- Gods do bleed. Just days after NRG sold their entire CS:GO roster to Evil Geniuses, the North American squad wins a huge tournament on home soil.
Evil Geniuses announce their return by taking down Astralis
EG took down Astralis in dominating fashion, dropping only one map (in overtime!) in the series. To cap off their tournament, Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte won MVP honors. He edged out Bulgarian teammate Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov through sheer brilliance in the grand final. For the entire tournament, he ranked first in kills per round at .84 and KDD at +70. This is Brehze’s first MVP award in a big tournament and may be his best chance to crack the Top 20 Players of the Year list.
— HLTV.org (@HLTVorg) September 29, 2019
From NRG Esports to Evil Geniuses
This roster had long been quite successful. Touted as the second-best North American team behind #1 ranked Team Liquid, they’ve only ever had multiple semi-final finishes and one finals appearance. NRG, citing financial instability in the Counter-Strike scene, sold the roster to Evil Geniuses. EG isn’t exactly new to the scene. Despite a seven-year hiatus from Counter-Strike, they’re one of the oldest e-sports and most established brands still standing. Nevertheless, any sudden change to a team’s working environment can have disastrous consequences.
Alas, it was the probably the best thing to happen for this team. The change of scenery, was the last piece of the puzzle for them to finally win a big tournament. This win came off the heels of a semi-final finish in the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, where they were ousted by… you guessed it, Astralis. Finally, this talented roster got over their big stage blues and have now tied Team Liquid for the Intel Grandslam race.
The Grand Final
Map 1: Inferno
After destroying G2 Esports in the semifinal, Evil Geniuses continued to display their immaculate form throughout the entire grand final. With Liquid out, the New York crowd is 100% EG, roaring thunderous cheers after every frag. IGL Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz continuously pushed his team to be aggressive. They challenged opposing teams to duels reminiscent of the Wild West, especially in the pistol rounds. This reckless strategy worked wonders and shell-shocked Astralis, giving EG a 5-0 lead early on. Astralis then adjusts to the pace and gets two rounds to stop their bleeding. In round 8, Evil Geniuses’ MVP Brehze quickly sprayed down Astralis members rushing through smoked apartments and prevent Astralis from making a run.
Evil Geniuses just outsmarted and out-rotated Astralis every round. In the 10th round, a series of trades left Astralis’ Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander in a 1v1 against stanislaw. With 30 seconds left, gla1ve tried to play mind games with EG’s IGL but failed miserably, getting caught in B. This left Astralis with only two rounds in the first half. They continued to do the same aggressive start in the second half, scoring the first two rounds to bring them quickly to map point. Astralis, in a desperate stand, won just one more round before losing the map 16-3.
Evil Geniuses 1 – 0 Astralis
Map 2: Dust 2
Astralis seemed to have adjusted to the wild, aggressive pistol rounds as Emil “Magisk” Reif and gla1ve successfully defended a B rush start by Evil Geniuses. However, Tarik “tarik” Celik shuts down the following round’s A site push by running through smoke into CT spawn with a pistol. The rest of the half was uncharacteristically close. Astralis showed why they’re the #2 team in the world by not letting the crowd affect their game as they maintain they poise, ending the half up by 1, 8-7.
It was Astralis dominating the start of the second half, managing to prevent site retakes by Evil Geniuses. Their calculated approach to the game allowed them to fill the gaps EG found earlier in the series. Finally, in round 20, stanislaw found a beautiful flank behind Astralis pushing through A short, getting two frags and stymieing the Astralis run. That round gave them enough momentum to sweep through the rest of the map, 16-12.
Evil Geniuses 2 – 0 Astralis
Map 3: Train
I don’t think many people saw Astralis staring down the barrel of a clean sweep. Nevertheless, Evil Geniuses continued to display immense confidence and teamwork in the third map of the series. EG blitzes through the first 3 rounds before Astralis caught their breath. In round 13 with the score 5-7 in favor of EG, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz was left alone against Brehze and stanislaw. With time running out, he sneaked through the smoke to pick up the bomb and attempt a plant at B. Realizing he’s out of time, he fakes a plant and hits an INSANE no scope flick on Brehze but fails to find stanislaw. The half ended close, 7-8 in favor of Evil Geniuses.
In the second half, Evil Geniuses again win the pistol round. However, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen showed his own Wild West with a couple of deagle frags in the next round. That helped Astralis pull ahead 10-9. In round 21, score tied at 10-apiece, a beautiful double nade from stanislaw and tarik nets them two frags and the round. They push Astralis to the brink by getting tournament point in round 26, ahead 11-15.
Gods don’t fall easily, however, as Astralis showed their championship pedigree by forcing overtime after a well-executed B site defense. In overtime, Evil Geniuses drop the ball against Astralis, going 20-21. A last gasp was snuffed out when Magisk got an easy triple off a wonderful read in popdog. Astralis forced a 4th map, 22-20.
Evil Geniuses 2 – 1 Astralis
Map 3: Nuke
It seemed like ages ago when nobody, except maybe Liquid, dared to play against Astralis on Nuke. Confidence at an all-time high though, Evil Geniuses struck first. They won the first three rounds on T side before rushing to an 8-1 lead. Despite the intimidating lead, Astralis desperately clung to the game, a wonderful defuse through smoke allowing them to crawl to a 7-8 score at the half.
The second half started wild. The crowd cheered the home team on despite obvious exhaustion. It seems that exhaustion had caught up to the Danes as well. Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth dropped the bomb near vents, prompting Brehze to sit on top of it and prevent Astralis from even attempting a push. That round snowballed into a 7-14 EG lead. In round 23, Ethan “Ethan” Arnold wins a 1v2 to bring them to tournament point yet again. Needing one last round to win the tournament for his hometown fans, Brooklyn native tarik took matters to his own hands. He pushed alone through ramp against four Astralis members, netting a triple and effectively winning the tournament for Evil Geniuses. The Barclays Center erupts in celebration. Evil Geniuses have won ESL One: New York. GG.
Winner: Evil Geniuses
The Counter-Strike madness doesn’t stop there. DreamHack Masters Malmö in Malmö, Sweden starts October 1st.
*Article featured image source: EG Tarik Twitter