Evil Geniuses stumble in first games against G2 at MSI 2022

Parkes Ousley

It’s one of the longest-standing rivalries in League of Legends history. And at MSI 2022, G2 Esports seem determined to settle the score once and for all, beating Evil Geniuses twice in their opening three games. 

Death, taxes, and the EU vs NA rivalry in League of Legends. Life’s most famous inevitabilities.

Ever since the first-ever World Championship all the way back in 2011, Europe and North America have battled it out on the international stage to claim bragging rights as the best Western region in League of Legends.

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The discussion has been remarkably Europe-favored in recent years, especially since that an EU vs NA final at MSI 2019 – one that ended up being the fastest international final in League of Legends history, with G2 crowning themselves Europe’s first international champion since Fnatic in 2011.

And that rivalry is back with a vengeance at MSI 2022. When G2 Esports and Evil Geniuses took to the stage on Day 1 of the tournament, they did so with the weight of an 11-year regional dispute on their shoulders.

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The teams had exchanged their fair share of trash-talk before the tournament began, with EG’s rookie mid laner Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Joonyun famously promising to “sh*t on EU” in a postgame interview at the LCS Spring Finals.

Jojopyun’s trash talk only heightened the expectations heading into MSI. This EG roster was touted domestically as the savior of North America – bringing up two talented NA resident youngsters to their first-ever international tournament. They made a spectacular lower bracket run in the playoffs after a disappointing end to their regular season, going on a 12-1 streak en route to the title.

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100T top laner Kim ‘Ssumday’ Chanho told Dexerto how scary Evil Geniuses’ draft depth had been in their finals matchup. He described EG as “leveled up” during the LCS playoffs and explained how their depth of strategy had made them a formidable domestic opponent.

So why, then, have the Evil Geniuses failed to take a game off G2 Esports so far at MSI 2022, and what can we expect from them at the tournament going forward?

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Inability to force a lead

Even after a heroic fight at Baron spearheaded by Inspired, EG couldn’t quite close out on their lead.

There’s not a huge amount EG can learn from their first loss to G2. The game was a fairly standard 31-minute stomp where EG’s bot lane was completely outclassed, with Danny going 0-3 in the lane phase versus G2’s Victor ‘Flakked’ Lirola and Raphaël ‘Targamas’ Crabbé.

But their second game? That was EG’s game to win, and that’s a game where they can take some very valuable lessons going forward in the tournament.

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The game began on a sour note with first blood for G2 onto Danny. From thereon out, it looked as though it would be another quick, clean victory for the EU representatives. But G2 got confident (read: cocky), and went for a Baron Nashor call that they had absolutely no right to attempt.

Evil Geniuses cleaned up the fight, took the Nashor, and suddenly the game was blown wide open. They managed to almost completely nullify G2’s early game leads, no mean feat considering G2 had been on track to take the Baron and end the game.

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But try as they might, EG just couldn’t capitalize on G2’s blunder. They were too focused on playing their own composition, and failed to account for G2’s win condition of a very fed Sergen ‘BrokenBlade’ Çelik on Camille.

Losing sight of BrokenBlade for even a second would mean certain death for EG – but that’s exactly what they did, letting him slip through their fingers in a crucial bot lane fight. He jumped straight into their backline and eliminated both their carries and their hopes of victory.

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They had multiple opportunities to pull the trigger and end the game, but their attempt ultimately came too late to stop the runaway train of G2 Esports, who sprinted to EG’s base to end the game at 38 minutes.

What does this mean for the EU – NA rivalry?

Don’t worry, NA fans – the rivalry isn’t over just because EG lost two games.

Let’s just get some disclaimers out of the way.

  1. You can’t judge a matchup fairly based on two games
  2. These two teams do not represent the entirety of their region
  3. Best-of-ones do not allow teams to truly showcase their strengths

Now, with that being said – Europe are once again pulling ahead in the EU vs NA rivalry.

Sure, G2 may have thrown their early game lead versus EG. But EG’s failure to close out the game after G2 essentially placed a victory gently in their lap is almost more damning.

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But before the NA fans start sharpening their pitchforks, let’s just take a step back for a second –  this doesn’t mean EG can’t still even out the score. They’ll play G2 three more times before the group stage is over. That’s three more opportunities to pull it back for NA.

Both Ssumday and LCS caster Barento ‘Raz’ Mohamed praised EG’s adaptability in a best-of-five as one of their biggest domestic strengths. Their adaptability and depth of strategy just aren’t going to be showcased in the same way in a best-of-one.

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Does that excuse their poor performance on days one and two of MSI? No. But it does perhaps explain why NA’s saviours weren’t able to pull it together in the way LCS fans were hoping, and perhaps provide some much-needed hope for the team’s future at MSI this year.

But, as of right now, Europe are still better. G2 have yet to drop a game at MSI, and there’s a very real chance that they’re going to cruise through their group undefeated.

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