There was a shocking EG roster change in late December when they announced that Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora would be leaving the team, with Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen joining in his place. MISERY would take over the captain and support position for Clinton "Fear" Loomis, freei
The Evil Genius organization has been iconic as one of the most stable and successful teams in the Dota 2 scene, dominating North American and international events since their S A D B O Y S days in early 2014 (the original name for the Fear, Arteezy, UNiVeRsE, zai, and ppd stack that were the origins of the EG we think of now). UNiVeRsE was even on a couple of even earlier versions of EG, giving him one of the longest histories with a single organization of anyone in the Dota 2 scene. This isn’t the first time in recent history that EG has played without UNiVeRsE, but it doesn’t have a history of working out for either of them.
Despite first (Team Secret) and third (Evil Geniuses) place finishes at the Shanghai Major, players on both teams felt the need for some drastic roster shuffling. UNiVeRsE and Arteezy left the stable and well performing roster of EG to take the place of Aliwi "w33" Omar and MISERY on Team Secret. EG scrambled to fill their roster, scooping up Kanishka 'Sam' "BuLba" Sosale and Kurtis "Aui_2000" Ling from Digital Chaos. The roster shuffle was a disaster, with both EG and Team Secret coming in last at the subsequent Manila Major. UNiVeRsE left Secret and returned to EG, forcing both teams to qualify for TI6 through the open qualifiers. While Team Secret placed last at TI6, EG once again found success with a third place finish.
EG performed fairly well for the next year, but fell short at TI7. They came in a disappointing 9-12th place finish and failed to make it to the finals of a LAN for the rest of 2017.
The latest EG roster change originally put one of their heavy farmers, SumaiL, into the offlane role. Typically, teams look to the offlaner to create space by drawing attention and sacrificing some of their own farm. This is especially important now that offlane has truly returned to being the “suicide” lane. Shrine, bounty, and jungle nerfs all force offlaners to make heavy sacrifices and hope the rest of the team can capitalize off of the created space. While SumaiL is only known for being a mid player, he has demonstrated incredible flexibility in the role. He has also shown that no matter how many enemy supports gank his lane and destroy his early game, he is capable of recovering and being the playmaker his team needs.
EG has experimented with their roles heavily in their previous two LANs, cycling Fear and SumaiL between playing mid and offlane, sometimes choosing to run aggressive trilanes to give SumaiL the solo safelane. Fear even stated at Galaxy Battles II that SumaiL was a mid player, and he would likely be returning to mid. Galaxy Battles II was the first LAN where EG made it to the finals, but they failed to win a single match against VGJ. They continued to struggle with balancing farm priority and roles at ESL One Genting, but they did fairly well with a 3rd-4th place finish. EG has always had an abundance of “greedy” core players that have required creative drafting and a careful balancing act to achieve success.
This EG roster change not only has an abundance of farming cores, it is also rich with captains. Veteran captain Fear handed leadership over to Misery to free himself up to play a core role again. Cr1t was previously in charge during EG’s TI7 run while Fear was on the sidelines as a coach. Additionally, EG has also added BuLba back to the team as their coach. He was instrumental in helping them to their Aegis win at TI5. Now that coaches are allowed during the drafting stage, EG should have more than enough brain power to accommodate their constantly changing roles and positions. They could run into the issue of too many ideas with different styles clashing, but at least that will make them unpredictable.
While EG is taking some time to find their style with this new squad, the flexibility of their players across a variety of roles can give them a significant drafting advantage. EG may have become iconic with an engraved Aegis thanks to the purple hero favoring UNiVeRsE in the offlane and SumaiL’s mid Storm Spirit, but they have the potential to reclaim their place on the podium with this new squad. They will need to carefully balance the farming preferences of their cores and develop strong clear leadership. While their role flexibility is a drafting advantage, if they continue to shuffle players in and out of the offlane, they risk their lack of experience hamstringing their performance. EG will need to grind games and develop their new identity if they want to finish strong at The International 8.
We will have a chance to see them continue to refine their roster in the DreamLeague Season 9 Minor qualifiers (Feb 17-18, 2018) and at ESL One Katowice (Feb 20-25, 2018). At the time of this writing (February 7th, 2018), EG currently have 885 qualifying points and are in seventh place in the overall DPC rankings.