Somewhat unsurprisingly, Evil Geniuses and Team Secret were eliminated from the main event in Manila on the first day of play. They placed third and last in their respective groups and were generally underwhelming. While many of us were hoping for a Miracle (haaaaa), things pretty much played out as expected.
I suppose the EG/Secret slump is akin to what NaVi and Alliance fans had to deal with between TI3 and the end of 2015. The most popular players in the west team up in a “Marvel Civil War” esque all star team and… play pretty poorly.
Chances are if you’re reading this article you’re already familiar with these teams and their histories, but here’s the tl;dr version:
Evil Geniuses is one of the older organizations in eSports. They picked up a Dota squad in 2011 and have been basically a household name (if your household is into Dota) ever since. Pretty much all of EG’s players have been some of the most prestigious and popular figures in NA Dota. EG was home to Arteezy, once considered the best mid player in the Western scene.
Team Secret was formed after TI4. Puppey, a long time NaVi player, is credited with the team’s founding. All of the players on Secret were poached from other top teams to put together an all-star lineup. The team has been through a few different mixes of players with the only constant being Puppey as captain. The current roster features “ArtEEzy” – Arteezy and EternalEnvy, longtime friends and subjects of many disturbing Reddit fanfics.
Both teams are immensely popular with viewers – you either love ’em or love to hate ’em. Player Arteezy has become sort of the center of a vortex of drama over the last year as his hopscotching between both rosters has generated waves that affect several other teams. He left EG to join Team Secret 2.0 and while he was gone, EG won TI5. Shortly after, EG kicked Aui_2000 and brought Arteezy back onto the roster. Then he left again to join Secret in March, which caused Secret to let w33 go to make space for him.
I wrote an entire article last night about how swapping players would jeopardize EG and Secret’s chances at the major, etc. I got home from work today to see… Universe bailed and is back to EG, Bulba moved from EG to Secret, and allegedly Aui’s been kicked AGAIN and Zai (who was a sub) is back to position 4. What. The. Hell.
They’ve all gone through slumps before, but neither team has ever fallen this far off the Tier 1 level.
What does this mean for EG?
Both teams will now be forced to play through open qualifiers for The International 6, as changing rosters after the lock date is against the rules. This means they have to win a bunch of Best of 1s.
I can’t impress upon you enough what a big deal this is. Evil Geniuses had a GUARANTEED INVITE to TI6 as last year’s champion. They’ve totally forfeited that to get Universe back. Captain PPD must really think it’s worth it to risk losing a BO1 to a cheese strat. They’ve also forced Secret into open qualifiers. EG’s new lineup is their TI5 championship lineup though, one that they know will work. Team Secret seems far more likely to be knocked out early as they don’t have the same team cohesion.
I can’t conceive of a major Dota event without these guys in attendance. Puppey’s been to every TI so far. It’d be a shame not to see Secret play at TI as each of them are amazing players. And perhaps that is the root of the issue – independently they’re all great but they can’t play great together it seems. Same for EG – last year’s champions missing at TI would be a bit of a bummer.