Will Vancouver Bleed Blue?: Former TI Champion and North American power house Evil Geniuses hopes a revitalized roster will put it back on top with a strong showing at TI8.
Another year of Dota 2 action has come and gone, and the stage is now set for the Dota 2 world to once again come together to enjoy and celebrate the game on the biggest and most prestigious of stages: The International. With The International 2018 fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old some information on the squads that will be fighting in Vancouver for a chance to lay claim to the Aegis of Champions and cement themselves a place in Dota 2 history. Each post in this series will provide a brief profile of one of the 18 teams that have earned a place in the field at TI8, including a small overview of the team/organization’s history, a breakdown of its 2017-2018 season, a look at the players on the team’s roster, and expectations entering TI itself. Whether you’re deep into the pro Dota scene already or just looking to get your feet wet in preparation for TI8, the hope is that these profiles will give you a bit more insight or a refresher course for the teams that will be playing in Vancouver in August. With that in mind, we will look at 1 of the 3 North American squads in the field at the event and the TI5 Champion: Evil Geniuses.
Region: North America (NA)
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Rank: 11th (1335 Qualifying Points)
Qualification Method: TI8 North America Qualifier (2nd Place)
2017-2018 Pro Circuit Event Appearances: 13 (4 Top 4 Finishes)
Previous TI Appearances: TI2 (9th-12th), TI4 (3rd), TI5 (1st), TI6 (3rd), TI7 (9th-12th)
2017-2018 Season Notable Achievements:
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Majors
3rd – DreamLeague Season 8
Dota 2 Pro Circuit Minors
1st – GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor
3rd-4th – PGL Open Bucharest
3rd-4th – ESL One Genting 2018
Non- Pro Circuit Events
2nd – Galaxy Battles II: Emerging Worlds
Evil Geniuses is one of the oldest names in esports, with the North American organization tracing its roots all the way back to its founding in 1999. Evil Geniuses has come to be regarded as one of the premier organizations in the esports world, fielding teams in a ridiculous number of games spanning genres from strategy games to shooters, fighting games, and MOBAS. Evil Geniuses first foray into the Dota 2 world came just 2 months after TI1 with the team signing 3 members of Danish squad Meet Your Makers and 2 members of OK.Nirvana.int. The new team strung together a series of impressive performances in 2012, but stumbled at TI2 and finished in the 9th-12th place position overall. After a series of roster changes, Evil Geniuses managed to close out 2012 in a positive fashion, but got off to a slow start to open 2013. After a few months of struggles, Evil Geniuses managed to turn things around and appeared to be building up momentum as it approached the TI3 qualifiers. However, the team ended up falling short of the mark to qualify for the event, finishing in 4th place in the TI3 Western Qualifiers. Despite that setback, the team continued to represent itself well in the following months, claiming Top 4 finishes at DreamHack Summer 2013, RaidCall EMS One Summer Season, The Premier League Season 5, and The Defense Season 4. The team’s performance in the months following the TI3 qualifiers was impressive, but it wasn’t enough to stave off another wave of roster changes as the team once again saw over half of its lineup altered. The new roster struggled over the final months of 2013, and its future entering the new year was uncertain as most of its lineup was either inactive or playing with other squads.
In February of 2014, Evil Geniuses announced the signing of the S A D B O Y S lineup, whose roster included 2 players who had already been under contract with the organization. The new roster immediately proved itself to be a dominant force within the North American region, claiming 4 straight victories at StarLadder StarSeries Season 9: America, MLG T.K.O. America, the joinDOTA League Season 1 America, and teh American Qualifier for ESL One Frankfurt. The team’s success carried over onto the international level as well, with EG claiming Top 4 finishes in 6 of its 8 appearances outside of North America, including 1st place runs as the Monster Energy Invitational, The Summit, and the HyperX D2L Western Challenge. Those performances earned the team an invite to TI4, where it put together the best run for a North American team at that time with a 3rd place finish. Following its success in Seattle, the team opted to remain together through the rest of the year, posting 1st place finishes at the World E-sport Championships 2014, StarLadder StarSeries Season 10, the Dota 2 League Season 5 -Western Division, and DreamLeague Season 2. Evil Geniuses entered 2015 with quite a bit of momentum on its side, but that momentum was threatened with the departure of 2 of its players for Team Secret just days into the new year. The roster changes didn’t slow down the North American super power, as Evil Geniuses proceeded to win the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015 and bulldozed its way to top level performances at a handful of high profile international events in the following months. Those performances earned the team an invite to TI5, where the team secured the first ever title for the North American region and crowned itself TI Champion. However, even winning the Aegis of Champions didn’t keep Evil Geniuses safe from the post-TI roster shuffle. Artour “Arteezy” Babaev, 1 of the 2 players that had departed the team at the beginning of the year, returned to the team to take the place of Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling. The changes didn’t seem to affect the team too drastically, as Evil Geniuses claimed a 3rd place finish at The Frankfurt Major in November and won The Summit 4 in December to close out the year.
