Being The International 5 champions, Evil Geniuses are coming into ESL One New York 2015 as the heavy favorites. To add to that, their superstar carry, Artour "Arteezy" Babaev, has returned to the team, making Evil Geniuses even stronger than their TI5 roster.
Evil Geniuses have somewhat of a curse at ESL One events, finishing second place at the last three tournaments the organization has held. They lost to Invictus Gaming at ESL ONE Frankfurt 2014, Vici Gaming at ESL ONE New York 2014, and finally to Team Secret at ESL ONE Frankfurt 2015.
But now things are different — Evil Geniuses are coming into this event as the undisputed strongest team in the world and with a $250,000+ total prize pool on the line, the American powerhouse is going to take this event seriously.
Even with the latest patch completely changing how Dota 2 is played, Evil Geniuses have the luxury of having their captain and master strategist, Peter “ppd” Dager, figure out the latest meta and implement it into their drafts. The team also has an inherent advantage of receiving direct invites to every event. Since they don’t have to play in any qualifiers, the team is allowed to prepare strategies in hiding without the rest of the world finding out.
With this being the debut of Evil Geniuses’ latest roster, it will be interesting to see how Arteezy fits into his role. During his time on Team Secret, Arteezy would sometimes switch out of the safelane and swap places with Team Secret’s mid player, s4. Now on Evil Geniuses, would that sort of thing ever happen? SumaiL has made a name for himself as one of the best mid players, but could he ever imagine going to the safelane and allow his teammate Arteezy to take mid?
Although Arteezy didn’t place well with Team Secret at The International 5, his individual performance was solid (excluding that 1/9/9 Luna game against Virtus.pro). Arteezy’s favorite hero, Shadow Fiend, didn’t get touched in the patch and there is a small chance we will get to see him run it mid.
Speaking of the patch, SumaiL’s Storm Spirit got nerfed into oblivion: his Static Remnant’s mana cost increased while also decreasing its unobstructed vision. Also, his Ball Lightning received another significant nerf in the form of increased mana costs.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Bloodstone, Storm Spirit’s core item for mana regeneration, also received several huge nerfs including it no longer reducing the gold lost upon death while also no longer granting vision or experience after death. With these changes in mind, we might not get to see SumaiL play his signature hero if others rise to be more optimal.
Despite the uncertainty of the new patch, Evil Geniuses should have no problem going up against Vega Squadron in the Quarterfinals. Although Vega Squadron won the European Qualifier, it was a tough run.
Despite winning all of their matches, they were not clean victories. They dropped a game each to EE’s Disciples, Monkey Freedom Fighters, Na`Vi and Ninjas in Pyjamas. On top of that, the team showed even more inconsistencies after getting demolished by Alliance in the WCA European Qualifier Quarterfinals, and losing to 5Jungz in the Nanyang Championships European Qualifier.
Even though we haven't seen any games from Evil Geniuses, the boys in blue can rely on their pure individual skill to simply outplay their opponents, Vega Squadron. Evil Geniuses are probably looking much further down the bracket, specifically at a possible rematch against CDEC in the finals, as the way the bracket is organized, that would be the only possible way the two teams could meet each other.
Connor Dunn is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow him on Twitter.