The 2021 LCS Lock In began last weekend, and this coming weekend will involve the first best-of series of the tournament. This North American Demacia Cup-type competition is meant to allow organizations to try out their rosters with little on the line before the actual Spring Split begins. So far each team has shown two to four games, and Evil Geniuses holds the only 3-0 record. Most analysts did not predict such a strong start to the season for this team. However, after observing their play over the weekend, Evil Geniuses’ roster is kind of reminiscent of Team Liquid’s.
Top and Bottom Lanes
The most striking similarities between Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid arise in the top and bottom lanes. There is a reason Alphari might have been TL’s best upgrade option over Impact. He essentially does everything Impact does except better. They both absorb pressure on their own in lane, excel at teamfighting, and have a good overall understanding of when and where to be at all times. Watching both of these top laners dominating in the first weekend of Lock In was beautiful to see.
Then there is bottom lane, made up of a duo–the aggressive playmaking support and the quieter NA talent AD carry that slots into the role. CoreJJ and IgNar are both known for their aggressive laning, roaming constantly, and making big plays in the heat of the moment. Tactical and Deftly seem more like followers who will play safe in the lane if needed, or follow the big voices. While Deftly has a bit more LCS experience than Tactical, both players feel like they still have potential to grow.
While Svenskeren and Santorin don’t immediately jump out as similar players, they are both seasoned Danish players with ups and downs on many different organizations. Both junglers have North American residency, so teams who contract them can still import two other players. Neither Santorin nor Svenskeren are known as early carnivores. They tend to play out a cerebral early game, striking lanes with ganks only at the right opportunities. Teams tend to focus a lot on objectives and mid game teamfights, rather than early skirmishing and contesting smaller points.
The last role is the most divergent between Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid. Jensen and Jiizuke have some minor elements in common. They are both imported European mids who tend to look really good when they are winning. Both their names start with J? That’s honestly about it. Otherwise, Jensen and Jiizuke do draft differently, play the lane differently, and play the map differently. Jiizuke is more likely to pick a non-meta champion or an assassin, while Jensen almost always falls back on whatever is meta at the moment, particularly control mages. Jensen definitely participates more with his team, while Jiizuke finds himself off on his own splitting or fishing for opportunities. Jensen dies less, but Jiizuke kills more. there are some stark contrasts between these two.
Evil Geniuses probably did not sit down in the offseason thinking “How do we build a roster that resembles Team Liquid’s?” But after losing Huni for Impact and picking up Deftly and IgNar, their roster actually does mirror TL a bit. EG’s playstyle over the weekend attests to it. The only major difference occurs in mid lane. So if Team Liquid is like an iced tea–standard, refreshing, reliable, consistent–then Evil Geniuses is like an Arnold Palmer. Jiizuke is that zing of lemonade that some people enjoy, while others really prefer the original. In the end, Evil Geniuses may have been underrated in the preseason, and, if they succeed, expect it to look pretty familiar to how Team Liquid get it done as well.
“From Our Haus to Yours”