There’s a moment when speaking to Impact after his latest Evil Geniuses victory, that I realize everything the most chaotic team in the LCS isn’t just doing whatever works at that moment on Summoner’s Rift — despite what it looks like, it’s all “calculated aggression,” down to the finest details.
Evil Geniuses’ League of Legends lineup has been called many things since signing Daniele ‘Jiizuke’ di Mauro and Dennis ‘Svenskeren’ Johnsen as their franchise players ahead of a wild LCS 2020 Spring campaign.
Reddit has many terms for it, but we’ll just stick with “coin flip.”
It’s a playstyle that — while incredibly fun to watch — has netted Evil Geniuses equal parts praise and condemnation in North America over the past two years.
Some suspected when the legacy esports org scooped up former LoL world champ Jeong ‘Impact’ Eon-young from Team Liquid in the offseason, their aggression may simmer down; his signature style, after all, has been steady control.
Not so, says the man himself: the 26-year-old top lane veteran told Dexerto his new teammates are playing League of Legends “exactly how they should be.”
That’s not to say Impact believes Evil Geniuses are playing the perfect game every time they load onto Summoner’s Rift. Far from it, really; the South Korean top laner is the first to admit his North American squad has a long way to go.
The idea, though — team fighting to win — is “very, very meta.”
“People watch how we play the game and they think ‘oh, flip’ and say that it’s a bad thing for us to be doing what we’re doing. Every single time we’re doing something, it’s supposed to be to force the wrong mistake, and if they pick wrong, they just lose the game,” the EG star said after his team’s 2–1 weekend.
That includes fighting over every inch of vision, dragging players into side lane situations, and generally just being ready to pull the trigger on rapid engages into the enemy team, all at the drop of the hat.
It makes total sense too; this kind of aggression has seen China rise to new strengths on the League of Legends world stage in recent years.
There’s a problem though. Evil Geniuses have looked the goods in scrims, Impact tells Dexerto, but every time they play on stage that razor-sharp League of Legends they’ve played in the practice servers seems to disappear.
“People play so nervous, and we forget how to fight,” he explained.
“I think the problem is that when we’re playing very relaxed in scrims, and that leads to being able to see the bigger picture. Then, when we’re on stage, we try to force things too much, and we just think ‘this guy has to die’ without actually planning what will happen afterward, what we can get from those kills.
“It’s not ego jumping, but it’s close to that.
“We have a high win rate in scrims, yeah, but that doesn’t mean anything if we can’t get positive things from scrims into the games that we play on-stage.”
It’s certainly an exciting prospect, especially for those LCS fans that have been tuning into Evil Geniuses games just to soak in the chaos. It’s got Impact excited too — he can see “big steps” for the team, if they can get to that next level.
“I really think you’ve seen nothing yet,” he said.
“It’s pretty clear we’re not showing our 100% performance… but we are getting better. First week, 0–3, bad situation. Then 1–2, that’s fine. Then even this week 2–1 and it maybe should have been three wins. We’re building, already, each week.
“A big thing we’re focusing on is just play, play, play. No situation is ever exactly the same, so you have to get experience to learn how to fight perfectly. I realize this year you have to play so much game… good players should be playing so much, because that means no situation is a surprise.
“Every loss is a learning experience. Once we’ve tried something, we will know how that moment works. Every won fight, every lost fight, we just get better.
“I just want our team to be the best fighting team in NA. If we do that — and everyone is on the same page as me — and learn setup, flanks, chances, split-pushing, then we can be the best here in the league. That will mean that we win.
“And, if everything fails, we’re banger, all games bangers!”
Evil Geniuses have the chance to level their LCS 2021 Summer record early this Friday, when they take on Impact’s old org Team Liquid at 3pm PT.