After a 1-2 loss to Vici Gaming, Evil Geniuses are now out of The International 10. The Chinese team has secured a top eight slot and will face T1 esports next.
Evil Geniuses dropped out of TI10 by a resurgent Vici Gaming; dashing the hopes of the North American region at TI!
The lower bracket matchup between some organizational juggernauts of Dota2, would have incredibly high stakes with dreams and expectations on the line. As an organization, Evil Geniuses have only placed less than 4th twice in the last 7 TI tournaments. Vici Gaming by contrast has had far more inconsistent showings, but have also visited the Grand Finals before.
Evil Geniuses was also holding firm to hope of a North American victor at TI, whilst Vici Gaming wanted to be the first Chinese team to win in the lower bracket.
With Evil Geniuses coming into TI as a good favourites to win the whole thing, they needed to live up to that hype.
A lot was riding on this contest for both teams.
Evil Geniuses with a statement of intent!
Sheer and utter domination.
Evil Geniuses picked strong lanes, with the ability to play with high tempo in the midgame. Abed on his Ember Spirit and the Arteezy Clinkz would be allowed to go off, with the Fly Elder Titan buffing their damage output.
Vici Gaming would attempt to cover their late game by relying on the Poyoyo Medusa, supported by a space creating Ori Storm Spirit.
However, Vici Gaming would neglect to give Old Eleven a hero he could play confidently on to start fights. Having him play Bloodseeker, the team would be limited in what they could do on the map.
A state of affairs that EG would exploit. Able to dominate every single lane, they would put Vici Gaming in a position to have to spend most of the midgame in recovery. However they would deny them all attempts at such at every turn.
In short order, Vici Gaming found themselves literally unable to do anything progressive on the map. Realizing this situation, and seeing how the game was falling apart, they would call GG after a disastrous fight 22 minutes into the game.
The shortest game of the entire Main Event, Evil geniuses would look a tier ahead of their opponents.
Can Vici Gaming Redeem themselves?
Vici Gaming would attempt to recover from the frighteningly early GG call by drafting heroes more suited for big fights. A Monkey King for Poyoyo would be strengthened by the signature Old Eleven Magnus, which would plug the initiation hole from Game 1.
Evil Geniuses would decide to draft in mind to control the tempo on the map, and give themselves the ability to deal with the Monkey King with the Arteezy Razor. The idea being to use the Abed Void Spirit and Crit Mirana to jump the backlines, and create enough space to pick off their targets.
With great confidence, Evil Geniuses would look to play a similar dominating style to Game 1, but Vici Gaming would want to tell a different tale. Performing far better in their lanes, Vici Gaming weren’t playing the game from behind and thus could play more aggressively.
Sadly though, many of these attempts would be rebuffed by Evil Geniuses who were playing really well. Winning most of the fights, they were also able to consolidate map control, and slowly began taking the high ground at 35 Minutes.
However, there is a reason why Vici Gaming picked the Old Eleven Magnus.
Landing a perfect RP, he dragged Arteezy into the base which allowed the game to be delayed. Evil Geniuses would attempt not to panic from this position, but the game suddenly was dangerous again.
The game would then turn into 10 minutes of constant brawling; with both sides forcing ultimates and buybacks out of each other!
Eventually, Vici Gaming would find themselves in a position where they had won a teamfight, and were beelining to the barracks. However they would need to somehow get past the defensive positioning of Arteezy, who also had an Aegis.
The Old Eleven Show!
Yet again, we see Old Eleven making the play that gained his team the advantage. Snatching Arteezy away from the highground, they removed his Aegis and were thereafter able to force out the full lane of Barracks.
Evil Geniuses would still try play the game out, but at this point the writing was starting to appear on the wall. With heroes falling off, they needed to play a concise and defensive style.
Yet again, the hero of the story would show up exactly when needed.
Finding the initiation yet again on Arteezy, this would herald the beginning of the end for Evil Geniuses. Without their main core, also lacking buyback, Evil Geniuses soon thereafter would be forced to call GG.
Who’s mental game is stronger?
Evil Geniuses were clearly unhappy with the result of Game 2. This game, everyone in the game was given a comfortable pick in very favourable lane matchups. In particular, Abed was given his Storm Spirit which had wreaked havoc before on LAN.
Vici Gaming would be happy to place all their eggs into the Poyoyo Spectre basket. Not picking as much teamfight, this draft would be based on his and the Ori Void Spirit’s damage output. Also now they gave themselves the lane pushing ability with the Lycan pick for Old Eleven.
This game would be the most cerebral outing yet between the two teams.
Game 3, Deja Vu
Sadly for Vici Gaming, from the onset it seemed this game would resemble Game 1. Evil Geniuses were dominant in the lanes, and seemed on track to replicate their success. All except for the Spectre lane, where IceIceIce on his Legion Commander couldn’t keep pace with the pressure.
His team helped him though with the recovery, and they were able to play as they wished on map. Slowly but surely their advantage built up, and soon, Evil Geniuses were knocking on the high ground.
However, Deja Vu runs in both directions, and somehow Vici Gaming would make another miraculous hold during the push.
Yet again, they also had the better late game draft so every occasion where the push failed was terrible for Evil Geniuses.
Getting more confident, Vici Gaming would play out more on the map and would look for more engagements themselves; most of which went perfectly for Vici Gaming.
The Evil Geniuses misery though would be mitigated somewhat, since they showed that their fighting ability was still top notch as they rebuffed a huge smoke from Vici Gaming.
This gave them a lifeline back into the game, however Vici Gaming were creeping up massively in networth over their opponents. Both Spectre and Lycan were getting massive, and Evil Geniuses now were playing with no second chances.
Sadly, that would all come to a head when Arteezy found himself isolated in a bad position, forcing his team to come defend him which drew them into a bad fight.
From here, Vici Gaming would run unimpeded into the base and secure themselves the base, the game, as well as a top 8 finish at TI 10!
Vici Secure Top 8 at TI10
With this victory, Vici Gaming would earn themselves a top 8 berth and have the ability to continue to make a deeper run into the tournament!
When asked about the secret to their success; Old Eleven humbly referenced that they were able to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.
An often overlooked aspect of the game is the personal impact of being a player. Playing for years on end, one ends up forming relationships with ones peers and colleagues. This can often give rise to mixed emotions when eliminating an old teammate.
For Old Eleven, these emotions are definitely present…unless he eliminates IceIceice.
Their journey would continue, as they take on T1 in a bid to continue their TI run next!
North American hope crushed!
Unfortunately, this would also see the end of North America at TI10. Evil Geniuses being eliminated would also see an end to an incredible run of form in 2021, despite coming in as the top seed, they would fail to proceed and show their strength.
Captain Fly would be honest that this was not the Evil Geniuses everyone expected, and that they haven’t shown their best hand.
Regrettably, Evil Geniuses would repeat the curse of the top seeded team experiencing a shock exit prior top 8. However, the team would look to be able to rally from this result; using this to continue to go from strength to strength.
With no more North American representatives, TI10 now has no more teams from any Americas region.
However, the teams remaining certainly have elevated the level of Dota played.
With more dota on the horizon, they will continue to dazzle us on the road to the Grand Finals!