Evil Geniuses were the only LCS team to chalk up a perfect 3–0 record on the opening weekend of the preseason Lock In tournament, but that doesn’t mean they can afford to get “complacent” in their long-term quest for Worlds glory, Matthew ‘Deftly’ Chen tells Dexerto.
The Lock In frontrunners opened their 2021 accounts by playing spoiler in Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković’s debut with Cloud9. A day later, they dismantled Immortals, 17–3, and closed out the first weekend with a 34-minute win over DIG’s young lineup.
The problem? Deftly feels all three wins last week were ‘lucky.’ The victories weren’t exactly handed to them, but they “weren’t a reflection of [EG] being great” either.
In fact, the 23-year-old bot laner says, it’s made “working together to grow” even more important for the Evil Geniuses roster. The team’s end goal — like every League of Legends outfit — is to make Worlds, and that means they have to work extra hard to make sure they can book their ticket in the new-look LCS era.
“There’s a lot we need to work on, and we’re looking forward to that,” Deftly said to Dexerto. “We don’t want to be complacent because we got a 3-0 start. We’re taking this as a chance to grow, so we can be first across the finish line.”
That’s not to say Deftly doesn’t think Evil Geniuses isn’t a top LCS team. Quite the opposite; they just “need to earn it,” rather than have it handed to them.
“Obviously I think, from the bottom of my heart, I think we are a good team, the game’s on stage have just been a bit iffy,” he explained.
“We have done a really good job of pressuring the other teams though, Impact [Jeong Eon-young] especially. He’s always doing really well. All our players have done really well, early, mid game, and we’ve just been really cohesive so far.”
“Loud” leaders Impact, IgNar mold Evil Geniuses
That cohesion Deftly mentioned has been the talking point surrounding Evil Geniuses in the opening week of play. Outside of 100 Thieves — the self-appointed “best friends” who all but stuck together in the offseason — only EG have looked totally on the same page right off the bat.
According to Deftly, there are two reasons.
One is Impact, who ran rampant on Renekton in three games last weekend. The other is Lee ‘IgNar’ Dong-geun, the team’s support. Together, the two combine for a “loud voice” that guides the roster to victory.
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“[They’re] doing the heavy lifting in terms of communication,” Deftly admitted.
“Impact and Ignar have been doing a fantastic job of putting everyone on the same page, they’re very loud about what they want to do.
“Their ideas about how they want to play the game are really good, and that nets us very large leads. Being on the same page, executing their plans, that’s important for us. We are learning their intricacies, which is also important.”
Deftly: “People will put my name among the best”
There’s still a long road ahead though, Deftly concedes.
He doesn’t want to look too far into the future — and fair enough, considering how long that road still is — but he does have one personal goal he’s already set himself for 2021.
“I want to show I belong on this roster,” he stated.
“I definitely feel lucky [to be here]… I’m grateful they [EG] took this opportunity on me, because before the season people weren’t looking at me as the hottest prospect of 2021, so I’m just really blessed to then be given this opportunity.
“Obviously it feels good to win our first games. I don’t think it’s vindicated me as, like, one of the top players in the league yet, though. I still have a lot to prove.
“I’m going to keep working hard to make sure, by the end of the season, people will put my name among the best. I’m going to make sure I don’t get complacent, and stay humble. There’s a lot of work for us to do… we all know that.”