Cover Image Courtesy: StarLadder CS:GO | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: StarLadder
EPICENTRE 2019 started off with quite an intense first day, which came to an end with Vitality nestling themselves a slot directly in the semifinals. With the second day about to start in a few hours time, eyes will be on Group - B, as Evil Geniuses step into their final CS:GO tournament of 2019, hoping to end the year on a winning high.
But how well do Evil Geniuses rank against some of the best teams in the world? To help you answer that question let’s take a look at what EG has been through since its inception in September, how the team has grown in the following months and what can be expected from them in 2020.
Brehze & CeRq - The Unstoppable Duo
Evil Geniuses made up of the ex-NRG roster, started off their journey in the competitive CS:GO circuit with a banger of a performance at ESL One: New York 2019. It was a top-tier event with the four-time Major champions Astralis, themselves in attendance, along with other high ranked teams.
Usually, when a lineup goes through such a shift it is under copious amounts of pressure, to play well for the new org and not disappoint them. But EG showed no fear or nervousness in its gameplay, as they went on to qualify for the playoffs without dropping a single map, beating a newly formed FaZe Clan and the Danish giants Astralis.
In the playoffs, EG continued its rampant onslaught, defeating G2 Esports to make it to the finals where they were once more pitted against Astralis. It was a literal video game ending coming to life, where Astralis was the final boss whom EG had defeated earlier, but now it was back again even stronger.
Surprisingly, Astralis could not match up to the strength of EG who went on to defeat the Danes. It was an incredible run for the boys in blue, lifting the trophy with a map count of ‘9-1’. Barely missing out on a clean sheet victory, the reason behind their massive success was clearly because of the deadly duo of, Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov and Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte.
Image Credit: ESL Gaming - Bart Oerbekke
While CeRq carried the AWP, the other showed his proficiency with the classic ‘47. They danced a vicious dance of death around the opposition, consistently top-performing for their side in every single match. While CeRq had a total of 205 frags to his name across the nine maps, brehze topped him with 225 frags, rightfully securing the MVP award.
The synergy between the two players is off the charts, both of them share similar traits of aggressive gameplay, hunting for frags around the map, eagerly looking to get involved in the action. The difference lies in the choice of weaponry, which is why though they might be close in terms of frags, CeRq tends to die less than Brehze, who is mostly taking the brunt of the opposition’s attack.
In New York, CeRq died a total of 143 times across the nine maps in-game, while brehze went down 155 times. But despite going down 12 times more than CeRq, he had a KDA of 1.45 while CeRq managed a KDA of 1.43, and this was because brehze took 20 more frags than him.
This clearly indicates the monstrous form brehze was in during the tournament and how CeRq complimented his form in equal parts with the AWP. Both played a massive part in EG steamrolling over the other teams, and this is also the reason why the team faced such a massive drop at DreamHack Masters Malmo 2019 which took place just days after this tournament.
Plummet To The Bottom
During Malmo, EG faced a surprising defeat against Grayhound which sent them to the lower bracket where they faced another defeat against mousesports, getting knocked out of the tournament.
This time a name missing from EG's front was that of brehze, who did not have a great outing with a KDA of 0.90 across the three maps. While CeRq still held his own with a KDA of 1.08, the absence of aggression and firepower by brehze resulted in an early wrap for the NA squad.
The two tournaments were enough to shine a light on chinks in EG's armour. While CeRq would somehow find success with the AWP, he wasn't the driving force behind the team’s success. It was clear that brehze was doing the heavy lifting and while Ethan would contribute every now and then, EG was heavily dependent on one player and if he were to crumble so would the team.
Image Credit: DreamHack - Adela Sznajder
Adapt & Overcome - EG Hits A Homerun
EG took due notice of their situation and groomed the youngest member of their team Ethan “Ethan” Arnold, who went on to show that brehze was not to only one who could wreak havoc with a rifle. He secured the MVP award at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 8 on the back of 372 frags across 19 maps, with only 300 deaths, taking his overall rating to a comfortable 1.26.
He was the go-to man for EG throughout the series as brehze once again had an off tournament. Of course, there were maps where brehze was lethal, but this tournament marked Ethan as the second pillar, refurbishing EG’s armour as the team once again scored a gold.
Everyday Is Not A Payday
But despite covering their weak points and growing as a team, Evil Geniuses were a bit unlucky at IEM Beijing 2019, where they went up against FaZe Clan who surprisingly played really well. Both Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovac and Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David showcased great individual performances, as they defeated EG twice in the group stage.
Just a week after their defeat in Beijing, EG once again settled for a 5th - 6th finish at CS:GO Asia Championship 2019. This time the NA squad had no one to blame but themselves, coming off a defeat in Beijing the trio of Ethan, CeRq, and brehze failed miserably as stanislaw and tarik had to take control. Barely escaping a close shave against G2 Esports, they eventually lost in the quarterfinals against the eventual champions mousesports.
ECS Season 8 - Finals witnessed EG survive the first two matches of the group stage on the back of stanislaw and tarik. The trio pushed hard against Astralis but the Danes held on and made its way through to the finals after a well-fought semifinal match, as EG went on to place top four in the tournament.
In the ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals, it became clear as day how important it was for EG that either Ethan or brehze had a good day with the rifle. In the upper bracket finals against Na'Vi both of them failed, resulting in a loss that matched them up against mousesports, who were playing so good that despite both Ethan and brehze giving it their best, EG faltered.
IEM Beijing 2019
5th - 6th
CS:GO Asia Championship 2019
5th - 6th
Esports Championship Series Season 8 - Finals
3rd - 4th
ESL Pro League Season 10 - Finals
5th - 6th
Evil Geniuses - Adapting, Evolving & Growing
EG is a solid team that started out on the back of brehze, who carried them in New York. But he did not do it alone, CeRq was there to support his aggressive playstyle with his AWP.
The Bulgarian (CeRq) is the reason why the riflers could shine so bright. He provides consistency to the team. Flawless with an AWP, he compliments the aggression and tempo generated by the riflers but keeps his wits about him as well. He consistently takes more frags with less number of deaths, a golden trait that reflects his efficiency as an AWPer.
What started out as a boon also became their bane. After their loss in Malmo EG realised that they could not always rely on brehze to pull the team ahead, so they groomed Ethan who proved himself by leading the team to victory in Turkey.
Establishing their two pillars of strength with Ethan and brehze, who receive consistent support from CeRq, the team has done well for themselves in terms of individual prowess. But it is under the watchful eyes and experience of stanislaw and tarik, that the team truly becomes formidable.
Under the guidance of the Canadian rifler stanislaw and their coach Chet 'ImAPet' Singh, EG has a high scope of retaining the number one rank in the HLTV global rank list while achieving great results in the upcoming tournaments.
Note: All data used in the article has been taken from HLTV.
The last few tournaments have been rough on the team, but every great team goes through a phase. At the moment, the team looks complete, they play great off each other and it would be amazing to see them end the year with a victory. It will not be easy though, with mousesports coming in hot with three back-to-back tournament victories to its name, and VP looking to start their journey with the ex-AVANGAR roster from a win.