The first game of the North American Promotional Series is between the mysterious Evil Geniuses and Determined Gaming. The game will take place via www.lolesports.com on Friday, Dec. 20th, 2013 for a spot into the NA LCS, shortly following the Battle of the Atlantic match between Counter Logic Gaming versus Team ALTERNATE. EG versus DTG is going to be one of the most watched matches of the weekend, with the question being if the remaining members of European Evil Geniuses can perform as well as their counterpart, Alliance.
Here at Cloth5, we’ll be providing our readers with in-depth profiles for all the teams participating in the Promotion Tournament. First up to bat are Determined Gaming and Evil Geniuses.
Determined Gaming had been known as To Be Determined for the past 6 months, and just recently changing the name to a more professional title. DTG has had the same stable roster over the past 3 months, with several of the players belonging to the same team for almost a year, despite belonging to different organizations.
Determined Gaming has had an impressive season in the North American Challenger League, ending the season a 16-9 record with an 11 game win streak and a 12-1 record in the second half of the NACL. DTG placed 3rd/4th, taking a game off of the 31-4 Team Coast in the semi-finals. DTG went 4-1 in the NA LCS Promotional Qualifier, dropping a game to The Walking Zed.
Meet the Team
Top Lane – Westrice
Westrice is a veteran professional that has been seeking an opportunity into the LCS for over a year. Most famous for his stints with EpiK Gamer and Curse, Westrice is known for his aggressive top lane assassin play, favoring Akali. Unfortunately for him, the meta has shifted in favor of 2v1 lanes, which dramatically set behind burst assassins against the current stable of top lane sustain monsters. Westrice’s champion pool still favors the heavy damage duelists, with Lee Sin, Rengar, and Riven being the most prominent of champions, but he has played Renekton in several recent matches. Westrice has not picked up Olaf, Dr. Mundo, or Shyvana; some of the most powerful top lane tanks in the current meta. Because Westrice plays a more damage centric role within the team, this often leaves the jungler, Brokenshard, with fewer tank items and a larger burden to defend the team.
Jungler – Brokenshard
Brokenshard is one of the many professionals that crossed the Atlantic Ocean to come play with a North American team. Brokenshard played jungle for EU’s DragonBorns during the Spring Split and moved to Determined Gaming in the early portion of NACL. Brokenshard is known for his aggressive Lee Sin play, along with the occasional Udyr pick. Brokenshard performances are often rated in extremes; he either performs incredibly well, or loses terribly. One predictable aspect of his play is that he is always aggressive, making high-risk plays that put DTG further behind or propel them forward. Brokenshard’s aggressive play style makes or breaks lanes in the early to mid game. One of the issues that DTG has run into is that they require Brokenshard to be the sole tank of the team, which is difficult on a jungler’s income, especially if he falls behind.
Mid – Arthelon
The mid-lane for Determined Gaming is Arthelon, earning a reputation as one of the largest trolls in high-elo play. In a time where outstanding mid lane play is the core of the team, Arthelon is not the one who typically carries the team. Amidst some of the more heavy hitting mid laners of Shiphtur, Jintae, and Bischu, Arthelon stands behind those stars in power and carry potential. Arthelon prefers to pick safer champions that have the ability to poke and quickly clear waves for sieging and turret defense, but has shown time to time again to pickup Kassadin.
Duo Lane – ROBERTxLEE & Bubbadub
ROBERTxLEE is the AD Carry for DTG and is one of the top performers on his team. Robert has favors Trinity Force AD Carries, taking Ezreal and Lucian when available. Robert has solid mechanical play and great positioning to keep his death count low and kill score high. Robert is one of the better farmers in the game, having an average of 7.5 CS per minute (the highest of the three promoted teams).
Bubbadub has been one of the most impressive challenger supports of Patch 3.14. Bubbdadub’s play style is seen as opportunistic; patiently waiting to make the right play at the right time. Instead of trying to force risky plays, Bubbdadub will land the perfect hook when enemy’s spells are on cooldown, wait until the enemy jungler is elsewhere on the map, and then make the secure play. Calculated play from Bubbadub often results in him being a playmaking position all the time, protecting his team and getting his carry fed. Bubbadub often starts the game with the 3 Stealth Wards and 1 Vision Ward start, as opposed to an early gold generation item like an Ancient Coin. This leads to a lower income for Bubbadub if the lane goes poorly or the advantage of the early wards are not taken.
Determined Gaming has the most aggressive level one engagements out of the three challenger teams. Bubbadub starts most games with 3 Stealth Wards and 1 Vision Ward.
DTG have two different routes; depending on their jungler, and the opponents jungler. DTG move as a 5-man unit across the river into the enemy jungle and set up two green wards to notify when the jungler is moving to another buff, and where the jungler is exiting. After wards are placed, DTG return to their own jungle as 5 and then separate to lanes. Brokenshard, along with the duo lane, will often late invade an enemy blue buff, which allows Westrice and Arthelon to secure their own blue during the invade. This gambit has secured several contested buffs and a few first bloods in the enemy jungle.
General Composition and Strategy
Determined Gaming compositions generally favor a top lane burst-duelist, an aggressive jungler, a safe mid lane with good wave clear, and an aggressive bottom lane. The composition could be labeled as a “brute force” comp, which does not utilize the top lane as a tank, but overpowers opponents with high damage with relatively low durability. The team fights will be quick and painful, with Brokenshard being the initiator, Westrice diving carries, Arthelon laying down heavy AoE damage, all while protecting ROBERTxLEE. This composition favors snowballing early leads that translate into a strong mid game, which rely on picks and item advantages to close out the game.