2016 would be a year of significant change for Evil Geniuses, but the team began the year looking just as strong as it had been in its TI-winning campaign in 2015. The squad placed in the Top 3 in its first 6 international appearances, including a 3rd place finish at The Shanghai Major in March. However, roster changes would once again strike the North American squad, as Arteezy once again left to join Team Secret, taking offlaner Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora with him. The team managed to pull together a new roster, adding Aui_2000 to the lineup once again along with Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale to continue competing in international events. Just under 3 months later though and following a rought 13th-16th place finish at The Manila Major, the Evil Geniuses roster would be altered yet again, with BuLba and UNiVeRsE switching teams while Aui_2000 left the team and was replaced by Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg. Just 2 months after those changes, the North American squad was back on the TI stage, earning itself a 3rd place finish at TI6. A few weeks later, Clinton “Fear” Loomis retired from active play, and team captain Peter “ppd” Dager left the team. In September, the team’s new roster was announced and the new squad managed to close out the year with a win at the Mars Dota 2 League 2016 Autum along with a 3rd place finish at The Summit 6 and a 3rd-4th place run at The Boston Major. The first half of 2017 saw the team put toegether impressive performances on the international level, including a 3rd-4th place finish at The Kiev Major as well as victories at the Dota Pit League Season 5 and The Manila Masters. However, the team struggled at TI7, finishing in the 9th-12th place position overall and leaving the team in a somewhat precarious position as it prepared for the first ever Pro Circuit season.
Season in Review
EG’s less than impressive performance at TI7 raised a number of questions for the team entering the 2017-2018 season, but the North American squad began its campaign in good form. At the end of August, Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg left the team, and just days later Clinton “Fear” Loomis returned from his stint as the teams coach and resumed an active position in the lineup. The team placed within the Top 4 in each of its 3 Pro Circuit qualifier appearances in 2017, and retained a position at the top of the hierarchy within its home region. On the Pro Circuit stage itself, the squad was able to secure some early success with a 3rd-4th place finish at the PGL Open Bucharest Minor and a 3rd place performance at the DreamLeague Season 8 Major. After a 6th-7th place finish at the team’s final Pro Circuit appearance of the year at DOTA Summit 8, the team underwent some changes to its roster. The team’s coach, Avery “SVG” Silverman, left the organization, and just 1 day later the team released offlaner Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora as well. In their place, Kanishka “BuLba” Sosale returned to EG as its new coach, while Rasmus “MISERY” Filipsen joined the team as its new support player and captain. With those moves came a positional switch as well, as Fear moved from support back to a core role and Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan was shifted into the offlane position.
The second half of the season proved to be a time of significant struggle for Evil Geniuses, as the team and its new lineup was wracked by inconsistent play throughout the 2018 section of the season. The team did manage to earn a 3rd-4th place finish at the ESL One Genting 2018 Minor, but failed to earn Qualifying Points at the Captains Draft 4.0 Minor and finished just short of the Top 4 mark at both The Bucharest Major and the ESL One Katowice 2018 Major in the following months. Throughout this period, the team managed to maintain a stable presence on the home front, claiming Top 4 finishes across all 3 of its qualifier runs across the rest of the season. However, that performance within its home region did not translate onto the international level. The team claimed just 1 more successful campaign on the Pro Circuit stage at the GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor in March, but fell short of success in its next 3 Pro Circuit appearances. Following its 10th-12th place finish at the ESL One Birmingham 2018 Major in May, the team decided to make some drastic changes to its lineup in an attempt to rebuild for a run through the TI8 Open Qualifiers. Fear and MISERY both left the team’s roster, and 1 day later the organization announced that Gustav “s4” Magnusson and Tal “Fly” Aizik would be transferring from OG to complete the team’s new roster. The move made Fly the team’s new captain, and shifted Suma1L back to the midlane role, though the squad did not have much time to adjust to its new members and positions. Less than a week after the changes, the team participated in the China Dota2 Supermajor, where it finished in the 9th-12th place position. Despite that less than ideal debut for its new lineup, Evil Geniuses entered the TI8 Qualifiers with confidence that its altered roster could find success. After fighting its way through the TI8 North America Open Qualifier, EG claimed a 2nd place finish in the TI8 North America Qualifier to secure itself a place in Vancouver.
