Through the majority of 2015, Evil Geniuses dominated the HCS, with a roster of Justin “Roy” Brown, Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Tony “Lethul” Campbell, and coach Ryan “Towey” Towey. However,  since X-Games last January and the departure of both Lethul and Snip3down, EG has struggled to find a similar level of success. The Brown twins and Towey now have their best shot yet to turn that around.

 

UGC St. louis Performance

After a sixth place finish in the Fall Season, EG picked up Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton.

PreDevoNator at the XFINITY Training House. Courtesy of Devon Layton.

This team had very little time to practice prior to the first HWC 2017 event, but still managed to take home a 5th-6th place finish. EG met Inconceivable in the first round of the Champ Bracket and fell 3-1 despite some close games. Inconceivable was able to later challenge Team Liquid and Str8 Rippin, both of which were in the top four. Should EG be able to achieve this same placing at HWC Las Vegas, they will qualify for the HWC Finals.

In the loser’s bracket, EG was able to send Luminosity Gaming home with a 3-0 victory, but later lost 3-1 to Team Liquid, despite more close games. Liquid proceeded to also knock Team EnvyUs out of the tournament and finished second, falling only to OpTic Gaming.

The reason that the placements of these other teams are important is that they reflect EG’s level of play. Liquid was the first team to form coming out of the Fall Season, while EG had less than a week. Many of the teams that EG played had formed sooner than them and therefore had built up more chemistry. Nevertheless, the fact that EG kept all games close is impressive.

 

Online Performance

Looking at EG’s performance online, it would be hard to place this squad higher than top eight. In the second HWC Online Qualifier, EG lost 3-1 to a similar Luminosity squad that they had beaten earlier at UGC. It should be noted that Luminosity has had a team change, and their gameplay as well as communication have appeared to be much better than that of the LG we saw at UGC. Also relevant is the fact that these Online Tournaments are single-elimination, denying EG the chance to further their placings.

Scrim results also show that EG is struggling. A recent scrim with Team Liquid resulted in an 11-2 loss for EG, with few close games. The next night saw EG lose to OpTic Gaming 11-2 again, but with more close games. Similar results show in a 10-3 loss against Str8 Rippin. Most concerning, EG has lost two scrims 6-7 against Pnda Gaming, a notably weaker team. While the majority of these games were close, the fact that EG is trading blows with a team that is considered by many to be outside of the top six and only narrowly top eight is worrying. However, not all results have been necessarily bad. EG did have another scrim with OpTic Gaming in which they lost 8-5, with at least six of their losses being very close.

 

Looking Forward

While EG’s online results to some reflect their inconsistency or even weakness, they also are a reflection of the inconsistencies of online Halo. Roy and Lunchbox have consistently performed far better at live events than online. The new additions, ContrA and PreDevoNator, are similar and both frequently detest the many faults of Halo 5: Guardians online. This duo, as stated in Towey’s “Up To Speed” series, had to play on WiFi hotspots off of their phones prior to joining EG. This squad, even more than squads like OpTic, will perform leaps and bounds better at events then they will online.

One issue that some have noted is that the personalities of this team may clash. Roy and Lunchbox, despite being on multiple championship teams, have become notorious for their bickering after games won or lost. Meanwhile, it has been noted that players such as ContrA and PreDevoNator can perform far worse in negative environments. This is where Towey must step in. Towey has proved to be one of the best coaches in Halo history and is typically more active in-game than other top coaches. He will have to be sure that Roy and Lunchbox stay above their arguments and keep the entire team positive. If not, the team risks falling apart, which when qualifying for the Halo World Championships, is unacceptable. Towey is more than capable of doing so, as he also coached during EG’s period of dominance.

Towey, coach of the Evil Geniuses. Courtesy of Ryan Towey.

All of these players are easily talented enough to challenge the likes of OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs. However, EG cannot misstep. If they can’t make top six at Las Vegas, they won’t qualify for Worlds there. This would force them to play in the Last Chance Online Qualifier to snag the seventh NA spot, where their chances are significantly lower.

 

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Devin is a veteran of the Halo franchise. Starting at the age of 3 with his uncle in Halo: Combat Evolved, Devin later moved to competition. He went on to earn local event wins, a top 24 finish at MLG Columbus 2012 and a top 32 finish at the Halo World Championship 2016 Online Qualifiers. Devin now covers competitive Halo for The Game Haus.

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