The boys in blue scored a big upset victory over tournament favorites Team Secret in the first round of the upper bracket. It’s a massive statement win from the team that establishes them as a serious candidate to win it all.
The first game initially looked dicey for Evil Geniuses. The team was forced to commit two people to the mid lane, which left star player Syed “SumaiL” Hassan in an awkward spot in terms of gold and experience. Meanwhile, Secret carry Michał “Nisha” Jankowski got off to a strong start as Wraith King, grabbing a 19-minute Radiance.
But when the time to fight came, Evil Geniuses just had too many disable options for Secret to handle. With a lineup comprised of Sven, Leshrac, Elder Titan, Windranger, and Centaur Warrunner, EG was able to find the AOE stuns in team fights and chain together for pick-offs on Secret’s entire lineup. This seemed to frazzle the normally stoic Secret, who looked disorganized en route to a 48-minute loss.
Secret changed approach in game two with a composition comprised almost entirely of high-impact, lengthy cooldown ultimate spells. With Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg on Enigma, Nisha on Faceless Void, and Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat on Earthshaker, Secret had overwhelming team fight potential.
Evil Geniuses had the more nimble lineup which allowed them to win small skirmishes, but as the game dragged on they were put in a position where they needed to win a proper five-on-five fight. That win never came as Secret managed to repel EG or score the necessary kills to prevent them from getting mega creeps. At 63 minutes. they managed to chain all their spells together to get the kills and tie the series.
While Secret looked shaky at points during the first two games, they looked ready to finish the series in game three. The team crushed the laning phase and racked up a 5,000 net worth lead by 10 minutes, which steadily ballooned from there.
But once Artour “Arteezy” Babaev came online as Phantom Assassin, the entire game turned. Evil Geniuses started to find ganks and got the better of team fights. Secret quickly became desperate which led to one particularly bad team fight where they saw a lane of barracks go down, then another where their gold lead fully evaporated, then one more after which they were forced to call GG.
With that 2-1 win, Evil Geniuses advance to the upper bracket semifinals. That guarantees the team a top-six finish, which is worth well over $1 million.
EG is undoubtedly looking to advance further, but they will have to get through scary rivals OG to do so. The two squads have a bitter history stemming from OG’s roster changes in 2018 which saw Tal “Fly” Aizik and Gustav “s4” Magnusson suddenly split from the team. This led to the infamously frosty handshake between Fly and former teammate Johan “N0tail” Sundstein when the two teams met in the same spot last year. OG prevailed on their way to a TI championship.
While Evil Geniuses have looked solid, OG have looked excellent throughout TI9. The team posted the overall best group stage record and started its main event run by crushing Newbee. Evil Geniuses will need to bring their best if they hope to beat them.
Team Secret is sent down to the lower bracket, where they will be welcomed by Mineski.