After Evil Geniuses won the 2022 League Championship Series Spring Finals, 100 Thieves top laner Kim ‘Ssumday’ Chan-ho and analyst Barento ‘Raz’ Mohammed spoke to Dexerto about the series and what makes EG different.
100 Thieves made it to the finals to defend their title from last summer, but then Evil Geniuses swept the weekend.
It took them just six games to defeat both Team Liquid and 100 Thieves, and in true G2 Esports fashion, they finished their run down the bottom tier 12-1. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, their 3: 0 win over 100 Thieves in 1 hour 18 minutes 27 seconds, the fastest final in LCS history.
However, that wasn’t necessarily the expectation for the weekend. Evil Geniuses had a tough regular season, culminating in a 9-9 record. But they reached the playoffs with a newfound intensity, nearly defeating Team Liquid in their opening series in an exciting five-game streak. And with each subsequent game, they improved much faster than anyone else could keep up.
“I feel like during the [playoffs], EG got promoted and they developed a number of strategies, particularly in terms of draft,” said Ssumday after his defeat in the finals. “We kind of stuck to our same plans, and they got us.”
Towards the end of the regular season, Liquid and Cloud9 both appeared to be superior to the rest of the competition, with 100 Thieves trailing behind. The perceived gap between them and the fourth seed Evil Geniuses was quite large. But while most teams tweaked their play slightly, EG transformed into a seemingly unstoppable force, boasting a fast-paced playstyle with a broad champion pool to give them flexibility in the draft and in their games.
Pro teams often talk about how they go about finding something that works well for them while also expanding their playstyles to prepare for best-of-five grudge matches. But unlike most teams who go too far or find nothing that actually works, Evil Geniuses actually made it.
MSI is not ready for what NA #LCS brings this year
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) May 7, 2022
“We always gave them credit as a team that kept getting better and better throughout the regular season,” Raz said in an interview after the finals. “Even though they dropped games, they did it in a way where they still learned a lot from it.”
Raz’s perception proved true; EG’s experiments and Spring Split fights were intentional.
“The biggest difference to other teams is that we haven’t established a comfort zone,” Evil Geniuses coach Han “Rigby” Earl said in their post-game press conference. “That’s why we struggled during the regular interval. But even when we lost with picks that weren’t that popular in the league, we still went with them if we thought they were good. [Now in the playoffs]we could run anything whenever it was needed.”
Play multiple styles
In their last three series against Cloud9, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses designed a variety of different team comps with different focuses and playstyles, and they won every single game they played. Their one major constant was to stuff as much gold as possible into Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki once loaded into the rift, but they successfully funneled it in a variety of ways, leaving enemies confused and off balance .
That’s a stark contrast to the other strong teams in NA who are really only good at playing the game in one or two ways. “When we went up against Team Liquid, we had an answer for everything,” said Ssumday, citing her reverse win over the first place finishers to qualify for the finals. “But today we were kind of confused in the game. It wasn’t so clear against EG, that’s why we lost.”
“Liquid has some strategy, but every strategy is similar, so it’s easy to act on it,” Ssumday continued. “But EG has a number of strategies, more than just one or two. We tried to counteract that, but it didn’t work.”
Thanks to Evil Geniuses’ unpredictable draft strategy, 100 Thieves struggled to pull off another setback in the finals. 100 Thieves head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu said he felt “comfortable” after starting 2-0 against Liquid because those losses gave him all the knowledge he needed to play the next three games to win. Replicating that against EG proved impossible.
“No other team can compete with us if they have something they don’t want to play,” Rigby said after his final victory. “The most popular champion is Ornn. They’d say, ‘We’re going to blind Ornn, we’re going to have good teamfights.’ But we just let them pick Ornn, we don’t give a shit. We have Impact… It’s so easy for us, honestly.”
“[We have a] Player gap for the draft,” he said. “They’re ready for anything.”
Now, heading into the Mid-Season Invitational, Evil Geniuses have a much tighter schedule. T1 didn’t lose a single series in the regular season or the playoffs, ending with a 20–0 series record with a total of 42 wins and eight losses. RNG is back to defend its victories of 2018 and 2021. G2 is coming off his own 12-0 lower bracket run.
Last year Cloud9 were unstoppable all spring but then bombed at MSI. Evil Geniuses only reached the C9 level of 2021 in the final week of the playoffs – raising questions about their ability to hold their own in MSI’s grueling competition.
According to Raz, that could be exactly what gives them an advantage. “EG took advantage of a lot of people shorting them,” he said of the LCS final. “I still think T1 is by far the best team at the moment and I want to give a lot of credit to RNG. But other than that, it feels like it drives Evil Geniuses.”
EG went into the playoffs with a combined 0-6 record against Team Liquid, Cloud9 and 100 Thieves, but in their last three series they went 9-0 against the trio. They might get a reality check on their first international scrims, but they’ve already proven they can weather the odds.
https://www.dexerto.com/league-of-legends/ssumday-and-raz-talk-egs-draft-gap-and-nas-hopes-at-msi-2022-1820032/ Ssumday and Raz discuss EG’s design gap and NA’s hopes for MSI 2022