Only six organizations will have the chance this year to claim a second Aegis of Champions. One of them is Evil Geniuses, TI champions in 2015.
From those glorious days, they have only Syed “SumaiL” Hassan left on the roster, however, they never stopped to dominate the NA region. Evil Geniuses were in the TI open qualifiers spotlight twice since 2015 due to their tendency to solve an issue with a last minute roster change. However, this year they stuck with the line-up they put together just ahead of TI8.
Evil Geniuses roster for TI9:
- Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
- Syed “SumaiL” Hassan
- Gustav “s4” Magnusson
- Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen
- Tal “Fly” Aizik
credits: Epic Esports
EG finished third in Vancouver at last year’s TI, a solid performance overall, but through the whole 2018-2019 Dota Pro Circuit season, they’ve never been able to go above third place. There’s a couple of memes attached to their name from this season, all related to their results. The inevitable 3rd place finish at the Majors of this season and the fact that they placed 3rd at 3 TI editions, (2014,2016 and 2018) have made their fans to talk about a third place curse. If someone wants to go further with the speculations around number 3 being entangled with the EG fate, then we should also remind you that they have 3 European players on their roster. The good news is that they didn’t lose their sense of humor when it comes down to things they seem to struggle moving over. Recently, they accepted to buy all the cliffs on the Midas Mode Dota 2 map for $3,333.33. The cliffs came into discussion also this season after Arteezy got stuck on a cliff in crucial moments, more often during some lower bracket final.
But in all seriousness, although EG have clearly dominated the NA region and they ended the season with a total of 6825, they clearly struggled against the top competitors. The season ended absolutely disastrous for the NA juggernaut as they were eliminated from EPICENTER Major in the bottom four and going into TI9 they have several aspects they need to change in their game plan.
Sometimes it appeared like EG lacked cohesion and synergy between their cores. Their drafts, but more importantly, their playstyle are extremely predictable. The fact that they have in Arteezy a carry that plays heroes that take a lot of time to develop, farm intensive ones such as TerrorBlade, Spectre, Arc Warden and even Lifestealer, while they have one of the best mid laners at fast paced Dota, strains their tempo management. Through the season, s4 has focused on offlane heroes that could carry the game early or at least survive in the frontline while Artour is still farming and is not able to join the fights. However, towards the last three Majors in the Pro Circuit, everyone seemed to have understood what EG was doing and focused s4 extremely hard in the early-mid game while poking Arteezy every now and then in the jungle.
Evil Geniuses are heading to Shanghai with a 41% win rate versus Team Secret, 36% win rate versus Virtus.pro and 26% win rate versus Team Liquid, teams that they’ve faced in more than 10 official games this season. Their good results against the Chinese squads were registered early in the season when the Asian scene was still dormant. However, at ESL One Birmingham, a non-DPC event held just before EPICENTER, they got bested by Keen Gaming and PSG.LGD, which should only add some bullet points on the to do/fix list for the pre-TI9 bootcamp.
Even though they are one of the six organizations that can possibly aim to a new record in the Dota 2 world by winning two TIs, Evil Geniuses are hard to be regarded as a true contender right now. They need to dispel the 3rd place curse, but the beauty of the game is that nobody can clearly foresee who will win The International and the fact that Evil Geniuses don’t have a huge target on their backs can play to their advantage.
TI9 team profiles:
Infamous, the ever Morphling roster
Na’Vi, the rejuvenated Ancient Apparition
Virtus.pro, the Storm Spirit of CIS
Fnatic – The Troll Warlord with a twist
TNC Predator, the Undying hope of SEA
Mineski, the rising Phoenix of Southeast Asia