The Mid-Season Invitational is North America’s favorite international tournament, as it is where they have the highest chances at making an international final every season.
Indeed, although they have never made the World Championship finals, they have reached the MSI finals twice: unlike the 2019 Team Liquid (0-3 against G2 Esports), the 2016 Counter Logic Gaming took a game out of their finals opponents, SK Telecom T1.
Evil Geniuses hope to replicate that, but they may fall prey to teams near or below their station, causing their elimination as was the case with the 2021 Cloud9 (0-2 vs. the LCO’s PENTANET)
Evil Geniuses' epic loser bracket run brings hope to NA. Source: Leaguepedia
How they got here
Evil Geniuses are an anomaly in North America: their focus on emerging regional talent skyrocketed them to MSI. In doing so, they have performed a feat not seen since Worlds 2018 as they send a North American mid laner to an international tournament—jojopyun.
Their thrilling road to MSI involved a rampage in the lower bracket, with veteran-stacked squads Team Liquid and 100 Thieves getting annihilated 0-3 style. Despite a tricky regular season campaign, EG understood that talent takes time to nurture and did not panic, yielding the team its first LCS trophy ever.
When their bot lane and jungle failed to take over the game outright, their solid teamfighting did the rest. However, the latter wasn’t tested against the finest
Players to watch: Joseph Joon “jojopyun” Pyun & AD carry Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki
All eyes are on the young boys to hold their own or thrive in murky international waters. They are in luck, as the difficulty level will ramp up slowly, allowing them to shake stage nerves ahead of the Rumble round.
However, once they reach it, jojopyun’s inexperience may be in full display. As LS said in previous streams, the mid laner sometimes performs lane trades that would not work against stronger opponents than the one he faces in North America.
Besides, one cannot help but watch a player who might be a JoJo. No, this article is not the result of of an enemy stand taking over the writer’s consciousness. Absolutely not.
Jaxon’s predictions: (Fighting for?) semifinals
At best, Evil Geniuses play slightly above their playoff level and escape to the semifinals unscathed. At worst, their Unlike those other teams, their vocal veterans will help them coast through dicey situations. However, they would be wise to watch out for the VCS’ Saigon Buffalo and the LJL’s DetonatioN FocusMe as those aggressive teams may make them touch Busan grass ahead of schedule.