Evil Geniuses shocked the world with their meteoric post-season run to cap off a turbulent start to the 2022 season. Despite their rocky regular season performance, EG came back with a vengeance and proved themselves far and away the best team in North America.
EG's players have more than convinced us that their trend of making history doesn’t end here, and before they began preparation for the 2022 MSI, Evil Geniuses joined the media for an LCS championship press conference.
Vulcan, I'm sure any title run would have been great, but what is it like to get through your former team Cloud9 and the home of your support rival CoreJJ in Team Liquid on your way to sweeping 100 Thieves in the final today?
Yeah. I mean... we literally sh*t on everyone. We sh*t on C9 first, which was my old team and also a historically dominant team. Then, we beat TL, it was a closer series, but they're historically super good. They have a 10M dollar roster or something like that.
Topping it off against 100 Thieves in the finals was also very nice because they've been very cocky since they won last time, especially Closer. For how bad he is, I think he needs to stop talking. I'm very glad that all of us here can finally not hear him — for a little bit at least. I'm grateful for that.
Impact, congratulations on once again holding up the LCS trophy. On Twitter recently, you talked about how passionate you were about League even after playing for 10 years. What does it mean to you to qualify for MSI and show fans in Korea and around the world that you are still a world-class top laner?
I'm not sure I can say that I'm a world-class top laner now. I still need to show that I'm still a good top laner at MSI first. [...] I want to keep playing more, 10 more years, if possible. I don't know the future, but I just need to show at MSI that I'm a good top laner. That's my goal.
Inspired, you finished top 2 or top 3 in the LEC with Rogue multiple times but never managed to lift the trophy. What does it mean to you to overcome this challenge with your new team?
I think I was playing well in the playoffs when I was finishing 2nd and 3rd, but I always felt like my teammates were not really there with me. They were playing differently; they were more scared, they didn't follow my calls, and things were just unclear.
I feel like everyone here is listening to me and playing around what I want to do. In stressful situations, they also give their thoughts, which is very helpful for me. I think we just have greater teamwork here than I had on Rogue. That's why it's easier for me to play the game.
Vulcan, this is your third Spring LCS title in a row, and each year in the pandemic, you've gone from a scrim room, to an empty arena, to a packed stadium. Did your previous experiences help prepare you for today's events, and how was it to lift the trophy in front of a live audience?
I wouldn't say the past prepared me for playing in front of a crowd because it's just a very different experience. There was the same amount of pressure each time, which I would say was not very much. I didn't feel like there was extra pressure in front of fans, so there wasn't much of a progression there.
However, each trophy won produced progressively more dopamine. Winning inside of our house was pretty bad; it was kind of boring. Winning on the stage was a bit cooler, but there were no fans, so it was kind of boring. Today, we won with so many fans in the arena that were cheering for us because we had a kind of insane day yesterday as well. It felt like we were kind of the fan-favorite and that everyone had our back. Today was amazing.
Artemis, after EG's impressive performance in the Lock-In, you couldn't win more than two games in a row. Then, all of a sudden, in the playoffs, the team starts smacking heads, especially in the lower bracket. In your opinion, what allowed the team to suddenly find what they were looking for in the playoffs?
I think that it can appear that it came out of nowhere, but it's really anything but. The result today is just a reflection of the hard work that these guys did all split. I think it was a total team effort. We have five amazing players here and countless staff members behind the scenes. Honestly, I think the first thing that led us here was their work efforts. These guys are all grinders in their own way.
It's a special group here, it really is. Something I think that sets us apart from other teams I've been on is the sense of community. The vibes were right today and yesterday. Everybody knew we were going to win. There was no doubt in the minds in our camp about what we were going to do today. I think this is a special group here that has the right people behind the scenes supporting them, so all credit to them.
Danny and jojo, as the team's North American players, what were your routines that enabled you to get to where you are today in terms of being able to compete at the highest level?
Danny: I think that my daily routine is pretty normal. I wouldn't say I'm the biggest grinder, but I do like to play quite a lot of League from time to time. I wouldn't say I play the most; I like to chill out a bit, but I still play League.
Jojopyun: I feel like you can always be a better player and no matter what, you can always improve, so I always look to make those small steps every day to try to keep improving. I think I did improve a lot and I also think I have a pretty good routine. I have a game day routine where I always do the same stuff, and I think that's what keeps me consistent right now. It always keeps me focused on the next step without going too far ahead. I just focus on the small stuff that I can improve on.
