Dota 2 TI10 Team Profile: Evil Geniuses

by in Dota 2 | Oct, 4th 2021

Evil Geniuses have been involved in the Dota 2 scene since the nascent days of the Dota 2 beta. The North American squad has housed legendary players from both the European and North American scene, such as Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis, Saahil ‘Universe’ Arora, and Rasmus ‘MISERY’ Filipsen. The current EG Dota 2 squad contains a mix of Dota 1 and HoN veterans, and two of the best players that modern Dota 2 created. But with North America on the decline and a roster full of international talent, can Evil Geniuses still be called the hope of Dota 2 in North America, or are they a champion squad bearing the legacy of one of esports flagship brands? Will their legacy cast a shadow on their current roster competing at TI10?

We’ve been doing team profiles on Dota 2 teams participating at TI10. Leading up to the first day of group stages, the goal is to provide detailed team profiles on all teams competing to give new viewers and returning fans improved insight for this year’s event. If you’re curious, check out profiles we’ve published on Team Undying, Elephant, OG, Team Spirit, Beastcoast, SG esports, and Fnatic. As always, stay on the lookout for more blogs on T10 to come in the future.

Who are Evil Geniuses? Blue Bloods Bearing the Banner of a Benefic Brand

The history of Evil Geniuses goes back all the way to the days of Dota 1 and the Dota 2 beta. After picking up Dota 1 veterans Jimmy ‘DeMoN’ Ho and Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis, Evil Geniuses looked to take on Dota 2 with a mixed squad of North Americans and Europeans, including Danish players Amel ‘PlaymateE’ Barudzija, Rasmus ‘MiSeRy’ Berth Filipsen, and Swedish phenom Pers-Anders ‘Pajkatt’ Olsson Lille. This squad would see a rotation of players coming in and out throughout the early years of Dota 2 with Fear and DeMoN being mainstays of the Evil Geniuses roster. The failures and shortcomings of Evil Geniuses in comparison to North American fans’ expectations were so plentiful that it became a meme for Dota 2 fans to hype up Evil Geniuses’ expected victory only to document when the team would ultimately throw games in the face of easy victories. 

These consistent losses and disappointments birthed the site When Did EG Last Throw? The sire would typically highlight a misplay by either DeMoN or other players on the squad such as Sam ‘Bulba’ Sosale, Alaan ‘SexyBamboe’ Faraj, or Jacob ‘Maelk’ Toft-Anderson, who actually works as VP of esports for 100 Thieves now. Good for him.

It wouldn’t be until 2014 when Evil Geniuses would start living up to the expectations so many fans had for them since the beginning of the brand’s entry into Dota 2. While EG were competing in invitational leagues and working their way to the International 2013, community team Kaipi were playing in various cups such as the Raidcall EMS One cup series and the EIZO cup. Eventually, EG and Kaipi would meet at The Defense 4 when Kaipi would actually take second place at the tournament after beating them in the lower bracket final. At the time, Kaipi had enlisted a young Canadian pubstar by the name of Arteezy and were seeing incredible results, catching the eye of Fear and EG management.

After failing to qualify to TI3, Evil Geniuses went on hiatus and saw Fear playing with former teammate Universe on the S A D B O Y S roster, which included former Heroes of Newerth pros zai and ppd, but most importantly, Arteezy. 

Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev is perhaps the most iconic modern Dota 2 player in the game’s history. When EG signed the S A D B O Y S roster, Evil Geniuses began showing incredible results based off of Arteezy’s flashy midlane plays. A combination of Fear’s experience and decision-making, Arteezy’s raw talent, and ppd’s in-game leadership led to impressive results for Evil Geniuses, including first place at the inaugural Summit, 2nd place at ESL One Frankfurt 2014, and 3rd place at TI4, EG’s best showing at The International up to that point. While Fear had to step back and allow American pubstar Mason ‘mason’ Venne to take his place after a wrist injury, Fear would return to the team for 2015 season. 

After some middling performances, Arteezy and Zai would depart Evil Geniuses to play for legendary captain Puppey’s Team Secret, leading to an intense rivalry many were excited to see play out at TI5 in 2015. By this point, EG had replaced Arteezy with another modern Dota 2 legend, Syed Sumail ‘SumaiL’ Hassan, who I would consider to be the true inheritor of Fear’s legacy and the last great player of North American Dota. EG would also pick up Kurtis ‘Aui_2000’ Lee as the team’s position 4 support.

EG would run rampant at The International 2015, with SumaiL consistently impressing both analysts and audiences with precise, skillful play on heroes like Shadow Fiend and Storm Spirit. Universe’s superb space-making skills along with ppd’s ability to forecast a game allowed Evil Geniuses to carry games either from the mid lane or safe lane, either relying on SumaiL’s playmaking abilities or Fear’s tried and true late-game carry playstyle on Gyrocopter. 

Unfortunately, Evil Geniuses and Team Secret wouldn’t meet for their highly-anticipated grudge match as Team Secret would be eliminated in round 3 of the lower bracket by Evil Geniuses would remain in the upper bracket until they were dropped down into the lower bracket final by CDEC Gaming, who they would face in the grand final to be crowned as TI5’s champions.

After their win at TI5, Evil Geniuses’ roster would see swaps between themselves and Team Secret, with Arteezy, zai, Universe all leaving and returning during 2016. Both Fear and ppd would depart from active competition, leaving Evil Geniuses without a pillar to rally around until the team would pick up Andreas ‘Cr1t’ Nielsen in 2016. From this point onward, Cr1t, Arteezy, and SumaiL would be Evil Geniuses’ mainstays as other players would cycle in and out as they tried to find their fit within the team. 

