Evil Geniuses Officially Welcomes JerAx and Nightfall to Dota 2 Roster
What is perhaps the wildest rumor in the history of professional Dota 2 has come true. Former OG player Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka, a two-time The International (TI) champion, has returned to play for arch-rivals Evil Geniuses in the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) 2021-22. In addition, Evil Geniuses revealed that Virtus.pro's Egor "Nightfall" Grigorenko will be joining the team. Additionally, it is interesting to know that these players will be playing different roles than their traditional ones - Nightfall will take on the role of an offlaner, while JerAx takes the role of a hard support.
JerAx and Nightfall join Evil Geniuses ahead of the DPC 2021-22
In an announcement on its website, Evil Geniuses announced that it had finalized its roster for the upcoming season with the additions of JerAx and Nightfall.
The roster of Evil Geniuses now includes some of the most talented and seasoned players in competitive Dota 2.
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Abed “Abed” Yusop
Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko
Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Sam “Bulba” Sosale (coach)
Following his two consecutive wins with OG at TI8 and TI9, JerAx established himself as the top player in position four. He retired in January of 2021 after his motivation and passion for competitive Dota 2 began to wane. He has since stopped playing any competitive games. Earlier this year, he livestreamed Dota 2 for quite some time, spamming Sand King in the pubs. At that time, he had said he would not play competitively.
Some eight months after that tweet, JerAx returns to competitive Dota 2 with Evil Geniuses.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to play for EG. Hopefully, we’ll be doing great as a team. I may be too optimistic about this going really well and I am scared to death that it would be the opposite. I wouldn’t be competing in Dota if I wouldn’t set the expectation for the team to be one of the best. For myself, I don’t see any other reason for me to approach playing this game.”
On JerAx's arrival, Cr1t- had the following to say.
“When we heard of the option of JerAx first off, it was pretty much a no-brainer for all of us I think, he is an idol for I would say any Dota player, even if you don’t play position four. For me, he is one of the only players I would consider my superior. It’s clear he has the edge on me. That’s why I always looked up to him and tried to learn from him. It’s nice to be able to learn from him side-by-side. Obviously, he is going to be playing a different role, but I have no doubt he is going to be able to do that.”
Furthermore, both Arteezy and Cr1t- discussed how Nightfall's acquisition entailed a process because there was a role change. However, they were convinced that he would be a good fit for Evil Geniuses once they spoke with him. Nightfall expressed a great deal of interest in and commitment to this role as an offlaner, Arteezy noted.
Being a key member of his now-former team of young players, Virtus.pro, Nightfall had emerged as one of the top carry players in the world. Although the team didn't perform well at the two Majors last season, they rebounded strongly at TI10, placing 5th-6th.
“This roster change to me is really exciting. I like the idea of a carry switching to the offlane as these two roles often interact the most, and both Jerax and Nightfall have a lot of fresh air and tactical strategy to bring to the team,” said Arteezy on the additions of two new players.
JerAx replaces Tal "Fly" Aizik while Nightfall replaces Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang. Evil Geniuses’ now roster will be seen in action in the North American Tour 1 of the DPC 2021-22 that begins on 29th Nov 2021. It will be interesting to see how Evil Geniuses performs since there are role changes involved, and the nature of team chemistry and coordination is yet to be tested, although they undoubtedly have a lot of talent, experience, and reputation individually.