Rigby, you came in during the season when the team was struggling after a fantastic Lock-In performance. Can you talk about your impact on the team, especially in terms of the draft?
If I think about it, our biggest difference from other teams is that we never actually sent a comfort zone. That's why we struggled during the regular split. Even when we lost with picks that weren't popular in the league, we still went with them if we thought they were good.
We were able to execute everything whenever it was necessary, so I think the biggest thing was the player gap in draft. Our players were just down for anything. If I see a good angle or if they see a good angle, we just go for it, and no other team can match that if they have something they don't want to play.
The most popular example would be Ornn. Every team was just blind-picking Ornn for good teamfights, and we were like, "Let them pick Ornn. We don't give a f**k. We have Impact!" He's been playing Ornn and playing against Ornn more than other people have played games in their whole career, so it was really easy for us. MSI is where the real competition begins for me, so I just have to prove myself there with these talented players.
Jojo, do LCS teams need to put more faith in NA talent?
I mean it kind of depends, you know? It might become a trend now that we just sh*t on everyone. Organizations might think that NA talent is the way now, but you have to start from the bottom and give some time. You need to get players through the process and trust that process, but if organizations are just going to look for NA talents without developing them, I don't think that's how they should do it.
Danny, how much did the series against Team Liquid yesterday help prepare you for playing in the environment of today's series?
I think playing against Team Liquid yesterday taught me a lot about my early game. I think we did a lot of stuff that we didn't really succeed at, but I was able to bring it back in the 100 Thieves series. I'm really glad we didn't do any of those mistakes that we did against Team Liquid.
Andrew Barton, you had the reins in putting this roster together. When did you know this team was going to win a championship?
Probably as soon as Lock In, or even before that through scrims. I really do believe in our scrim set data and what I can see through it. When we get to the regular season and see a bunch of best-of-ones, it's awesome, but there is so much work that goes on behind the scenes.
When thinking of the roster, I take into account what direction we need to go and how to ultimately help my staff and players win this championship. It really goes back to practice, and I just could not be happier with the work we've put in our scrims this year. I know it's been tough on everyone, but it's paid off and I could not be more proud of everyone.
Jojopyun, are you going to stomp Faker and caPs?
I'm not going to talk about Faker until I actually play him — you never know, maybe they get eliminated before then. I think I'll be completely fine against caPs. I do think he is the best EU mid laner, but I don't think EU mid laners are that good. I don't think caPs is that bad, so I think it will be a fun matchup.
Vulcan, as someone who's competed on the international stage, how will you help prepare jojopyun and Danny for their first international competition, and what do you think they bring to the table that can catch international teams off guard?
The biggest thing you have to realize as a NA player when you go to international tournaments is that you're going to scrim RNG and T1. They are very good, so you might not have the same success as scrims in NA, so you have to kind of take the mental damage that you suffer from getting sh*t on so hard. It's kind of the way it is.
You have to make sure that you stay healthy mentally because you need to be able to get sh*t on and learn from that. You need to be able to get sh*t on by T1 6-0, then scrim RNG and be able to do it again. That's how the first few days go; eventually, you lose 2-4 or something like that. You just need to be ready to get stomped and ready to go again to learn as much as you can.
Danny, you have an immense amount of collegiate, amateur, and Academy players looking up to you. What advice would you give to these players?
The advice I would give to these players is to just keep going. I think there are a lot of openings available to get into Academy and probably LCS as well.
You can just prove yourself in time, and I know I gave myself a lot of time. I started pretty early in League but I didn't start competing until I was old enough, so just give it time.
Impact, when 100 Thieves picked Ornn in game 2, you picked Mordekaiser. Did you always have that pick in your back pocket in case they picked Ornn?
No, but I said to our coaches and players yesterday that I was going to play Mordekaiser if they picked Ornn. It was the same with my blind pick Aatrox against Team Liquid because I knew that Bwipo doesn't play Jayce, Camille or champions like that. I knew that he wasn't punishing me in lane, and I also knew that I'm better than him. That was why I picked Mordekaiser today. I knew that I was better.
Danny, there has been a lot of talk about how young you are and the success you have had. Is that something that you ever reflect on, or do you just focus on the game in front of you?
I spent a lot of my time thinking about how far I've come from when I first started esports. After that, I start thinking about our results because it matters a lot in terms of my confidence that I went from this amateur player all the way to winning the LCS. I finally get to say it. It's nice.
All images by: Carver Fisher for Inven Global
Carver is an esports journalist and analyst who specializes in Eastern League of Legends.