Open Season: Evil Geniuses at DAC 2015
Placed halfway between The International 4 and The International 5, the Dota 2 Asian Championship is positioned as a “mid-season” check-in on the best of the best of professional Dota 2. With over two million dollars in prize money up for grabs, each of the sixteen teams in attendance will surely bring their “A”-game to prove that they are the worldwide favorites going into 2015.
Undoubtedly, the biggest story of DAC 2015 is the debut of the elite European and North American teams after the Great Western Shuffle of Winter 2015. Conventional wisdom (i.e. the majority opinion on/r/dota2) seems to hold that Team Secret got the best deal, Cloud9 is more-or-less where they started, and Evil Geniuses was set back by the departure of Ludwig "Zai" Wåhlberg and Artour "Arteezy" Babaev. That is, of course, open to debate––at least until results from DAC start coming in.
Evil Geniuses differs somewhat from Team Secret and Cloud9, however, in that the team in its current form has already competed at one LAN together, the HyperX D2L Finals. It’s a stretch to say that Evil Geniuses can be conclusively judged on the basis of three best-of-three series, but it does give at least a little basis to predict the team’s performance at DAC 2015. Overall, Evil Geniuses didn’t exactly distinguish themselves at the D2L (for many, EG was the clear favorite going into the tournament), but it wasn’t a wholly unsuccessful debut either. There’s little shame in losing to the Mushi-backed LV-Gaming (now, EHOME), or, for that matter, Virtus Pro Polar, who are arguably the top CIS team at the moment.
EG faces VG at ESL One New York. Image from @MonsterGaming
In terms of individual performance, the men of Evil Geniuses generally played well, if somewhat short of outstandingly. Clinton “Fear” Loomis was as reliable as ever, as was Saahil “UnIvErSe” Arora, posting respectable stats that should be a reminder to all that Dota 2 is as much a game of judgement and experience as it is youthful mechanical flash. Outside of a questionable performance on support Pudge, Peter "PPD" Dager was solid in game, though his drafts often failed to synergize as he intended. Judging drafts is a tricky business––a pocket strategy that doesn’t work out can easily be mocked as a bad draft, when it was, in fact, bad execution that doomed its success––but it one could claim that the drafts were tailored for a different team than the one that showed up in Vegas.
The wild cards here are, as expected, Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling and Sumail “Sumail” Hassan, Evil Geniuses’ newest members. In the case of Aui_2000, there’s a long history of success that suggests that Aui can fill the greedy-support shoes of Zai. But for Sumail, there’s far fewer professional matches upon which one can judge the fifteen year old phenomenon. With one LAN under his belt, he’s got more experience than Arteezy did at MLG Columbus, but he’s also got a fraction of the results. NEL stars have always been a mixed bag––for every Arteezy, there’s an Arif “MSS” Anwar––so all eyes will be on Sumail to see if he’s up to the task in China.
Overall, there’s simply too much uncertainty within Evil Geniuses and among the western scene in general to make a definitive prediction about any team’s performance (save Na`Vi, who will undoubtedly show their trademark 2014 mediocrity). My instinct is that Evil Geniuses will find themselves somewhere in the middle of the standings, taking down tier two Chinese teams and at least some of their Western counterparts, but falling short to juggernauts (kappa) like Newbee and LGD. But my heart says don’t listen to the fatalists: the boys will go far. Cue the R. Kelly.
|Score||Player 1||Map||Player 2||Score|
|1||EG||Best of 1||ViCi Gaming||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||MVP Phoenix||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||Newbee||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||LGD Gaming||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||Invictus Gaming||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||Rave||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||TongFu||0|
|0||EG||Best of 1||Natus Vincere||1|
|0||EG||Best of 1||Hell Raisers||1|
|1||EG||Best of 1||Cloud9||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||HyperGloryTeam||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||CDEC||0|
|1||EG||Best of 1||EHOME||0|
|0||EG||Best of 1||Team Secret||1|
|0||EG||Best of 1||Big God||1|
|Group Stage Wins11||:||4Group Stage Losses|