With VCT Champions 2022 drawing closer and closer, fans are still waiting to see the final set of teams to round out the 16 teams competing for the VALORANT Champions Tour’s world championship title in Istanbul, Turkey. One of those teams looking to join this lineup of talented teams is Evil Geniuses, the roster of youngsters that has only gotten better throughout the 2022 season. In North America’s Stage 1, they surprised many by making it to the group stage with a new team. Then, in Stage 2, they took it a step further by establishing themselves as a contender for the top of North America.
Read more: VCT Champions 2022: All qualified teams
Now, they head into the VCT NA Last Chance Qualifier with a shot at representing North America on the international stage. For Evil Geniuses, it was a long path of trials and tribulations that was built from shared values.
Rebuilding in 2022
Following an unsuccessful 2021 season, Evil Geniuses looked toward rebuilding their lineup for a better future in 2022.
At first, everything was moving faster than longest-tenured Evil Geniuses member and current in-game leader Kelden “Boostio” Pupello had anticipated for a lineup that had only formed in early 2022.
“I think in the first qualifier, we were happy to just be near the top of North America even if we played pretty badly throughout it. We were just happy to be there,” Boostio shared. “We did have goals, and we did want to win of course. Every competitor wants to do that, but I think it was all a pretty big blur because we didn’t have as much experience before.”
As a result, Evil Geniuses made an early exit in Stage 1 where the team finished in 11th-12th place with a winless record. Evil Geniuses made two changes to their lineup when they acquired Corbin “C0M” Lee and Vincent “Apotheon” Lee. That’s when things really picked up for the team’s growth.
“It started in the offseason with the changes we made. Ever since this five has come together, we have just been a lot more confident in our abilities,” Boostio said. “We all believe in one another as players.”
For C0M, who joined Evil Geniuses from the highly successful young team Akrew in April 2022, the team dynamic was one he noted immediately.
“The amount of work that I’ve seen everyone on this team put in has been amazing,” C0M said. “I just love everybody on this team, and it is just a really good environment both in and outside of the game.”
Communication and coaching the keys for EG
Photo credit: Riot Games
Evil Geniuses VALORANT all live together in Seattle in an Airbnb together where they spend at minimum, 10 hours a day together every day. For some, that amount of time together with the same group of people can become quite exhausting. Instead, this experience has only bonded the team even more to understand that every message has good intentions even if it may not seem like it at first.
“We are all really close to each other which gives us a lot of comfort to say what we feel,” Boostio said. “Even if it sounds mean, we all know it is coming from a place of wanting to get better. There are no egos here because everybody always wants to improve so it just works out really well for us.”
The open style of communication to prevent issues from snowballing and put egos to the side was something that was a major focal point in creating this current iteration of Evil Geniuses.
“When [Christine “potter” Chi] was picking out players for this team, she made sure that nobody on this team was egotistical and wanted everybody to be a team player,” Boostio said. “Nobody is rude to each other, but if we have something to say, we say it straight up.”
This was something that Boostio made sure to give major credit to head coach potter.
“She’s pretty much everything. There is no other coach in the VALORANT space like her,” Boostio said. “I think she does more than any other coach I’ve ever had. She wants to win just as much as us, and it feels good to have a coach that truly supports you. I think she’s the f---ing goat.”
That admiration for the work potter has added to the team is something that Alexander “Jawgemo” Mor agrees with.
“For Boostio, Reformed and myself, we basically thought to ourselves that this was our last chance to make ourselves be known,” Jawgemo said. “Even if we get beat, we’re not just going to fall back. We are going to improve every week because we have a great coach and a support system behind us. That’s what makes us so positive and confident in everything we do.”
For the players on Evil Geniuses, discipline instilled during practice has been a major component to their successes in 2022. Each day, they have a routine to check note sheets on what they can improve on resulting in increased confidence in their own play. This has been something that Jawgemo has been especially grateful for.
“You don’t get that kind of effort for a lot of coaches. I like how potter just does everything for us to make our jobs so much easier for us,” Jawgemo said. “We just want to keep improving and win so that we can make sure that we make her happy too and give our all not for just us, but for her.”
Nonetheless, when asked about overarching goals for 2022, it was all about ensuring they focused on what was in front of them instead of getting sidetracked by thinking too far in advance.
“Everyone wants to win it all at Champions, but I think the first step we need to take is just what is in front of us,” Boostio said. “We are just focusing on what is in front of us, which is qualifying.”
Evil Geniuses will look to showcase their improvements as they look to make a run for VCT Champions 2022 through the NA Last Chance Qualifier. Their campaign will begin against FaZe Clan on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
Lead photo credit: Evil Geniuses via Twitter