Evil Geniuses defend home turf in winning Fragadelphia 17

by Brian Bencomo

Several competitive European squads were in attendance for the biggest Fragadelphia ever, but Evil Geniuses defended home turf in winning the premier North American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. NA’s Evil Geniuses White beat Europe’s BIG OMEN Academy 2-1 in the grand final of Fragadelphia 17 on Sunday.

Except for Wesley "viz" Harris, the other four members of Evil Geniuses had participated at Frags in the past under different team names and organizations. Jonathan "Jonji" Carey is the only one who had previously won Fragadelphia. He won Frag 15 last fall with Bad News Bears. Josh "PwnAlone" Pigue, Ben "ben1337" Smith and Jonathan "djay" Dallal were on the team that finished second at Frag 15: Party Astronauts. Jonji and PwnAlone each competed at two other Frags; Ben1337 was at three other Frags; and Djay is the veteran of the bunch having attended five other Frags.

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Evil Geniuses White began their tournament run in the Fragadelphia Last Chance Qualifier that took place Thursday and Friday. EG White won best-of-threes against b4bit, Vireo.pro and Team 7AM and only dropped one map along the way. They dropped the opening map against 7AM but then won Map 2, 16-12, and Map 3, 16-0. This ensured EG White were one of eight teams that would move on to the Fragadelphia group stage that took place Saturday.

In groups, EG White went 2-0, winning two best-of-threes without dropping any maps against Vendetta and Detonate. Next up were the playoffs on Sunday, and EG White took care of business with two 2-0 victories over fellow NA team Iron Blood Gaming and Brazil’s Team oNe.

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The final is where things got a bit more challenging. BIG Academy had put together arguably as impressive a run as EG White over the course of Frag 17. The two teams traded map wins before EG took Map 3, 16-9, to win the lion’s share of the $100,000 prize pool.

In a postmatch broadcast interview, Jonji spoke about the significance of the win.

“This whole year has been a real journey for me, and I’ve managed to pull through and be the player I knew I could be in the final and the boys played a really good game,” he said.

Jonji got emotional when talking about what CS:GO has meant for him since dropping out of high school to dedicate himself to the game.

“Honestly, this game just kind of saved me as a person,” Jonji said. “And I really was kind of just lost, and this game gave me a stupid amount of opportunities that I probably never would have had going to school -- I didn’t really know what i wanted to do. It just means a lot. I’ve always just gamed when I was going through something.”

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Photo credit: Gabriel Smith / @piboy417

Winning Fragadelphia 17 is the most notable accomplishment for Evil Geniuses’ ambitious CS:GO project this year. In June, EG announced the formation of three different CS:GO squads that would compete under the organization’s banner. Some teams have a secondary academy team -- e.g. BIG Academy -- but having three rosters is unheard of.

The team that competed as Evil Geniuses White at Fragadelphia is better known as EG.PA (because they were previously Party Astronauts) and is essentially EG’s academy team. Entering the weekend they were ranked 64th in the world by HLTV and are now 39th. The team that competed as Evil Geniuses Black at Fragadelphia is better known as EG.CD (because they were previously Carpe Diem) and is basically EG’s third-string squad. They are now ranked 76th in the world by HLTV. EG’s main roster is ranked 35th in the world and was not in attendance at Frag 17.

Other notable performances at Fragadelphia 17

As alluded to previously, BIG Academy also had an impressive tournament run. The German junior squad won three best-of-threes in the LCQ, all in 2-0 fashion. The third came against the other notable European squad in attendance at Frag, Apeks. BIG Academy’s Map 2 win against Apeks was one of the most exciting all weekend as it went to four overtimes. BIG Academy eventually won it 28-25 after winning four straight rounds in the fourth OT.

In group play, BIG Academy lost a map to Iron Blood Gaming, but otherwise had little trouble going 2-0 to finish atop their group. In the playoffs, they beat Electrify Steel and then had a rematch with Apeks in the semifinals. This match went to three maps and featured more overtimes. Map 3 went to two OTs, and BIG Academy won 22-20.

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Photo credit: Steve Belkowitz / Nerd Street

Speaking of Apeks, the European squad featuring stars like Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad and Richard "shox" Papillon finished 3rd-4th. Their biggest stumbling block this weekend was fellow European team BIG Academy, but North America’s Squirtle Squad (the team formerly known as Gaimin Gladiators) also won a match against them in groups.

EG’s other squad competing at Fragadelphia, Evil Geniuses Black, had a strong showing too. They started in the LCQ, made it out of groups and reached the quarterfinals. Team oNe’s victory over them denied what would have been an EG vs. EG semifinal. For Brazil’s Team oNe, it was their second consecutive 3rd-4th finish at Fragadelphia.

Lead photo credit: Steve Belkowitz / Nerd Street

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