VALORANT world champs Evil Geniuses’ history at Nerd Street tournaments

by Brian Bencomo

Evil Geniuses won VALORANT Champions 2023 to become this year’s VALORANT world champions on Saturday. Kelden “Boostio” Pupello, Alexander "jawgemo" Mor, Corbin “C0M” Lee, Ethan “ethan” Arnold and Max “Demon1” Mazanov took home the third edition of VALORANT’s world championship tournament at the KIA Forum in Los Angeles. Since the VALORANT Champions Tour kicked off in 2021, EG are the third North American team to win a global VCT event, but they are the first NA team to win the ultimate prize, Champions.

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Evil Geniuses’ run from zeroes to heroes to villains to champions in 2023 was legendary. The five-member team improved throughout the year with the key addition of Demon1, great coaching from Christine “potter” Chi and using the unconventional technique of employing a whole other five-member reserve roster to practice against.

Winning Champions is the pinnacle achievement for these five players in VALORANT, but their journey to the championship started years ago. Like any sport or esport, it takes years of practice and grinding in lower level competitions before finding success at the highest level.

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Everyone but Ethan, who was a pro CS:GO player before switching to VALORANT, competed in multiple Nerd Street VALORANT tournaments over the past couple years. Nerd Street has been an integral part of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 VALORANT competitive scene since VALORANT released in 2020 through monthly tournament series and in-person LAN tournaments. Here’s a look back on these championship players’ history at Nerd Street tournaments, with match history courtesy of

Kelden “Boostio” Pupello

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Evil Geniuses’ veteran leader, Boostio, has been competing in VALORANT since 2020 after initially trying to go pro in Overwatch. His first Nerd Street tournament was the 2020 December Monthly, a tournament in which he finished third with Spacestation Gaming. He went on to compete in a few more Nerd Street tournaments with Spacestation Gaming, including the Complexity x NSG Invitational and Nerd Street’s 2021 VALORANT Winter Championship. Boostio and Spacestion made it all the way to the group stage of the Winter Championship finals.

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That summer, Boostio competed in Nerd Street Summer Championship qualifiers, first with Team Basilisk and eventually with Evil Geniuses. He reached the semifinals of the Summer Championship with EG. This was Evil Geniuses’ highest finish at a Nerd Street tournament. Boostio is the only member of EG’s current roster who was on EG at the time. In 2022, Boostio and EG also competed in Nerd Street’s Winter and Summer Championships.

Alexander "jawgemo" Mor

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

No player on EG’s championship roster has competed in more Nerd Street events than jawgemo. He initially competed in the NSG November and December Monthlies in 2020 with the unsigned team DREAMLAND. A few months later, he competed in the 2021 March Monthly with Decisive. Jawgemo competed in the Nerd Street Summer Championship qualifiers that summer with three unsigned teams: Fortnite Fraggers, afterMath Esports and Decisive. During the 2021 Summer Champs finals he competed with Resonate. Jawgemo’s best finish at a Nerd Street tournament came in December 2021 when he finished second with Booster Seat Gaming at the Frag VALORANT Major in Philadelphia.

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In 2022, jawgemo again competed in many Nerd Street tournaments. Now with Evil Geniuses, he made it to the group stage of the Winter Championship finals. He also competed with Evil Geniuses in the Nerd Street Summer Champs qualifiers that summer. Although EG didn’t qualify for the Summer Champs finals, he competed with the unsigned team Baguette Lovers in the Summer Champs side tournament known as the Big L, a tournament for teams and players that lost early in the tournament.

Corbin “C0M” Lee

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

The EG player who found the most success in Nerd Street tournaments was C0M. He was a member of the very successful Akrew team that won 31 matches in a row at one point. C0M and Akrew won Nerd Street’s 2022 Winter Champs regional LAN tournament in Philadelphia. Prior to that, C0M had competed with ez5 in the 2021 Summer Championship finals. That ez5 roster would eventually form the core of Akrew.

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After COM’s LAN tournament win in Philadelphia, he and Akrew reached the semifinals of the 2022 Winter Championship finals. Shortly after that, C0M would get picked up by Evil Geniuses, who competed in qualifiers for Nerd Street’s 2022 Summer Championship.

Max “Demon1” Mazanov

Photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

Evil Geniuses’ star and possibly the best VALORANT player in the world right now, Demon1, has competed in two previous Nerd Street tournament series. The 20-year-old player has only been competing in official VALORANT matches since April 2022 per His second tournament was a qualifier for Nerd Street’s 2022 Summer Champs. He competed with Team Artisan for several Summer Champs qualifiers early in the year and later attempted to qualify for the Summer Champs finals with Flex Gaming. In December 2022, he attempted to qualify for Nerd Street’s VALORANT Lockdown tournament finals with sqn 2.0. A month later he would get signed by Evil Geniuses, where he would have a meteoric rise to become a world champion.

Lead photo credit: Colin Young-Wolff / Riot Games

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