Evil Geniuses sits among the many teams who made roster changes this Summer Split in the League Championship Series. About halfway through the split, the org brought on Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer, allowing them to promote Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, who had previously been in Academy, thanks to the freeing up of an import slot that had been filled by Mid Laner Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro.
In their first weekend, the new roster faced Team Liquid and Cloud9, who both sat at the top of the LCS ladder. Their loss to Team Liquid was expected, but their defeat over Cloud9 turned heads around the community, noting some improved level of play and generating hype for the roster's potential. Unfortunately, the success didn't come as easily in other weeks, with the updated roster actually ending the split with a worse record than the original roster that was struggling so much earlier in the split.
While it's hard to make meaningful change in the middle of a split and it takes time to form synergy and a team style, EG's final regular-season record had members of the community asking whether or not their change was entirely for the better. Additionally, Colin "Kumo" Zhao had been performing better in the Summer Split compared to Spring, as well, meaning the "upgrade" to Huni wasn't as pronounced as it could've been.
We spoke with EG coach, Connor "Artemis" Doyle, after their victory over 100 Thieves in the lower bracket on Sunday about their roster and the other various adaptations the team has had to make as it relates to playoffs.
Evil Geniuses has spoken of a potential seven-man roster since signing Huni in the break between Splits, further featuring either Goldenglue and Huni, Jiizuke and Kumo, or even Jiizuke, Huni, and Matt "Deftly" Chen for Bae "Bang" Jun-sik in the AD Carry position. However, through their eight playoff games, none of the secondary rosters have made an appearance, with Huni and Goldenglue playing exclusively. After the 0-2 against FlyQuest last Friday, the lack of change was questioned by both the LCS broadcast and the league community online.
To start, I want to ask what everyone has been wondering, where is the rest of this seven-man roster? Why haven't we seen the others on the team that actually started off the year with you guys?
For strategic reasons, I'm not going to say too much on this, but what I can say is that Jiizuke is still actively involved. He's been involved in the practice the same way he was in the practice before, where he's actively contributing in review, he's working with Goldenglue on one on ones, he's working with him on matchups, he's contributing to our draft conversations.
And Jiizuke was ready to play today [against 100 Thieves] if we needed him. He had his coffee, he ate, he got prepared. But we didn't need him. And I think that's all I'll say on that for now. After playoffs concludes, I think you can expect some more clarity on this, but for now we're going to keep it close to our chest.
That's a very reasonable answer, and maybe it's just a repeat again for this next one, but was there a reason why he didn't play at all in the first series? I think when you all went down 0-2 everyone expected to see a roster shift.
If you look at the schedule of playoffs this year it's really unreasonable to expect a team to have prepared two rosters. We only had 15 scrim games when the regular season ended and playoffs began, we only had three days of practice. And then between our loss to FlyQuest and our match today, we only had one day of practice, so five games.
So despite people on the outside maybe thinking, "Why didn't you just put in Jiizuke?" - it's really not that simple. In League of Legends, you need to practice with rosters. You can't just throw in pieces without practice, and let's say for the sake of the argument if we decided to split practice evenly between the Goldenglue and Jiizuke roster, that would mean both rosters would've had only seven games to prepare before our matchup against FlyQuest, right? That's unreasonable I think.
But now we get a little more time, we have more days to practice this week, so you can expect both rosters to be prepared going forward. Usually, like last Spring for example, we have two weeks before we even play our first round in the playoffs. So we could've had 13 scrim days if we only wanted to take one off day. And that's what, 65 matches or something like that, but instead we only got 15 matches. So the difference is astronomical, and because of the way COVID is forcing the schedule to go, it's very difficult for us to utilize the seven-man roster.
Playoffs Patch and Performance
Riot Games released a new patch targetting pro play leading up to the playoffs, nerfing many of the pro dominant picks and buffing some who could help add some new life to the meta. However, the release of the patch only allowed for a few days of adaptation between the last regular season patch and this post-season patch for some of the regions, including the LCS.
Artemis breaks down how he and the team prepared for the first weekend and how that may improve going forward, as well as how they actually performed and what their expectations are for the rest of the 2020 Summer Season.
And furthermore, how was it figuring out the patch? You only had a couple of days for that too.
It was fine, I think that the good news there is that everybody was on the same schedule. We all only had a few days to practice. Others did have more, depending on how their schedules worked out [like DIG and 100 who didn't play until the weekend]. But I think that as a staff, we're very good at adapting to the new patches. I don't think we were particularly troubled by this new patch, in fact, I think our read on this patch was excellent very quickly. And in our scrims in the week leading up to these matches, we oftentimes felt like we were getting better drafts and having better reads, and I think we saw that reflected in our match today against 100 Thieves.
100 Thieves had the opportunity to study our full best of five against FlyQuest and understand our Blue Side and our Red Side priorities completely, as well as understand what our counter picks were to specific meta picks, they had a full book on our prep so to speak. So I think that should've made it very easy for 100 Thieves to be the better-prepped team and win draft pretty convincingly and put us in a place where we have to make some fast on our feet adaptations in the middle of the series where we have to compete with what should've been a fully prepped draft. And I think they dropped the ball a little bit, I don't think their drafts were too convincing at all.
In all their games, even the first game, they were playing with a really narrow win condition. Even if we were down 6,000 or 7,000 gold in that game, we're still probably in a winning condition come thirty minutes, so the barrier of execution in a draft like that is so high, I just don't think it's reasonable to expect your players to execute something like that in a best of five.
You'll likely face FlyQuest again unless they beat Cloud9, so what's your thought on the rematch, and what do you think about Cloud9, if you're to face them?
I'm hungry for the rematch. Give me FlyQuest again for sure. I think I'm not alone in that. I think everyone here wants FlyQuest, and I think we're feeling confident in that rematch. We really felt like we were learning so much each game that series and I think we were improving so much from game to game. And I think it showed, where the first game we didn't execute well at all in our composition, and in the second game, we didn't approach it correctly when it came to our decision making when it came to our draft versus their draft. And then we made adjustments and were executing much better than them in the mid-game in both Games 3 and 4, and then I think in Game 5 it could've gone either way.
I think we got a bit unlucky in that game. That was the game where we feel like we still probably fit better and feel like we could've won, but we still only played three games against FlyQuest when we actually kicked it into a new gear and started playing our game. So we felt kind of robbed, and we're definitely excited for that rematch because I think next time we face FlyQuest we're going to have a much much easier time against them.
Any parting words before we go?
The only thing for the fans is thank you for the support. We really appreciate seeing the #LIVEEVILs in the Twitch chat and on Twitter. Thanks for interacting with my players and treating them kindly, spreading positivity and encouragement through this pretty difficult time of year for them. So thanks for all the support, we love you guys, we hear you guys, you're the best fans in the world, and we're looking to make you proud.
Based on Artemis' explanations, fans of Evil Geniuses and the LCS can look forward to a potential for more varying strategy and roster, though not necessarily how those may manifest. They may solely utilize their current roster which saw the last 16 games, or they may supplement it with their previous roster, Kumo and Jiizuke, or some other combination we haven't yet seen.
Regardless, they will have had more time on the patch along with the rest of the league, and we can expect their next series to be more robust, in both draft phase and strategy. They play again Saturday against the loser of Cloud9 and FlyQuest on watch.lolesports.com.
Images provided by Riot Games
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