Evil Geniuses may have just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers. In Week 4 against OpTic Gaming, EG came out swinging, taking down the reigning Masters Reykjavik champions in a hard-fought 2-1 series.

The team looks revitalized after the recent additions of former Akrew in-game leader Corbin “C0M” Lee and Vincent “Apoth” Le. In Stage 1, the old EG roster notably failed to pick up even a single win in their group, finishing bottom of Group A.

Their win over OpTic puts EG at the top of Group B in Stage 2. EG even put an end to OpTic’s eight-map win streak on Bind, taking the map 13-8. OpTic then bounced back on Split, sending the series to Ascent.

EG wasted no time in showing how far they’ve come in the past couple of months. Initially down 7-11, EG rallied to win six straight rounds and take the map 13-11.

Evil Geniuses take Ascent with zero duelists

EG’s agent composition on Ascent was notable because of its complete lack of duelists, the first time they had fielded this particular composition on Ascent in the group stage. Instead, the team’s lineup featured three initiators in Fade, Sova, and KAY/O, in addition to Omen and Chamber.

The agent lineup was remarkably similar to what Korean powerhouse DRX also run on the Venetian map, with the main difference being EG’s choice to play Omen over Astra.

OpTic once again put Victor “Victor” Wong on Yoru, but EG clearly came prepared to play against the interdimensional duelist.

With three initiators, EG had an incredible amount of information to play off on defense. The combination of Fade’s Haunt and Sova’s Recon Dart proved particularly valuable in retake situations, eliminating OpTic’s element of surprise by quickly identifying Yoru’s location after his Gatecrash teleport.

On Round 23, OpTic attempted a B site execute with Yoru’s and Fade’s Dimensional Drift and Nightfall ultimates. In theory, Victor should have been able to exit Dimensional Drift without the EG players hearing him because of Nightfall’s deafen debuff, but a well-placed Paranoia flash from Apoth on Omen caught him out on B Stairs.

In the final round, an early Recon Dart from C0M’s Sova revealed multiple players at B Link, allowing C0M to spray Austin “crashies” Roberts down with an Odin from A Short and heavily tag two more players. The Recon Dart was combined with a KAY/O flash as well, preventing OpTic from destroying the dart.

Kelden “Boostio” Pupello was a particular stand-out on Chamber, posting a 219 Average Combat Score (ACS) and four first bloods. The 21-year-old is also tied for second place in terms of first kills per round in the group stage, alongside Sentinels’ Tyson “TenZ” Ngo and Ghost Gaming star Marc-Andre “NiSMO” Tayar.

With the win over OpTic, Evil Geniuses have secured their spot in the VCT NA Stage 2 playoffs. The final week of matches will now determine who clinches Group B’s top seed going into the playoffs. EG play FaZe Clan on June 11.

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