After an eventful offseason for Evil Geniuses, the North American League of Legends team is eager to prove itself among a myriad of LCS contenders. Recently promoted Academy bot laner Matthew “Deftly” Chen as well as brand new head coach Peter Dun sat down with Stropse to discuss the atmosphere surrounding the team.
The 2020 offseason was a bit of a crazy one for Evil Geniuses, as the organization brought in top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, as well as a new coaching staff, led by head coach Peter Dun. Evil Geniuses also promoted Academy bot laner Deftly, adding to an already talented roster filled with new faces.
Evil Geniuses had a successful 2020 Spring Split before faltering during the summer and missing its shot at Worlds. With this new and improved roster, Impact and IgNar have taken it upon themselves to step up and act as leading voices on the team.
“I think for me, Ignar has been the most helpful. I’ve definitely learned a lot of bot lane concepts from him,” Deftly said. “Wave control, base timings, certain specific matchups, he’s helped me a lot with those.”
With IgNar having the successful career he’s had, there are few supports in North America that can teach Deftly better than IgNar can. However, for Dun, Impact’s skills as a leader have stood out to him so far in his time with Evil Geniuses.
“He’s sacrificed so much over his career, people don’t fully appreciate how good he actually is,” Peter Dun said of Impact. “He’s obviously the best weak side player the West has ever seen, but he’s also somebody that can play strong side, it’s just that he’s chosen not to, to make his teammates, people like Jensen, and Doublelift and those types of guys, look better.”
Dun also noted that, along with his leadership skills as a player, Impact is somebody who excels as a teammate as well.
“Definitely in reviews and in terms of how the team is interacting with each other, Impact has been somebody who’s come in and who’s really made a big difference,” Dun said. “I’ve noticed that when we announced our roster, people were even saying quite hurtful comments, like ‘Impact doesn’t even speak English.’ Actually, his English is fluent. He has a really good understanding of the cultural differences amongst people on our team. He’s been very flexible with how he’s done it and very patient with his teammates. Really, I think he’s been a joy to work with.”
Synergizing as a Team
“I think everyone is doing a really good job on being vocal and everyone is just pitching in ideas to the team and we’re just deciding based off that,” Deftly said.
With this mix of new faces on Evil Geniuses, it seems like everyone is stepping up and doing their part in the game for the North American squad. Although, Dun has noticed that the two biggest voices on the team have been Impact and Deftly himself.
“I like to think of it, like if you watch a cartoon, when someone’s making a decision, they have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other one,” Dun said. “Impact is the devil, he’s saying, ‘Go in! Fight! Fight! We have TP advantage, let’s go in here!’ And Deftly is the voice of reason, he’s saying, ‘Don’t forget our resets,’ or, ‘focus on the next objective’ and that kind of thing.”
Dun mentioned that he was surprised by Impact’s innate aggressiveness, saying “Impact has a reputation in North America as being this really controlled, weak-side top laner. But actually, his comms in-game are really aggressive,” he said with a laugh. “He’s almost a little psychopathic which surprised me a little bit, because it doesn’t go along with his reputation.
“It’s definitely very funny to watch this team have that internal battle. But, I think it’s good to have some balance on the team,” Dunn added.
Evil Geniuses seem to have found a healthy balance in their in-game comms. Although some of the players may have different ideas on how they want to play the game, these different styles wind up summing into something greater.
The LCS Lock-In Tournament
The brand new LCS Lock-In tournament means something different for every team, as well as every player. For Deftly, he’s seeing this event as an opportunity to prove that his team is a top contender in North America.
“I kind of see this tournament as an opportunity for our team to showcase how much growth we’ve had since we started practice,” Deftly said. “We started practice late compared to most of the other LCS teams, since we had visa issues and with [COVID-19], we had to work around all that stuff. I just see it as a big, sort of, stepping stone for us to see how we rank among the other LCS teams.”
For Dun, this experience is his first in North America. “I’ve never coached in North America, I’ve had many close friends and colleagues who’ve been to North America, who’ve told me stories about how things function here, like Kobbe, who played here and some other coaches I keep in touch with.”
This new experience has been interesting for Dun. The 33-year-old coach said, “To be honest, adapting to how a different region approaches scrims, approaches matches, approaches pre-match prep has been very, very tricky.”
But the Evil Geniuses head coach is happy to be working with his new team, saying “This roster I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, and especially the coaching staff behind the scenes on EG, has really made the transition quite easy.
“I’m a coach that likes teams to play very aggressive early game, almost like a coin flip style of play, except, preferably not a 50/50 coin, but you know, with a 70/30 coin. And definitely, this is something that some of these ideas about the game are which Jizuke and IgNar share.”
Evil Geniuses is in a great position headed into 2021. With rosters like Team Liquid and Cloud9 getting all the attention and hogging the headlines, Evil Geniuses is eager to prove itself in the North American League of Legends Championship Series.