Evil Geniuses have had a mixed results so far through their Worlds 2022, and we sat down with Vulcan to ask about the growing pains that come from adjusting to Kaori’s last-minute substitution.
It’s been a long, tumultuous road to Worlds for Evil Geniuses. From the team that smashed every other team in North America during Spring, to limping to the finish line in Summer. They’re still one of the best teams in North America, surely, but not all has been well for EG.
Danny took a break for his mental health, and Kaori’s stepped in to play under the EG banner at Worlds. We talked to him after their narrow 2-3 loss to 100 Thieves, where he revealed that he scrimmed for a grand total of 8 games with Evil Geniuses before hitting the big stage in Chicago.
Now they’ve had more time to develop, and we wanted to ask Vulcan about their synergy as a bot duo, his thoughts on whether or not the enchanter meta is dead, and his path to being the Ratio King.
Enchanters aren’t easy, and figuring out the meta isn’t either
Going into Worlds 2022, the support meta was fairly stagnant to say the least. Hard-engage tank supports were tossed aside for enchanters like Yuumi and Lulu. And, according to Vulcan, these champions aren’t as easy as people would like to believe.
“I think it’s harder than people think. But not because of the way it is mechanically, it’s because the enemy team will kind of try to kill you, right? If you compare it to ADC role, ADC is much harder right? But compared to engage supports, I think you get tested a lot more on enchanter picks. You have to be much more aware of threats, zone control, when you can and can’t walk somewhere because you might just die.”
“Obviously not very hard mechanically, you’re just smashing your keyboard. But it’s a different skillset.”
This led to a conversation about the Worlds meta. It looks very different from Summer, and Vulcan agreed that this certainly changes up the power rankings for teams that have qualified for the event.
“I think there’s an argument to be made if they shouldn’t make such big changes. Just because now we don’t know if the teams that made it to the tournament are truly the best teams for this meta specifically, right? The three teams that qualified for NA, the four teams that qualified from LEC, LPL, LCK, they all played Zeri, Sivir, Yuumi, Lulu. And now the meta isn’t that at all anymore.”
But wait, didn’t Vulcan lose to DFM‘s Sivir/Yuumi combo during Play-Ins?
“Or, well, you saw Sivir/Yuumi s**t on us, I’ll take that back for a little bit, but… Now the meta’s completely different. Now you don’t even know if the teams at the tournament are the best ones currently, right? In that sense, it’s a little weird. But you just have to deal with it.”
Fair enough. Not to mention, EG had a resurgence after their loss to DFM. The immediate DFM rematch was a stomp in EGs favor, and their game against LOUD was even more one-sided. Evil Geniuses were quick to adjust, and that’s a good sign for their ability to adapt to a shifting meta.
Evil Geniuses are having some growing pains
Despite Evil Geniuses’ resurgence in the Play-Ins tiebreakers, it’s hard to argue that the odds aren’t stacked against EG at Worlds this year.
Danny, the player that defined this team’s biggest moments, is taking a break for his mental health. And, while it’s the right decision for Danny, someone has to take his place. Kaori’s stepped in, and, while he’s played well considering his position, it’s certainly not ideal.
However, Vulcan still seemed confident in their ability to adapt with Kaori. It certainly isn’t all bad, though there are certainly still some growing pains for EG when it comes to building synergy between Vulcan and Kaori.
“It’s mostly compromises. We definitely don’t want to ignore the way he wants to play the game because we don’t want to, you know, have a player playing on our team and not play to his style. I think that would just not be the best for any party, right? So, we’re trying to adapt to the way he likes to play. He’s trying to adapt to the way we like to play. I think we’ve been doing fine finding the middle ground so far.”
Danny was a quiet player when it came to comms, and, while Kaori is fairly soft-spoken himself, he’s been getting more comfortable with speaking his mind and contributing to team communication. It’s been paying off.
“Sometimes he’ll have calls. I think he definitely has more moments where he’ll say something very important, whereas Danny would have those moments more rarely. Kaori will do it more often, but he’s still not the most talkative player on the team.”
On top of their roster issues, we’re in a Worlds meta where enchanters are still being played. Engage champs are more relevant, but Vulcan still felt as if he wasn’t as strong as on enchanters and that it may cause some issues for EG through the tournament.
“I’d say it’s not a secret to anyone that I’m better on engage champs. Because I think they’re more fun, I just practice them a lot more than I practice Enchanters, maybe that’s dumb, maybe I should be practicing enchanters more…”
“I don’t think the meta favors me very much. But it definitely favors me more than it did at the end of Summer. There are more engage champs, so that’s nice. I don’t think I’m as bad on enchanters as I’ve shown so far at this tournament.”
Vulcan’s record backs this up, and his win rate on engage supports is much higher than it is on enchanters. Whether or not Vulcan’s record improves over the course of Worlds 2022 remains to be seen.
The Ratio King found his throne
Despite all this, Vulcan is still a very confident player. The Ratio King himself is alive and well on twitter, and still s**ttalking everyone when he can.
Vulcan’s become notorious for his trash talk and humor, but in a good way. His personality extends beyond what we see on stage, and it’s made him one of the most beloved, recognizable, and downright hilarious players in the LCS.
But things weren’t always this way for Vulcan. He wasn’t always ratioing people on twitter, dishing out jokes, and sending heat other players’ way.
“When I was 18 joining the scene, I was definitely a bit shy or less confident in… I guess, anything I’d do, right? I was just a kid in this new environment. Took me some time to adapt and grow, right? Just grew as a person in general.”
There are many long-standing LCS players, but many of them stay away from social media. Vulcan’s presence has come not only from his consistently high level of play, but also the way he’s flexed while doing it.
He agreed with us that other pros might be missing out.
“I think people are missing out. I’m hoping and assuming that fans like it when I interact with them and reply to their comments when I say that they’re stupid or ratio their comments or something. They probably like it even though it’s a bit mean.”
Despite the odds, Vulcan has maintained his confidence and faith in Evil Geniuses ability to have a good run at Worlds this year. Both as a player and a person, he’s the perfect fit for this rapidly developing roster.
“If you play better, you’ll have more confidence. Since most of what I do is play League, that confidence will spread out to everything else in life.”