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev (Carry) – Though he is often known for being relatively outspoken and even arrogant, Arteezy has built up a reputation as one of the leading carry players in the Dota 2 world. He has firmly entrenched himself among a new breed of player at the carry position, combining the traditional role of a hard farming core with a penchant for early fighting and rotations typically seen more often from midlaners. Part of the reason for this hybrid style may stem from the fact that Arteezy first came to prominence within the Dota 2 world as a midlaner. Often considered to be a prodigy within the North American scene, as the Uzbekistan Canadian had been known within the regional scene long before he ever appeared for a professional team. Arteezy had earned a name for himself at a young age through in-house leagues and training matches with pro players, but held off on committing to Dota 2 full time due to a desire to complete his education. However, the summer break provided him with an opportunity to play for European squad Kaipi. After 4 months and limited success, Arteezy became inactive to return to his studies. In November, he served as a stand-in for his former team, now playing as Speed Gaming.int, and helped the squad claim a somewhat unexpected victory at the MLG Championship Columbus. At the start of 2014, Arteezy was playing as a member of the S A D B O Y S roster that was signed by Evil Geniuses, marking his stint with a major organization. The new EG managed to march its way to the top of the hierarchy in the international scene, and claimed a 3rd place finish at TI4. Arteezy and EG closed out the year with another handful of impressive performances, but the following year would bring a number of changes for both player and team. In 2015, Arteezy left Evil Geniuses in order to join the roster of Team Secret and transition from a midlaner to a carry role. Arteezy helped the team earn a 3rd place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2015, and was a large factor in the team earning 4 straight victories at the Red Bull Battle Grounds, The Summit 3, the MarsTV Dota 2 League 2015 Spring, and ESL One Frankfurt 2015. Those performance earned the team an invite to TI5, but the squad ended up finishing in the 7th-8th place position, with Arteezy’s former squad Evil Geniuses claiming the Aegis of Champions. Just 1 week after the end of TI, Arteezy returned to the Evil Geniuses organization, retaining the carry position that he had adopted with Team Secret. Arteezy helped EG put together back to back 3rd place finishes at The Frankfurt and Shanghai Majors, but soon after found himself leaving the team to join Team Secret a second time. The second stint with Team Secret was not so successful though, as the tam finished in the 13th-16th place position at both The Manila Major and TI6. Those poor performances prompted yet another return to Evil Geniuses, where Arteezy has remained ever since. EG has had quite a rough time of it over the past year or so, and even Arteezy’s considerable talent has not been enough to avoid significant drops in consistency from both himself and the team as a whole. However, Arteezy’s hard farming and hard fighting style has not diminished throughout the team’s struggles, and with the team’s new lineup in place he figures to play a vital role in what Evil Geniuses hopes is a rebirth at TI8.
Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan (Mid) – When the discussion of the best midlaners in the world is brought up, Suma1L is a player whose name is almost always thrown into the mix. That’s high praise for someone who will enter TI8 at just 19 years of age, but Suma1L has the hardware and the accolades to back up some of those lofty claims. The Pakistani phenom has become known for a level of confidence that borders on arrogance, and has been involved in a number of incidents that have not gone over well with many sections of the Dota 2 world. With that being said, Suma1L has also earned a reputation as one of the most explosive and dominant players in the Dota 2 scene, with a play style that emphasizes aggressive and active heroes while still maintaining the heavy levels of farm expected from the mid lane position. That interesting style is one that Suma1L has been developing and practicing since long before his professional career began. The young midlaner began gaining notoriety back in 2012 in regional ranked matches and in-house leagues like the North American Elite League (NEL). After 3 years of grinding his way to the top of the NEL rankings, Suma1L was noticed by Evil Geniuses and recruited into the organization in January of 2015. He has remained a member of the team ever since, and has served as the foundation for a number of iterations of the team’s lineup. It seems a bit strange for a team to base itself around a star player that is so young, but Suma1L has proven himself capable of withstanding high pressure situations before, and his incredible talent makes him an invaluable asset to Evil Geniuses. Suma1L stands as the youngest player to win ever TI, a record that will not be broken this year as not a single player in the field in Vancouver is younger than the midlaner was when he won TI5 with EG. The young star has a chance to set another record this year as the first player to ever win multiple TIs, but in order to accomplish that the relatively new roster of EG will need him to lead from the front and play at his absolute best at TI8.
