No matter what happens throughout the rest of the year, EG will always turn it up at The International. Are there even any other teams with a record comparable to EG? To put it simply, no. No other team in Dota 2 has reached the podium four times. Think about that. So far there have been 8 iterations of The International, and EG have made it to the top three in half of them. That stat is even more impressive when you consider that they’ve accomplished that over the course of the past five years, meaning they’ve only missed out on the podium once since 2013. No other team has been able to replicate EG’s incredible performances and consistency, especially over such an extended period of time and should their success continue, they will be the first team to win two Aegises, cementing their legacy in the annals of Dota 2 history.

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