Evil Geniuses’ new Valorant roster, led by in-game leader Mike “pho” Panza, is off to a roaring start. Fresh off a roster overhaul during the VCT offseason, Evil Geniuses has qualified for the VCT NA Stage 1 Challengers main event without dropping a single series.
In a post-match interview, Mimi “aEvilcat” Wermcrantz and Tanner “Tanner Metro” Metro spoke to EG pho about who he’s most excited to play and what the new players bring to the roster.
Cloud9 is the most consistent team in NA right now, says EG pho
“Which team am I most excited to face? Probably Cloud9,” said pho. “I think Cloud9 is the most consistent team in NA right now. I love the way they play. I think if there’s an optimal way to play Valorant, they’re close to it, if not somewhere around it.”
“I think C9 has a good mix of slower defaults, faster-paced plays, and set pieces. On top of that their defaults just have very few gaps, so you rarely get an advantage without working hard for it,” pho elaborated in a Reddit post,
“To consistently win rounds versus a team playing like this, you have to make a read on very specific patterns while also having very few gaps yourself.”
This is different from a team like Sentinels, which is a strong team because of their “playmaking, individual talent, and mid-round decision-making”, according to pho.
“This means there’s more room for them to force errors, but also to make them sometimes. Depending on the particular series you play against a team playing this style, you might have a very different level of difficulty on a given day,” said the Evil Geniuses IGL.
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What YaBoiDre, jawgemo, and Reformed bring to the new Evil Geniuses roster
Most of the players on the new Evil Geniuses roster were former duelists, but pho said there was no issue with having these players take on other roles.
“The mechanical skill on this team is so high,” said pho. “Any of the five people on this team has played duelist at different points in their career, but everybody falls into their role and knows what they’re doing.”
“When we first started trying out YaBoiDre, I knew pretty much from day one that he was going to be a great fit. He just plays so well. He has a lot of great communication, which is super imperative to making my job easier as the IGL.”
YaBoiDre previously found success with Luminosity Gaming, with several main event appearances at NA Challengers tournaments. But after the organization failed to qualify for VCT Masters and Champions international events, the 21-year-old was allowed to explore other offers as a restricted free agent.
In the qualifying match against RISE, YaBoiDre was the best performing player on his team, dropping an incredible 65 kills and a +23 K/D differential across three maps.
“Jawgemo also has a super high skill ceiling, so does Reformed. They’re both young kids, but they have so much skill already. And it just kind of fell into place with everyone taking their roles,” added pho.
“Reformed has been learning the sentinel role for a couple of months now. He just picks everything up, he just soaks it all in. Reformed and jawgemo are pillars for us.”
Pho said the team was hard at work in the weeks leading up to the second open qualifier, grinding for eight hours every day without taking a break. This is a team that is willing to put in the time and is exceptionally passionate about the game, according to the former CS:GO pro.
Their hard work has clearly paid off, and this looks like it could be the start of a brighter era for the North American organization.
“I’m just so happy to see the progress of this team,” said the 28-year-old IGL. “I don’t know where the sky ends for us, but I can only hope that it is much, much higher.”