The Rocket League Championship Series is only a few weeks away. That leaves enough time for weekly team-by-team previews of the world’s best Rocket League teams. This series will act as a preview for what to expect during Season 7 for each team. Check out the rest of the previews here.
This preview features the league leaders in passion, Evil Geniuses.
Season 6 Results: 4-3 record in NA League Play, finished 3rd. Fourth place in Regional Championships. 5-6th place at the World Championships, losing to Chiefs Esports Club in Round 3 of the Loser’s Bracket.
Off-season Movement: Added OCE MVP Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat (1.13 GPG, 0.76 APG, 1.38 SAPG) from Chiefs to replace Reed “Chicago” Wilen (0.70 GPG, 0.43 APG, 1.30 SAPG) who joined G2.
Off-season Performance: 7-8th place ELEAGUE, 13th-16th at DreamHack Leipzig, 3rd place DreamHack Leipzig Closed Qualifier, 7-8th place WSOE Qualifier, 3rd place Rival Esports Winter Open (with EPICJonny playing for Drippay)
Team MVP: Drippay is their best player, but Gabriel “CorruptedG” Vallozzi is their most important one.
Realistic Team Goal: Top four finish at RLCS Season 7 World Championship.
Background and Team History
Evil Geniuses’ realistic team goal may seem unreasonable, but they were one series away from it last season. They fell in a very close series to a Drippay-led Chiefs team, and decided the only way to beat them was not to join them, but poach their best player.
Much has been made of Drippay’s move from Australia to the United States to play at EG’s shiny new gaming facility in Seattle. The move was mutually beneficial. Drippay proved himself as OCE’s best player and left the region for brighter horizons. EG needed a replacement after their rising star Chicago left for G2, and boom, EG landed the best available replacement.
EG made huge strides with Chicago last season. They had their best ever finish in League Play, had a nice run through the loser’s bracket at the World Championships and seemed like a team on the rise. Chicago was a breakout star and far and away the team’s best player last season.
He leaves a huge hole in the team’s construction. CorruptedG and Jason “Klassux” Klass are historically solid players that have been in the scene for a long time. Last season CorruptedG was one of the most balanced players in the esport, scoring 25 goals and notching 25 assists. Klassux brings a lot of heart and energy to the team, but doesn’t fill up the stat sheet.
In fact, neither of them did. Both were in the bottom 10 of most statistical categories in NA last season. Neither player is particularly mechanically savvy, but they manage to get the job done. Klassux has a flair for the moment that shines in close games. He loves the game and loves to win. CorruptedG is a very smart player and knows what it takes to win.
Evil Geniuses’ Best Case Scenario
EG could be really good this season. Drippay was a beast at the last World Championship and will be hungry to prove himself in NA. He averaged 0.76 GPG at the World Championships, third best among players who played more than 10 games behind only Chausette45 and Gimmick.
Playing in OCE is very different than playing in NA, however, and if EG is going to live up to their potential, Drippay’s transition needs to be smooth. He’s used to being the go to scorer on a top team, so he should be able to keep that going in NA.
Klassux and CorruptedG are known quantities at this point, but if EG is going to take the next step forward Drippay can’t do it alone. His supporting cast needs to elevate their game if they want to be heavy hitters in NA.
Step one should be fortifying the defense. The team allowed 2.11 GPG last season, and allowed 7.53 shots per game. The best teams in the world don’t have to play much defense because they can maintain offensive pressure, and EG found themselves in their own half far too often last season. They need some sort of link up play to transition from defense to offense.
That’s why CorruptedG will be so important. In EG’s best case scenario he turns into a star midfielder that creates great chances for Drippay and Klassux. They need to find ways to keep the pressure on instead of absorbing pressure until a breakaway happens. CorruptedG is great in the air and has a great understanding of how his car needs to be positioned in order to send the ball where he intends to.
Evil Geniuses were third to sixth in almost every statistic last season. They need to escape mediocrity, and Klassux and CorruptedG have to be the ones to lead the charge. If they do, EG could make a deep run at LAN and finish top four. They proved they can play with anybody and even beat some of the world’s best teams.
Evil Geniuses’ Worst Case Scenario
There’s a scary possibility that Drippay could be walking into the exact same situation he left behind in Australia. He was the star of an over performing Chiefs team that relied on him heavily to maintain the pace of world class teams. Ultimately his supporting cast was good, but not great, and it became clear that they had hit their ceiling.
That sounds eerily similar to what Evil Geniuses’ worst case scenario sounds like. Drippay could be joining a team with two good but not great players who have struggled to emerge from mediocrity over the last two seasons. Yes, they qualified for LAN the last two seasons, but they’ve never looked like an elite team even in their own region.
Obviously Drippay made the move for reasons beyond the field as well, but what happens if Klassux and CorruptedG don’t make a step forward? What if the game starts to pass them by? What if another team emerges and knocks them out of playoff contention? EG will have important roster questions to answer.
EG’s worst case scenario is that they continue to muddle in mediocrity, but this time they don’t get the close wins they need to make LAN. A fifth or sixth place finish would be devastating. Then the roster shuffle begins and they’d have to find someone to replace Klassux or CorruptedG. As we’ve seen with Dignitas and Cloud9, sometimes the best roster is a consistent roster and constant movement rarely results in success.
The boys in blue need to find more efficient ways to score and challenge the Big 3 of Cloud9, NRG and G2. They can’t be content with just making LAN. They need to establish themselves as one of the best teams in the world.
TL;DR: Drippay is a pretty solid replacement for Chicago, but at this point something’s got to give for EG. If CorruptedG and Klassux make strides forward they could be a top four RLCS contender, but if not they’re destined for another mid to low table finish.
Featured image courtesy of Evil Geniuses.
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