Evil Geniuses storm Virtus Pro in the ESL One first Semi Final
EG advances to Grand Finals after an impressive display of high quality play against Virtus Pro who finish top four in the last important tournament before The International 5.
The drafting phase of game one proved that both teams did their homework and this resulted in respect bans on both Lil’s Rubik and that scary Naga Siren of Aui_2000. Virtus Pro picked within their comfort zone Queen of Pain, Slark and Winter Wyvern aiming to go aggressive early and pressure Suma1L’s Shadow Fiend. However, Evil Geniuses read perfectly their intentions and lined up a very defensive cast of supports with a surprising Omniknight last pick on ppd.
A late game scenario clearly favored EG and they planned their early and midgame around this idea. Suma1L went for a very defensive choice of items with both BKB and Linken’s Sphere on top of a Mekansm. Though it looked like he might not have enough damage to dish out in team fights, this “built to last” approach proved to be the cornerstone for EG’s success.
On the other hand, Illidan was forced to go for a Diffusal Blade on his Slark to counter Omniknight’s defensive blanket over his team and thus he made himself a very fragile target for Aui’s Lion and Universe’s Earthshaker who pretty much blew him up with their ultimates combined on every opportunity they got.
Once EG reached the critical mass of farm on the Phantom Lancer played by Fear, the game quickly lost its equilibrium and the North American team laid into their opponents’ barracks with confidence and finished the game in 44 minutes.
With the ball in their court for the second game, VP sought to rectify the frailty that lost them the first game and made a conscious decision to bring out a tankier breed of heroes like Bristleback, Visage and Warruner Centaur. To top it off, the Russians picked Clinkz in an attempt to serve EG a piece of their own medicine form yesterday’s games. With Tusk thrown in the mix though, VP’s intentions read clear as serving the same aggressive mindset displayed by them throughout the tournament.
Having the one game advantage, Evil Geniuses took a step back and drafted reactively. They secured Storm spirit for Suma1L and reciprocated the Clinkz pick with a surprise of their own: Universe on Bounty Hunter with the obvious plan to hard counter VP’s carry.
The early game followed the same pattern as game one, with a constant pressure from VP on Suma1L’s hero. They did manage to get first blood but that only prompted the appropriate response from EG who sent the supporting cast to prop up their key hero and get him safely out in the midgame where he could wreak havoc.
Virtus Pro walked the very fine line between aggression and over-aggression and sadly stumbled and fell on the wrong side of the fence. Although they managed to grab a couple of Aegis, it seemed like it was all for naught as Evil Geniuses managed to nullify that advantage pretty swiftly.
Come midgame, the North American team turned the table on the Russians and started an offensive push of their own fueled by track kills courtesy to Universe’s predictably solid performance. With 20 plus charges on his bloodstone, Suma1L’s Storm Spirit turned completely immortal while zip-zapping and dishing out the hurt through VP’s heroes. Evil Geniuses swarmed the enemy base and forced VP to tap out.
None of it would have been possible without the synergy between Suma1L and his supports and that’s where EG’s strength can be found. The inexperienced yet immensely talented youngster from DAC 2015 started to show clear signs of maturity and this is due to the nurturing environment that Fear, ppd, Universe and Aui2000 provide.
The entire series had the outline of a boxing match, with one contender being predictably aggressive while the other had the patience to wait for the right moment to inflict the winning blow.
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Pictures from the seeding bracket :
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