Evil Geniuses finished top six at The International 2019. Perhaps an unexpected results for their fans, but from their coach perspective, EG wasn’t at the top of their form. We caught with Sam “BuLba” Sosale earlier in the tournament, who gave us a few insights into what happened with EG at TI9, but also shared his thoughts on Team Secret.
Hello Bulba and thank you for taking the time for this interview. I’m glad I get to talk to you because I’m sure you can give us a different view and a bit of inside into the EG run in the group stage at TI9. So, first things first: did the 1v5 Arteezy rampage fueled something in the whole team, was that the turn around moment for you in the groups?
I will be brutally honest with you. I think we actually made a lot of mistakes in that game. We should have won the game very early, like around 20 minutes. I definitely think that the first two days in the groups it was quite rough for us. We had a lot of learning to do in the bootcamp and I also wish we had a longer bootcamp, but we didn’t, and we ended up having to learn as the group stage was happening.
The teams here all are really, really good. Anyone can literally beat anyone and if you are not playing your A game all the time you can lose. You can’t really take it for granted with anyone here. You can’t go into a game and say, “yeah, we expect to win this.” You have to try hard in every game at this TI.
Speaking about how you look at your opponent, I’d like to talk to you about the second game versus Infamous. You guys beat them when they played Huskar, which is some sort of flavour hero for them, and then you lost against their Wraith King, which also seems to be one of their comfort picks. What do you think you could have done differently in that game two to take the series 2-0?
Even in the first game I don’t think we played that well. I think people underestimated Infamous, and so did we. The thing is that they are actually quite good. They beat VG and they almost 2-0 ed VP, so they are definitely a team that has individually skilled players. I know most of them from playing with them in the NA pubs. I’d say the series with them was a wake up call for us.
We lost to Fnatic, we lost to Infamous, we lost to Na’Vi too, we just kind of had 1-1 results with a lot of the teams in our groups, but the series with Infamous was a wake up call, like we needed to get better.
We have this Clifteezy meme going on for the whole season and seeing you drafting Lifestealer for Artour here at TI9 it made me wonder if you do it because he can rage to avoid the cliff shenanigans. Is it like that, or is the hero just too good in the TI meta?
Haahaha, no, it’s not about that. He will get mad if anyone even memes about it. Lifestealer is a hero that he plays very well.
Another hero that is a staple for one of your players is Elder Titan and we already saw that you brought it back into your drafts. Is ET back to the meta or is just Cr1t who knows this hero way to well?
It’s not only us who played it, a few other teams did it as well and I can’t say exactly if he is going to be used by everyone. It’s a bit hard, because you learn a lot through practice games, and the other people learn from you too, so it’s like a melt of all the things you discovered in the bootcamp. Elder Titan for example, is very popular among the Chinese teams, so there is that.
This was another season when EG was constant with the third place finishes. Can you point to a thing that make you guys get stuck in those lower bracket finals? Is there something on a psychological level that triggers when you drop to the lower bracket?
We usually get third when it’s like Secret, VP or Liquid who get second and I just think that they are better teams than us. I think we probably deserve the third place. I don’t think we are better than them.
Here at TI9, the upper bracket quarter final series for you it’s a repeat from TI8. You have Team Secret again to play against for a top eight. How do you feel this year going against them, they have new carry and their group stage in Shanghai was pretty crazy.
Puppey always manages to surprise you with something. He drafts very differently, but that brings both positives and negatives, however, we have to respect it. Right now his team is just very strong. I think it’s one of the strongest rosters he ever had. Individually, all his players are very good, Nisha and Zai are probably the best players of the year actually,so we have to respect them. Team Secret are a weird team to prepare for.
At the end of our interview I would like to ask you where do you want to see TI10 taking place?
I mean, if they go with the theme of having it in different regions it will probably be somewhere in Southeast Asia or Europe. Of course I’m personally biased and I would love to see it back to North America, but I guess they really want to make it The International.
More content from TI9:
Yapzor: “Second place in the group doesn’t mean we will also do well in the main event”
Stinger: “The hardest match-up was with Virtus.pro”
Nikobaby: “I set this goal for myself four years ago”
9pasha: “I think we should have approached this tournament like it’s another Major, not TI”
Kaka: “Infamous is a team with huge potential”
Armel: “We only hope that the incident is in the past already for everyone”
CCnC: “OG are a super fun team to play with”
Monet: “We are hungry for success […] after all, we have 0% playoffs win rate”
rOtk:“Playing at TI is a mind opening experience”
Mag: “We are no strangers to the lower bracket”
Maybe: “Playing against Virtus.pro is fun”
w33: “Positions don’t exist anymore, they’re just heroes now”
RNG: “Before we played, we were expecting top 6 or top 8”
TI9 Media Day Vlog