Gustav “s4” Magnusson (Offlane) – If there was an officially Hall of Fame for the Dota 2 world, s4 is a player that would have already likely secured himself a place in it. The Swedish veteran is one of the most accomplished players in the history of the game, and for years was touted as one of the best, if not the best, midlaners in the Dota 2 world. Perhaps the only reason why s4 is not still referred to as one of the best midlaners in the world is the fact that he no longer plays the position, as the veteran Swede transitioned into the offlane role. Though his position changed, s4’s play style largely remained the same, with the midlaner turned offlaner still showing a preference for more active, play making heroes that have been his calling card since the very beginning of his career. S4’s time in esports actually began as a Heroes of Newerth player, but he eventually made the transition to Dota 2 in January 2012 when he was signed by CIS squad Team Empire. After spending just 2 months with the team, s4 left Team Empire and joined the roster of The Tough Bananas, which was later signed by Copenhagen Wolves. That squad found limited success though, and in September of 2012, s4 helped create the squad No Tidehunter. No Tidehuner gained notoriety with its unexpected victory at DreamHack Winter 2012, and after another high profile victory at StarLadder StarSeries Season 5, s4 and the rest of the No Tidehunter lineup was signed by Alliance in April of 2013. Thus began one of the most dominant stretches in the history of Dota 2, with Alliance claiming 1st place finishes in 7 major tournaments across a 3 month span, culminating in the team winning TI3 and cementing its place in Dota 2 history. The team continued to be a competitive team through the end of 2013 and the first half of 2014, but stumbled in its title defense with a 11th-12th place finish at TI4. Soon after, s4 departed the Alliance roster to join the newly formed Team Secret, helping the squad establish itself in the European region and claim 4 straight wins at prominent international events in 2015 to earn the team a TI5 invite. The team finished in the 7th-8th place position at TI5, and s4 found himself returning to Alliance in the post-TI roster shuffle. His return to Alliance didn’t spark a resurgence from the Swedish squad, as the team earned spots at The Frankfurt, Shanghai, and Manila Majors but failed to finish any higher than the 7th-8th place position. Even with those struggles, Alliance managed to qualify for TI6, though it end up finishing 9th-12th at the event which prompted s4 to leave the organization once again. In August of 2016, s4 joined the roster of OG, where he officially transitioned to the offlane role and helped his new squad win 2 of its 4 Major Championships. After a 7th-8th place finish at TI7, s4 and OG opened the Pro Circuit season with a string of strong qualifier performances, but little success on the Pro Circuit stage itself. Despite continuing to dominate the European region, OG simply couldn’t earn itself any significant amounts of Qualifying Points. In May of 2018, s4 and team captain Tal “Fly” Aizik transferred from OG to Evil Geniuses just in time for the team’s run through the TI8 Qualifiers. At this stage in his career, s4 has experienced success at nearly every level of professional Dota 2 and has displayed an uncanny level of consistency in his level of play and contributions to his team. The Swedish star has lifted the Aegis of Champions and won back to back Majors, but he has also been part of an up-and-coming underdog squad and has helped build and rebuild teams and organizations back to glory in the Dota 2 world. Evil Geniuses has to hope that the now legendary player can do the same for this organization, taking the struggling former king of North American Dota back to new heights with an inspiring performance at TI8.
