Road to The International: Evil Geniuses

On August 2nd, 18 teams will descend upon Seattle for the start of the The International 7's group stage. To get you prepared, I'll be previewing each of those teams. Next up are the Boys in Blue, Evil Geniuses. Check back each day leading up to the tournament for more previews.

The TI5 champions are back at The International for a 4th-consecutive year. This time, however, they'll be competing without two of the best players in North American Dota history. Peter "ppd" Dager, their former captain that led the team to three straight Top 3 finishes at TI, and Clinton "Fear" Loomis, who had been with the team since its formation in 2011, both stepped away from competitive Dota after last year's International. Stepping into their roles to attempt to bring a second TI championship to EG are Artour "rtz" Babaev and Andreas "Cr1t" Nielsen.

Artour is no stranger to EG fans. This will be his 3rd different stint with the team as he has bounced back and forth from Team Secret. After bouncing around between a number of Tier 2 and 3 teams, Cr1t broke into the top tier of professional Dota last season with OG. His general lack of experience at the highest level of competition made him a surprising choice to take over the Captaincy but he has proven to be up to the task, leading EG to the semifinals of both the Boston and Kiev majors.

Rounding out the team are the 3 returning players: midlaner Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan, offlaner Saahil "Universe" Arora, and support Ludwig "zai" Wahlberg. This trio are widely considered to be among the best at their respective positions. Suma1L's laning and consistency is unmatched. Even when faced with an unfavorable matchup, he still seems to be able to have a major impact on the game. Universe is one of just four players to attend every International (although he was only a substitute at TI1). He has a penchant for making big plays with big-ultimate heroes like Enigma and Dark Seer. As for zai, he popularized the greedy 4-position support years ago and his incredible versatility makes drafting against EG a nightmare.

Evil Geniuses earned an invite this year with Top 4 finishes in Boston and Kiev, 1st place in the Manila Masters, and 2nd at Epicenter 2017 in June. EG is notorious for struggling early on in tournaments, usually in the group stages, before making a run through a seemingly unfavorable bracket. This "strategy" backfired in their most recent LAN at the Mars Dota 2 League in early July. They dropped group stage matches against 3 Chinese teams (Newbee, LGD, and LGD.FY; all of whom will be at TI) and were forced to start in the loser's bracket. After beating Clutch Gamers 2-0 in the first round, they were eliminated from the tournament by OG. Without the leadership of veterans like ppd and Fear, starting off TI7 with a strong group stage may be imperative for a 4th-straight Top 3 finish.

Roster

PlayerRoleCountrySignature HeroesBest TI Finish
Artour "rtz" BabaevCarryCanadaDrow Ranger, Razor, Lifestealer3rd (TI4 - EG)
Sumail "Suma1L" HassanMidPakistanStorm Spirit, Lina, Ember Spirit1st (TI5 - EG)
Saahil "Universe" AroraOfflaneUSAFaceless Void, Dark Seer, Enigma1st (TI5 - EG)
Ludwig "zai" WahlbergSupportSwedenIO, Sand King, Elder Titan3rd (TI6 - EG)
Andreas "Cr1t" Nielsen (C)SupportDenmarkEarth Spirit, IO, Crystal Maiden9th-12th (TI6 - OG)

Notes

- rtz, Universe, and zai have all played on Team Secret at one point or another.

- During his first two stints with EG, rtz had played the mid role with Fear on carry.

- Suma1L became the youngest person ever to surpass $1 million in prize winnings in esports history after winning TI5. He was just 16 years old at the time.

- Universe holds an incredible 44-9 record all-time on his signature hero, Faceless Void. It's the best winrate of any professional player on one hero (min. 10 games).

1 Comments