Photo courtesy of Evil Geniuses
After a tough 4-game best-of-five, Evil Geniuses have made it to the top of the Dota Pit Season 5 American Qualifiers, beating out Team NP for the slot.
Game 1 was NP's game, though it started out slow and the victory was hard-won. A surprisingly effective Centaur Warrunner on Aui_2000 was enough to lock down EG's composition, making it difficult for Arteezy's AM to get aggressive in the mid-game despite getting several early-game kills. By 30 minutes, EG had lost 7 towers and their bot melee rax, essentially sealing the deal for them though a successful teamfight and headlong push down NP's mid almost turned the game around. It would not, however, be enough as EG would find themselves eventually outpushed.
EG came back in game 2, breaking out Suma1l's Medusa which would eventually tip the scales in a protracted, mostly even game in terms of gold, though more kills went the way of EG. EternaLEnVy could not keep up with Suma1l, and the game was basically over at the 35-minute mark, with EG picking up an Aegis and breaking NP's mid.
Game 3 was not even close, with the gold and experience difference never swinging in NP's favor. Zai on Venomancer and Suma1l on Medusa simply farmed too fast against a Sven with delayed teamfight ability due to an early HotD. It came down to NP not being able to kill anyone in teamfights despite SVG's perfect Spell Steals. EG steamrolled NP in a quick 28-minute game.
Game 4 felt like the teams wanted to play safe, relying on their previous comps with slight tweaks with 8/10 of the hero picks remaining the same, swapping out Rubick for KotL to deal with Medusa's mana, and Lifestealer for Treant for game-changing Roots. EG closed out the series not without considerable effort, at first looking to snowball again in game 4 until some creative use of smokes and Moonlight Shadow brought NP back into the game with a series of picks, including crucial Medusa kills. With almost a 10,000 gold lead in the second half of the game, NP should have been primed to win and take the series to a game 5 but you can't just push into an eventually-farmed 'Dusa. In fact, if there's anything to be learned from this series, it's that very little can stop a late-game Medusa, even with a gold and kills advantage.
This was the second time that NP met Evil Geniuses in the qualifiers, after losing to the (original) boys in blue in the winners bracket finals, then crushing compLexity Gaming to earn their second shot in the grand finals. Despite a good effort, NP did note quite push the series to a game 5, and EG won with a 3-1 score. After ten games against each other in the span of 4 days (they are also competing in Captains Draft 3.0), their match history is 7-3 in favor of Evil Geniuses, who were already heavily favored to begin with. As a new team, NP is at the very least showing it is contending with the top AM teams.
With this victory, Evil Geniuses will go on to compete in the Dota Pit Season 5 Grand Finals to be held in January, with a prize pool of 125,000 USD. The other participants in the tournament are direct invites Wings Gaming and Digitial Chaos, and qualifiers winners Team Secret, Virtus.pro, Team Faceless, and Newbee.