Andreas Franck “Cr1t-” Nielsen (Support) – Cr1t-‘s story in the professional Dota 2 world is one of determination amidst near constant change, which is rather ironic considering the fact that he is the second longest tenured player on the EG roster, behind only to Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan. His time with teams like Evil Geniuses and OG have pushed Cr1t- into the spotlight, and the Danish player has managed to earn notoriety for himself with his play on aggressive, roaming support heroes. His impressive play on heroes like Io, Rubick, Earth Spirit, and Tusk have made him a rather famous face in the Dota 2 world, but Cr1t-‘s career begins with much more humble origins. Cr1t- took his first steps into the Dota 2 world back in 2012 as a midlaner for the squad Gamer University. That squad managed to win the StarLadder ProSeries Season 3, but Cr1t- would find himself rotating through a number of other teams soon after that initial success. He moved from Gamer University to We haz Asian, to H2k Gaming, then back to We haz Asian all within the span of a few months before ending the year on the roster of DD.Dota. Throughout these moves, both Cr1t- and his teams would struggle to find much success, and that trend would continue in 2013. In March, he left DD.Dota and served as a stand-in and free agent for around 2 months before being picked up by Lions Pride in May. 2 months later, the team left its organization and formed a new team called Team Life, which continued to play together until October when Cr1t- and 2 of his teammates were signed by mousesports. That squad survived for 3 whole months before disbanding, leaving Cr1t- to return to Team Life only to be signed by Meet Your Makers a week later. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to find much success and failed to qualify for TI4, which led to Cr1t- leaving the team in July. He would serve as a stand-in and short term roster member for a number of teams over the final months of 2014 and the start of 2015, but spent much of his time in the Dota 2 scene playing in in-house leagues. Those efforts eventually landed him a spot on the (monkey) Business roster that would become OG, and Cr1t- served as a significant factor in the team’s rise to prominence, helping the team win 2 of its 4 Major Championships. After a rough performance at TI6 though, Cr1t- left OG to join Evil Geniuses, paving the way for his longest stretch with a single team in his entire Dota 2 career. Cr1t- joined EG just as its TI5 glory days were fading away, and has spent the past 2 years trying to guide the squad back to success on the international level. While he may not be known as a player that can take over a match on his own, his aggressive play serves to set a favorable pace for EG and enable its cores to dictate when and where they want to strike. The ability to facilitate his teammates is one of Cr1t’s most valuable contributions to the EG roster, and it is one that the North American squad will need consistently if it wants to reclaim its place among the elite teams in the Dota 2 world.
Tal “Fly” Aizik (Support, Captain) – While the rest of EG’s lineup has a penchant for fast paced, aggressive sorts of play styles, Fly acts as a tempering presence as the team’s captain and support. Fly has become renowned for his abilities as a drafter, having held that role with nearly every team he has ever played for. His savvy drafting combined with his ability to play the often self-sacrificing position 5 or “hard support” has allowed Fly to have an impact on the game that many others in his role fail to match. Fly’s roots as both a support player and a team captain stretch back to the very beginning of his career in Dota 2, when he transitioned to the game with the rest of Fnatic’s former Heroes of Newerth lineup in March of 2012. The converted squad quickly set to work trying to establish itself among the leaders in the burgeoning Dota 2 world, but was unable to secure itself an invite to TI2. Despite that setback, the Fnatic lineup remained together throughout the entirety of 2013, and that stability paid off with a host of impressive performances for the squad and an invite to TI3 that saw the squad finish in the 7th-8th place position overall. The squad remained together through the first half of 2014 as well, but a crushing 12th-14th place finish at TI4 and friction between the players and organization finally spelled the end of Fly’s time with Fnatic. In August of 2017, Fly was announced as the offlaner of the newly formed Team Secret, although he was removed from the roster by the end of the year. In 2015, Fly reappeared as a member of European squad MeePwn’d, but the squad disbanded just 2 months later after failing to secure success within the region. After spending a few months as a stand-in for North American squad compLexity Gaming, Fly officially made the jump to the region and was announced as a member of the team’s new roster in May. Fly and his new team managed to win the TI5 Americas Qualifier, but finished in the 9th-12th place position at the event itself. Just weeks after the end of TI, Fly left compLexity Gaming to return to both the European region and the support position as a founding member of (monkey) Business, which would later become known as OG. Back in the support position and reclaiming his role as captain, Fly led OG to become a powerhouse in the Dota 2 world, winning 4 of the first 5 Major Championships. Eventually though, the glory days of those early OG rosters came to an end, and after struggling significantly in the first Pro Circuit season, Fly joined the roster of Evil Geniuses in May of 2018. Fly faces similar problems with EG that he did with OG, with an organization struggling to return to prominence after a period of struggles that saw it fall from grace in the Dota 2 world. However, with a mix of talent and experience around him, Fly will make his way to Vancouver and TI8 seeking the 1 achievement that has eluded him in his Dota 2 career: laying claim to the Aegis of Champions on the TI stage.
