Steven R. November 24, 2019
Evil Geniuses may have broken its third-place curse, but not in the way it was hoping to.
The North American team has been eliminated from the MDL Chengdu Major at the hands of Invictus Gaming. EG lands in fourth place, securing 1,350 Dota Pro Circuit Points and $80,000 for their efforts at the tournament.
The series started with a strong win from iG. The Chinese squad took control early and were constantly notching kills, keeping Evil Geniuses from ever gaining proper footing. A successful fight at the 23-minute mark kept Evil Geniuses alive, but the team never broke into the iG base and never actually gained the advantage. That allowed iG to open the series in impressive fashion with a final kill tally of 34-7 in their favor.
Things turned around almost 180 degrees in game two. Though Invictus Gaming opened strong once again, Evil Geniuses dominated the mid game once Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev completed some of their core items. iG managed to keep things close for a time, but Evil Geniuses tied the series to force a deciding game three.
The trend of lopsided wins continued in game three. After a competitive early game, Invictus Gaming took over after 15 minutes with carry Jin "flyfly"' Zhiyi being a perpetual thorn in Evil Geniuses’ side. Invictus Gaming bottled up EG and sealed the series to advance to the lower bracket finals.
iG will face TNC Predator in the lower bracket finals. The winner will challenge Vici Gaming in the grand finals.
EG has good showing at MDL Chengdu Major
Evil Geniuses doing well but falling short of first place is an unfortunate pattern with the organization. Still, the team’s trip to the MDL Chengdu Major was an overall success.
The organization made significant changes to its roster following a top-six finish at The International 2019, most notably benching longtime mid laner Syed “SumaiL” Hassan. The changes to the team were significant, as they replaced him with former Fnatic mid Abed Azel “Abed” L. Yusop and added RAMZES666 from Virtus.pro. This ultimately saw EG fielding a roster of proven talent from four different regions, while also tasking RAMZES666 with playing an offlaner role despite a career spent as a primary carry.
This had plenty of different ways to go wrong, but the early outlook for Evil Geniuses is quite strong. Taking fourth is solid in its own right, and Evil Geniuses also defeated Invictus Gaming in an impressive 2-0 sweep earlier in the tournament.
That said, things will only get more difficult from here. PSG.LGD, Team Secret, and the former Team Liquid lineup are all looking to return for the qualifiers to the DreamLeague Leipzig Major. TI9 champions OG are also presumed to get back into action at some point.
EG was good, but will need to gel further in order to post similar performances going forward.