Evil Geniuses Part Ways With Deftly, Will Field Proving Grounds ADC Danny
Evil Geniuses have officially parted ways with Matthew “Deftly” Chen and will field their Proving Grounds ADC Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki (formerly known as Shiro) going forward. This, in short, is quite exciting news as Danny has all the hallmarks of a future star — bravado, mechanical prowess, and just the right amount of flashiness.
A Strange State of Limbo
Then again, it’s impossible not to wonder whether Danny will be enough to push this age-old organization towards title contention. It’s no secret that they’ve struggled mightily ever since they’ve rejoined the North American LCS. Throughout the last year and a half, it’s always been the same thing: flashes of brilliance that are too few and far between to warrant a spot at the very top. They’re good, if not even great at times, but they’re simply too volatile and inconsistent to rub shoulders with the Team Liquids, Cloud9s, and Team SoloMids of the world.
And it’s becoming harder and harder to believe in their potential in the future as it always feels like a bad case of déjà vu. They’ve made numerous roster changes over the last three splits, and none of them yielded enough growth for it to matter. Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong has undoubtedly been a stellar pick-up (and a highly motivated one), but Evil Geniuses failed to move the needle despite his best efforts.
On the one hand, a finish in the Top 6 is nothing to be ashamed of. On the other, the fact that they did about as well as Team Dignitas — a line-up without even a single high-profile import — is a cause for concern. It’s no secret that EG has invested quite a lot of money into their starting line-up, and being relatively competitive is no longer defensible.
Moreover, it’s not like Deftly was the crux of their failure. On the contrary! One could argue that he performed way above expectations. By the end of Spring, he was first in KDA (5.7), he had the lowest Death Share (11.2%) and was a Top 5 performer laning-wise. As if that wasn’t enough, he had a very respectable 525 DPM (second-best in his role) — not too shabby for a player no one gave much thought to coming into 2021.
Now, he did make a couple of egregious mistakes here and there, and he wasn’t exactly as stellar as the stats would imply (at least not when it mattered most, i.e., the playoffs). However, he still did admirably well and was more than worthy of another split under EG’s banner. Then again, why field a seasoned veteran who has probably reached his peak when you can start with an incredibly talented rookie who has been clicking heads and taking names over in the Proving Grounds? It’s somewhat of a no-brainer.
Whether Danny is an improvement or not is less important at this point — he won’t magically turn EG into a bona fide contender. This is a highly distinctive team, and we love them for it, but they’re also inherently flawed and limited in terms of their potential. We say this not out of any spite but rather as an assessment supported by empirical evidence. They’re perhaps a bit too overeager and prone to skirmishing regardless if it’s appropriate or not. They’re fun to watch, of course, but the best teams out there know darn well how to exploit EG’s telegraphed moves and punish them with ease.
In any case, Evil Geniuses should be a bit more dangerous with Danny aboard. However, it remains to be seen whether this one signing will result in any noticeable improvement ranking-wise.