Kanishka ‘Sam’ “BuLba” Sosale (Coach) – The EG roster has a number of veteran players on it, but none of its active players have quite as much experience in the game as its coach. BuLba is a rather famous name and face within the North American Dota 2 scene, with the now coach and former player having been a part of North American Dota since the days of the original DotA. BuLba had already been playing professionally for a number of years when his team, EZ Style, transitioned to Dota 2 in 2011. In December, the team was acquired by It’s Gosu eSports, though BuLba was removed from the team in April of 2012 clearing the way for him to join EG for the first time a month later. BuLba attended TI2 with EG, where the North American squad finished in the 9th-12th place position overall. BuLba left the team a short while after TI2, reappearing in December as part of Team Liquid’s new lineup. That Team Liquid lineup managed to establish itself as a significant power within the North American region, and earned itself a place at TI3 where it famously upset Chinese squad LGD Gaming in the Lower Bracket of the event. BuLba remained with the organization for another year, but the team appeared to be on the decline and finished in the 9th-10th place position at TI4. Soon after, BuLba left the squad to join Team Tinker, remaining with the squad for nearly a year through its transition to the mousesports organization. When mousesports dropped its Dota 2 team in July of 2015, BuLba opted to temporarily take a coaching role with EG and helped guide the North American squad to its victory at TI5. Following the event and the subsequent off season, BuLba found himself returning to North America with the roster of Digital Chaos. He remained a part of the team through the end of 2015 and the first few months of 2016, but left the team in March to join EG for the second time in his career. His time with EG proved short though, as BuLba left the North American squad in June to join Team Secret, before joining Team Liquid just 2 months after that. He ended up going inactive almost immediately after joining Team Liquid, and took another shot at coaching in December with Digital Chaos at The Boston Major. Just 1 month later, he left Team Liqudi and registered with the lineup of Team Onyx that was signed by Digital Chaos just a few months later. A 9th-12th place finish at TI7 and a solid, but unimpressive start to the Pro Circuit season led to the team’s first disbanding in November of 2017, which left BuLba with an opportunity to join EG as its coach on a full-time basis. BuLba’s presence as the team’s coach has not been a cure-all for the team’s many issues this season, but the hope is that his extensive experience combined with a new roster will help guide EG back onto the path to success. The impact of coaches in the Dota 2 scene is not always immediately apparent to fans, but EG is going to need all the insight and advice that it can get from its coach if the North American squad wants to get back into winning form at TI8.
Expectations at TI
Evil Geniuses enter TI8 in a somewhat uncomfortable position both within its home region and on the international level as a whole. For years, the team stood as the most powerful force within North America, and a formidable threat to even the most fearsome squads on the intentional level. However, the past year or 2 has seen the king of North America fall from grace to a rather extensive degree, with a myriad of issues and struggles being magnified by rigors of the Pro Circuit schedule. The team has lost much of its edge, as shown by its repeated poor performances on the Pro Circuit stage this season. In addition to those woes, the team is even beginning to lose its hold on its home region, as squads like OpTic Gaming, VGJ.Storm, and Immortals have risen in an attempt to fill the power vacuum left by EG’s diminished presence within North America. Overall, things do not necessarily look good for EG as it makes its way to Vancouver to compete on the Dota 2 world’s biggest stage. However, there is hope for the team and its legion of crestfallen fans, as EG’s late season roster changes have kindled some small degree of belief that the North American squad can return to its former glory. The team’s near constant struggles throughout the regular season cast a large and ominous shadow even now, but the team’s new look may be what it needs to return to prominence in the Dota 2 world. With Suma1L back at the mid position, Cr1t- relived of the captaincy and free to focus on his game, legendary player s4 taking the offlane role, and renowned captain Fly at the helm of the team, EG has all the makings of a team poised for a strong showing at TI. This new EG roster has the talent and the experience it needs to succeed, and with 2 TI winners in the lineup it should know what it needs to win in Vancouver. All of that is encouraging talk, but at this stage it’s just that: talk. The team’s final Pro Circuit appearance was not overly impressive, and while its performance within the TI8 Qualifiers was more encouraging, we’ve still yet to see the team truly succeed against any top tier opposition like what it will see at TI8. The potential for success all appears to be there for EG, but until we actually see this team compete in Vancouver, it’s impossible to tell how it will perform under the pressure of the TI stage. A place somewhere around the middle of the standings seems like a fair prediction for the North American squad for now, leaving room for both a surprising upswing or a disappointing decline depending on how the new roster comes out in Vancouver.