Eventually, the tension between SumaiL and Arteezy’s play styles became too evident and SumaiL would go inactive on the EG roster. During these roster shifts, EG would see varying results at both Valve events and other tier 1 tournaments, such as 3rd place finishes at The Frankfurt Major, The Shanghai Major, WePlay Dota 2 League Season 3, The International 2016, The Boston Major, The International 2018, and The Kuala Lumpur Major. Other showings would see EG take disappointing placements outside of top 8, with the opinion on Evil Geniuses becoming that of them being a squad of seasoned veterans with good days and bad days, but could still surprise many. Many still consider Evil Geniuses to be the best team in the North America region, which is true, but is it enough to win TI10?

Evil Geniuses – Recent Results & Roster Changes

The departure of SumaiL saw Abed ‘Abed’ Yusop join Evil Geniuses from Fnatic in late 2019. Since then, Abed has provided Evil Geniuses with flagship midlane play that can rival some of the best mid laners coming out of the Chinese region. In the past five years, Evil Geniuses have been constantly rotating players in and out of their roster to try and replicate the same results they saw in 2015, and so far nothing’s stuck. 

Tal ‘Fly’ Azik has been a part of Evil Geniuses since his departure from OG back in 2018 alongside s4, but s4 left the squad to join Alliance shortly after the first wave of the pandemic hit in March and April. Throughout most of 2020, Evil Geniuses were competing either with ping disadvantage or with North American stand-ins to take the place of Roman ‘RAMZES666’ Kushnarev or Abed. Around late 2020, RAMZES would go in-active and Evil Geniuses would bring in Singaporean legend iceiceice to play offlane for the team.

The current roster of Arteezy, Cr1t, Fly, Abed, and iceiceice has seen a solid 2021 season. The team has solely focused on DPC events in order to focus solely on making it to TI10. Evil Geniuses have shown that they’re the team to beat during both seasons of this year’s DPC North America Upper Division, only losing games to their rivals in the region, Quincy Crew. Season 2 of DPC NA saw Quincy Crew actually take 1st place against Evil Geniuses.

At both majors, Evil Geniuses were able to take 2nd place, losing to Chinese teams which they have few experiences with this year and last year. Overall, it seems like teams from the Chinese region are well-prepared to play against Evil Geniuses while Evil Geniuses are well-prepared to play against everyone else. 

During both majors, Evil Geniuses were happy to give Arteezy super-late game heroes in the safelane, such as Terrorblade, Medusa, and Nature’s Prophet, while relying on Abed’s solid pool of popular meta mid-laners and iceiceice’s signature Timbersaw. It seems that the team has been waiting for TI10 to roll around to really show what they have in store. 

Evil Geniuses – Predictions for TI10

Evil Geniuses favors highly mobile heroes that can apply tower and map pressure early to secure map control against their opponents. While many would suspect such a playstyle to be highly aggressive, EG play according to their draft’s tempo only becoming aggressive once their heroes spike after buying certain items or hitting specific timings. With the advent of a new patch, we may see Evil Geniuses lean more into Weaver as a flex pick for the safelane, offlane, or position 4 support pick at TI10.

An interesting trend we’ve seen with Arteezy lately is the safelane Tiny and Anti-Mage, implying that EG are looking for answers to the popular safelane Weaver and core Tinker that have been popping up in high level MMR games. Recent changes to Naga Siren could see Evil Geniuses picking the hero up again for either Arteezy or Cr1t, but seeing Arteezy on the Naga would be an amazing throwback to his earlier years of carry play as Arteezy has perfected farming with the Naga and hits unbelievable item timings with a hero that’s long been ignored for quite some time.

Evil Geniuses definitely sit near the top as one of the best teams in the world, rarely losing to teams in their region and Europe. However, China has produced some highly competitive squads in PSG.LGD, Invictus Gaming, and Vici Gaming, and their style of play has yet to see western competitors overcome it outside of Tundra Esports. It’s very possible that Evil Geniuses will be able to adapt to these Chinese teams, but we should expect even games between EG and Chinese teams during the group stages, resulting in either ties or losses during the round-robin.

Abed may be the secret factor that ties Evil Geniuses together, as his playstyle doesn’t interfere with Arteezy’s habits for quickly farming the entire map with intense precision. While he may not evoke the flash and aggression of SumaiL, Abed can still manage incredibly impressive plays that are fun to watch and carefully executed. Abed will be sure to impress those watching him for the first time on a technical level. 

The inclusion of iceiceice brings an element of chaos to EG’s roster, and it’s likely that many of the younger squads at TI10 will be unable to adapt to his unpredictable playstyle. Heroes like Sandking and Tidehunter remain popular in the current meta, but iceiceice truly excels on heroes with a lot of outplay potential such as Timbersaw and Pangolier. The Singaporean legend has been relatively quiet prior to his switch to Evil Geniuses, but there’s a high likelihood that iceiceice will finally grasp the Aegis for the first time with Evil Geniuses.

That’s something that’s worth noting. The current Evil Geniuses squad, despite their storied histories as players, have never won a TI, which makes the stakes at TI10 a lot more personal for them. If they can somehow surpass their curse of always making 3rd place at international competition, they’re likely to win the entire thing. The entirety of China stands in their way though, so it can’t be certain whether it will happen. But out of all the teams in North America, Evil Geniuses are the most likely to become champions at TI10. Hopefully, the blue blood running through their veins boils hot once they spawn into their first match at TI10. 


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