Evil Geniuses isn’t just alive in The International 2021, the team finally looks ready to thrive at the event.
The North American organization faced a dangerous best-of-one series against Elephant in the first round of The International 2021 playoffs’ lower bracket. The roster of Chinese all-stars is a tricky opponent for anyone, but Evil Geniuses put on a clinical performance to stay alive in the tournament.
Playing around Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang’s Night Stalker, the team dictated the pace and place of engagements. Evil Geniuses used this to bottle up Elephant en route to the victory and advance into the best-of-three portion of the lower bracket.
Elephant got off to a strong start to the game, with Zhang “Eurus” Chengjun’s Sven maxing Great Cleave to rake in a load of early farm. Elephant used that to pivot towards early objectives, but things shifted hard when the second nighttime came thanks to iceiceice’s Night Stalker.
With iceiceice leading the charge, Evil Geniuses roamed around the map and looked for pickoffs. The North American squad was overly aggressive and gave Elephant some kills but found what it needed to start building a lead. That buoyed Evil Geniuses in terms of farm and experience, at which point the team dedicated a great deal of time and effort into shutting down Lu “Somnus丶M” Yao.
Tal “Fly” Aizik used his Disruptor to stalk Somnus’ Storm Spirit around the map. Evil Geniuses had enough lockdown to either kill him or force out enough mana to neutralize him for another team fight. That continued until another nighttime came around.
While the previous round of aggression was a bit sloppy, Evil Geniuses used the next nighttime to take over the game. Somnus’ game wasn’t any easier with Night Stalker’s seven-second Crippling Fear silence.
Elephant found some success but needed to dedicate big ultimates to get anything resembling a trade and that gave long windows of time for Evil Geniuses to choke out the map and rob Elephant of any sort of farm. Evil Geniuses used this advantage to pivot from objective to objective, working their way into Elephant’s base and eventually taking the game.
Evil Geniuses will have a day off, but will be waiting to face the loser of Virtus.pro vs. Vici Gaming in an elimination match. Both Vici Gaming and Virtus.pro represent very dangerous opponents.
EG got a taste of that in its group A match where the team took a 2-0 loss to Virtus.pro. That loss is a big part of why Evil Geniuses fell into a lower bracket start, and it wasn’t even a close one with Virtus.pro skating to a victory in both games. Vici Gaming went 10-6 in the group B and looks very formidable as well.
Virtus.pro is the favorite to win that match, but Evil Geniuses faces a tough road regardless. Evil Geniuses will next play on October 14.