Evil Geniuses is diving into the deep end at ESL Pro League Season 15 with a match against Astralis.
The North American organization overhauled its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster with a new core made up of three members of the 2016 ELEAGUE Boston Major-winning Cloud9 roster. The team looked solid against tier-two and tier-three North American competition in regional qualifiers, but it now faces a big jump in strength of opposition.
Evil Geniuses will kick off its ESL Pro League Season 15 berth with a match against Astralis. This would typically be a tremendous challenge, but Astralis isn’t in peak form. This newest iteration of Astralis will be making its debut at the event and limps into the EPL after a flimsy showing in its most recent outings.
Does that open the door for an Evil Geniuses victory? And are the lines on this interesting enough to warrant consideration? Here’s what bettors should know about Evil Geniuses vs. Astralis.
Evil Geniuses’ new roster faces first big test
Following an ugly showing in the PGL Stockholm Major, Evil Geniuses purged its CSGO roster. Though it kept its two top performers, it dropped Michał “MICHU” Müller, Owen “oBo” Schlatter, and in-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz.
To fill in the gaps, EG picked up three former members of the Cloud9 major-winning roster. The organization will field this lineup for ESL Pro League Season 15:
- Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte
- Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov
- Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip
- Timothy “autimatic” Ta
- William “RUSH” Wierzba
The trio of ex-Cloud9 players come to Evil Geniuses from very different places.
autimatic is returning to CSGO after an underwhelming run with T1 in Valorant, which was preceded by a similarly unremarkable run with Gen.G in CSGO. RUSH lands with EG after splitting from Complexity after two up-and-down years with the team. Stewie2K has enjoyed the greatest success of any member of the major-winning Cloud9. He joins from Team Liquid, a squad that has waffled recently but enjoyed a stint as the consensus best CSGO team in the world in 2019.
The new lineup has potential, but it’s hard to ignore the bad memories associated with CSGO’s other reunion tour teams. The ceiling may be 2019’s MIBR squad that brought back the legendary SK Gaming squad but struggled to find real consistency. The floor is the legendary Ninjas in Pyjamas roster that flopped in epic fashion after moving to Dignitas.
Astralis’ farlig era starts at ESL Pro League Season 15
Evil Geniuses isn’t the only team entering ESL Pro League Season 15 with an overhauled roster. Astralis made a shakeup of its own, with Asger “farlig” Jensen joining to replace the benched Philip “Lucky” Ewald. farlig joins after establishing himself as a force with the Godsent roster that was transferred to FunPlus Phoenix.
The roster move comes after a middling start to the season that was highlighted by an underwhelming showing in IEM Katowice 2022. The team will enter the event with this roster:
- Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander
- Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth
- Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
- Benjamin “blameF” Bremer
- Asger “farlig” Jensen
This will be farlig’s first time playing with Astralis squad, but he’s not alone in making his debut. Martin “trace” Heldt was promoted to the head coaching spot of Astralis after previously coaching academy team Astralis Talent. He replaces Alexander “ave” Holdt, who was demoted to being the team’s assistant coach.
Astralis vs. Evil Geniuses ESL Pro League Season 15 betting odds, analysis
Despite Astralis entering ESL Pro League with a recently changed roster, the team is still a considerable favorite to win. As of this writing, Astralis is sitting at 1.39 odds while Evil Geniuses is at 2.75 on Winners.bet. While any recent change could spoil the recipe for a team, it remains to be seen whether this iteration of Evil Geniuses can even topple an affected Astralis.
There’s a great deal of talent on Evil Geniuses, but this roster’s early efforts haven’t inspired much confidence. The team went 0-3 in its debut effort in BLAST Premiere Spring groups and wasn’t dominant when playing in qualifiers against lower-tier North American teams. This included losses to the likes of Strife and Party Astronauts.
The case for an Evil Geniuses win comes with a shared opponent between them. Evil Geniuses put in a respectable showing against BIG in the Blast Premier Spring groups in one of its first matches, while Astralis is 2-5 on maps against them in 2021.
If Evil Geniuses can hit its stride quickly and this new Astralis stumbles out of the gate, it could make for an upset. But as the odds suggest, Astralis is still the favorite.