Evil Geniuses head coach Peter Dun is promising to have “more pages in the playbook” for the LCS regular season after a disappointing 0-3 loss to Team Liquid in the Lock In semifinals.
A team made up of international standouts and untamed talent, EG was unceremoniously shown the door in the tournament’s penultimate stage against Liquid.
It was a far cry from the hyper-competitive Cloud9 vs 100 Thieves series, which had a 3-2 reverse sweep fall in C9’s favor. EG barely managed to push the series past 80 minutes — an anticlimactic ending to their otherwise exciting Lock In.
“At the end of the day, it won’t affect qualifications for Worlds, but if you’re going to lose, lose 3-2, you know?” Dun told Dexerto, reflecting on the series. He understands if EG fans feel let down.
League is a game of inches where you take some hits, but are expected to answer with a few of your own before someone’s Nexus goes down. Unfortunately, the hits kept coming to EG throughout the series. Liquid simply had the read on them.
“Let’s play to our strengths; let’s play aggression; let’s play things that will let us jump in and fight all the time,” Dun said.
“When teams weren’t expecting it, we were able to get some free, cheap wins. But Team Liquid have a very smart coaching staff, and Jatt is a very good drafting coach. He figured us out.”
Evil Geniuses defying the doubters
It was not the end EG envisioned, but one that could be expected. Dun explained how his remote coaching situation fought against the ambition he has for this team.
The day-to-day was being run by Strategic Coach Connor ‘Artemis’ Doyle and Assistant Coach Brandon ‘Mash’ Phan, relegating the head coach to only 1-on-1 remote sessions and case studies with his players whenever possible.
The former MAD Lions coach was impressed with the early results of the Lock In tournament, but he could already see how he wants to develop the team moving forward from the 0-3 TL series.
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Admittedly, he glanced at some LCS power rankings beforehand and noticed his team placed far away from the top. These under-evaluations could be an opportunity to surprise, considering the talent at every position.
“When I saw tier lists at the start of the season putting this EG team at 6th or 7th, or scrapping for a playoff place; I mean, I think it’s a bit disrespectful to the players that we got there,” he said through a few laughs.
Jungler Dennis ‘Svenskeren’ Johnsen has been to international events in seven of his 10 years as a pro.
Lee ‘IgNar’ Dong-geun helped Misfits push Faker and 2017 Worlds runner-ups SKT to a Game 5 in the quarterfinals.
AD Carry Matthew ‘Deftly’ Chen and Mid Laner Daniele ‘Jiizuke’ di Mauro have proven themselves as dark horses in their respective roles.
Jeong ‘Impact’ Eon-young flexed his 2013 Worlds Championship Renekton skin in Lock In, a reminder of his incredible skill ceiling.
The pieces are already in EG’s lineup.
Dun is excited for the players that he has and sees this team going pretty far in the postseason, if they will it. Needless to say, he’s eager for his flight to L.A.
Even so, to think about the LCS Finals, or Worlds for that matter, EG will have to get to work. It’s something the 33-year-old coach is all too keen to start heading into LCS Spring 2021.
“Come the middle of the season, come the end of the season, when we’re playing for Worlds, we’re going to have more pages in our playbook,” he said.
“We had maybe one or two, in the Lock In tournament and not too much beyond that. That’s okay, it’s still early in the season, players are still learning to play with each other.”
Peter Dun: “Every game we play will be entertaining to watch”
There’s an obvious trajectory for where Dun wants to take the team, and an even more apparent reason why EG fans should expect a bumpy season.
“The kind of things we want to do this season as a team, are naturally sometimes going to look really really good,” he said with high spirits. “And sometimes it’s going to look really really bad.”
“You have to balance risk and reward,” he began, more teaching than explaining. “Some teams prefer to minimize risk and maximize reward. I would say we’re going to be a team which is not about minimizing risk, it’s about making sure we get more reward for every risk we take.
“I think that’s the philosophy you’ll see around EG this year.”
This time around, Team Liquid mopped the floor with the Worlds-aspiring underdogs. But Evil Geniuses have a head coach who has a talent for molding individuals into an exciting team.
“Liquid found a good way to counter what we were doing in this tournament. It’s a good learning experience if we get to play another best-of-five against Team Liquid later this year,” he said.
“We’re going to have a lot of catastrophic clown-fiesta games, I’m sure. MAD Lions definitely had their fiestas last year. I can’t promise you EG will win all of our games, but I promise that every game we play will be entertaining to watch.”
Evil Geniuses open the 2021 LCS season against 100 Thieves, on February 5 at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST / 1 AM GMT (Feb 6).