Week 2 was a rollercoaster of emotions for Evil Geniuses. EG managed to take down the #1 Seed Cloud9, but then lost to Immortals and Dignitas. On paper, this should not happen, but it did. EG is now heading into what may be their hardest weekend yet. On Friday, they play the surging TSM. On Saturday, Team Liquid is coming back with a vengeance after another mediocre weekend. And finally, on Sunday, they play CLG with Broxah finally here. So how does EG fix those issues from last week and possibly come out on top Week 3?
Respect The Draft:
One of the biggest issues from this weekend for EG was their draft phase. Specifically, the draft vs Dignitas was abhorrent and showed how cocky they really were. EG B1’s Lillia into a response of R1 Senna and R2 Tahm Kench. This is fine. Lillia is one of the few AP JG champs actually viable in this meta. Sure, she had a low win rate of 22%, but the champion isn’t weak in professional play. So fine, what do they pick next? EG went for Ezreal and Gnar. This is where the issues really start to arise.
Let’s start with Ezreal. Ezreal is a strong champion right now with his new build of Essence Reaver and Duskblade. But what makes this pick confusing is that there were zero ADC bans up until this point. I get it, Senna is completely unfun to play against and you will outranged. So the Ezreal seems like a counter pick of sorts. The issue is that Matthew “Deftly” Chen has made a much stronger case for himself on carry champions like Kai’sa and Aphelios who were both still up.
Gnar is a hotly debated champion in the meta. Some will call him trash, some will say he is a savior to the world. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Jeong “Impact” Eon-young has been EGs single best player. Even in losses, such as this one, they were not due to Top Gap. So EG decides to blind pick their best players champ. Now the reasoning is simple, we trust Impact on Gnar.
This makes some sense, but where it falls apart is that you would rather blind pick top instead of just picking Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun his Support. If you hold the Top Lane pick, you guarantee a counterpick for either Impact or Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro. Sure, there will be two more bans and they could target some champions. Up until this point though, Renekton was the only Top Lane ban. Dignitas counterpicks with Gangplank on R3.
After banning Hecarim and Syndra for EG and Karma and Bard for Dignitas, Dig R4’s Kayn. Kayn, the super quick one-shot champion will take over the game if he gets Blue. Now for those unaware, Blue Kayn is achieved by hitting ranged champions. So far, two of EGs champs are ranged. So how does EG proceed after this pocket pick from Dardoch? They chose two squishy-ranged champions, Seraphine and Lucian. There are not words to describe how horrible of picks these are. In a bubble, Seraphine Support and Lucian Mid are fine. The issue is, this isn’t a bubble. Into Kayn these picks are inexcusable. The players and coaches should know better. You can win with any comp, but this makes it so much harder. Dig realizing how squishy EG is, goes for Zoe R5 and wins draft.
Jiizuke Lost The Coin Flip:
Jiizuke was one of the biggest questions going into the 2021 LCS Season. And to be fair to him, he started off the season with dominance. Heck, I even praised him in a previous article. So when Jiizuke starts losing the proverbial coin flips, it needs to be said. This weekend was just bad. Now to give credit, Jiizuke had a great game on Ryze vs Perkz. He had a 22 CSD@10 and had a 69% KP. And while beating a great Mid Lane player like Perkz is impressive, losing to Insanity and Soligo shows the dichotomy of Jiizuke.
In the 19-4 loss to Immortals, Jiizuke was on a comfort pick of LeBlanc. He has already shown in pervious games this season how proficient he is on the champion. Despite playing into a squishy, albeit, ranged harass lane, he got dumpstered going 1/4/2. Okay, one game is one thing, but the Dignitas game was the same problem. Jiizuke went 1/5/2 and despite going a heavy damage Mid Lane Champ, only had 19% of his teams damage. Jiizuke was a caster minion. There is good reason to have faith in Jiizuke to recover after this performance, but it shows that he isn’t invincible.
Impact is the Constant:
Despite two losses this weekend, Impact was the single best player on EG. In the Dignitas loss he went 4/3/2 with 75% percent KP. Even in the Immortals game which saw some questionable Gragas ultimate’s and a bad KDA out of Impact, he still had 31% of his team’s damage on full tank Gragas. So while his performance was not his best, he was not the weakest point in the team. Impact has yet to be the main reason his team loses. The other players need to step it up so the team can win.
EG can honestly win every single game this weekend. If they improve draft and don’t have 1/7 Svenskeren performances, the games are winnable. If EG can beat C9, they can beat anyone. This weekend feels more like a fluke and that they thought after the C9 game they couldn’t lose. Well shocker, they can. EG has a road to redemption on Friday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST vs TSM.