Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka is returning to action with Evil Geniuses.
Two-time The International champion JerAx is ending his retirement in a surprising way. Evil Geniuses announced that the player is returning to lead an overhauled roster that also includes Virtus.pro carry Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko, formerly known as epileptick1d.
The Evil Geniuses roster for the 2021-2022 Dota Pro Circuit season will include the following players:
“Everyone is looking forward to playing with Jesse. He has a lot of great ideas about dota and how he approaches the game. The entire team is excited to have him join us and we cannot wait to get started and show the fans our potential,” Evil Geniuses coach Sam “Bulba” Sosale said in a statement on the team’s official website.
From an individual talent perspective, Evil Geniuses’ roster is incredibly strong. Abed, Arteezy, and Cr1t- all worked well together in the 2021 DPC season, reaching the finals of two majors. JerAx is among Dota 2’s highest-earning stars thanks to his two TI championships and two major victories, while Nightfall was one of the biggest breakout stars of the 2021 DPC season.
JerAx is returning to Dota 2 on the Evil Geniuses roster after an almost two-year break from competitive Dota 2.
JerAx was last seen competing in Dota 2 at The International 2019, where he helped OG capture its second Aegis of Champions. He cold turkeyed Dota 2 for an extended period of time after that, not competing in any regard since then.
The big question regarding the new Evil Geniuses lineup is whether the team will have effective in-game shot-calling with Tal “Fly” Aizik moving to Southeast Asia to lead the new Talon Esports roster. Fly was key to Evil Geniuses’ success over the last three years and he was easily the most credentialed captain in North American Dota 2. JerAx isn’t proven in this regard, making him a big X factor for the season.
On top of that, the new lineup has five players that traditionally crave farm. While players like Daryl Koh “iceiceice” Pei Xiang and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg have been good fits on Evil Geniuses because of their ability to make an impact without getting much farm, each of the EG players have required some gold to make an impact.
Questions about this roster will ultimately be answered in December when the next DPC season begins.