The first 15 minutes of Determined Gaming’s play dictates how the game will play out. This time frame is when DTG is most aggressive and seek out as many leads as possible, slowing down after that point and becoming sluggish as the game progresses. However, that initial 15 minutes is where DTG aim for 2 towers and 1-2 dragons, adding a substantial gold lead and early item advantage.
A large focus on Determined Gaming’s play-style is dragon control. DTG make excellent calls and plan around trying to take as many dragons as possible. In the NA LCS Promotional Qualifier, DTG took 86% of all dragons, and never giving up more than 1 dragon per game.
The general strategy of Determined Gaming is to run 3 damage threats, a tank and a support, as opposed to the two-tank two-damage threat compositions. The reason why DTG are successful with this composition is that they control objectives and seek early leads. If dragons are not secured by DTG or select lanes fall behind, the strategy crumbles as champions and compositions scale better into the later game, with higher sustain, better pick potential, and greater team fight synergy. When it comes down to it, if DTG can be controlled for the first 15 minutes of gameplay and denied these crucial gold and experience leads, the power of Determined Gaming is lost.
Players to Watch: Westrice, Bubbadub
The Bottom Line
Determined Gaming has an aggressive play style that preys on passive and indecisive play. Through early game advantages and objective control, DTG often overpower their opponents with stronger champions with better items, which stems from gold leads. If DTG look to secure a spot into the LCS, they must either adapt to a completely different, 5v5 late-game team fight composition, or run their current style and dominate the early-mid game.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last month or so, the new NA based Evil Genius roster is comprised of 3/5ths of the old European Evil Genius roster, the group formerly known as CLG.EU. One of the strongest teams in the world during Season 2, CLG.eu (at the time) was known for their absurd teamfighting ability and being able to make any game get into the super late game. However, with the Season 3 meta shift, a lot of things went south for the roster. Snoopeh and Wickd both had their champion pools directly or indirectly nerfed, causing them to perform well under their expectations.
After numerous subs, roster swaps and analyst desk cameos, the old EG decided to split into two rosters, the new NA EG and the European based [A]lliance, an organization famous in DOTA2 for winning this year’s world championship. With Krepo, Snoopeh, and Yellowpete skipping the pond to join up with fresh talents InnoX and Pobelter, it will be interesting to see if EG’s future can live up to this already ridiculously storied past.
Meet the Team
Top Lane – InnoX
Probably the least well known of EG’s new star studded line-up, InnoX is not a top lane talent that should be ignored by any means. After the blow up of NiD so close to the NACL finish line, InnoX was picked up to be Wickd 2.0 on EG, or so the rest of the old EG crew hopes. With plenty of competitive experience under his belt having been involved in the amateur scene for over a year, InnoX is not an untested top laner. At the same time, InnoX will have his hands full with Westrice against DTG. Not only is Westrice hungry and determined to get into the LCS finally, he has the advantage of playing with his team longer than InnoX has. While top lane is the lane that requires the least amount of synergy with the team outside of the late game 5v5 brawling stages, it will be interesting to see how InnoX’s champion pool can matchup against Westrice’s champion pool, especially since he is missing out on Rengar.
Innox’s Probable Picks Champions:
Mid Lane – Pobelter
The prodigal wunderkind child of League of Legends returns on another team with hopes of finally cracking into the professional scene. Pobelter, who has been playing League of Legends since he basically was out of diapers, has consistently been one of the strongest unsigned talents of the NA scene when he wasn’t on Curse’s payroll. Being the #1 player on the Solo Q ladder more than once, Pobelter has the reflexes and mechanics of a world class player. With some hardcore tutelage from his new, heavily experienced teammates, be on the lookout for Pobelter to develop into an even more terrifying force in the NA scene, be it in the LCS or in the Coke Zero League. If you are an EG fan, just hope his evil twin Throwbelter doesn’t show up this weekend.
Pobelter’s Probable Picks:
Jungle – Snoopeh
El capitan of the new USS Evil Genius, fan favorite ,and fitness guru Snoopeh really lost his stride for awhile in Season 3. With the shift of junglers going away from his favorites like Amumu, Maokai, and Cho’Gath, he really found himself struggling in his position. He even dabbled in jungle Malzahar… However, with a new season comes a new hope for Snoopeh to once again be top dog! Coming to America with pals Yellowpete and Krepo, look for Snoopeh to play heavy support styled initiating junglers, which are his true comfort zone. It will be interesting to see if his time away from playing, such as helping out at the World’s analyst desk or being subbed back and forth with old EG teammate Shacker will be a boon or bust. Maybe this old dog learned a new trick or two.
Snoopeh’s Probable Picks:
Bot Lane – Yellowpete and Krepo
One of the longest lasting bot lanes in world, Yellowpete and Krepo have been playing together for over 2 years now. Krepo, known for getting fat (off kills, not chocolate) has a tendency to play some of the scariest kill oriented supports in the game such as Leona, Thresh, and Blitzcrank. Yellowpete on the other hand, much like the other member of the old guard of EU AD carries Genja, plays as a typically more reserved and poke oriented Marksman. Not used to being the main damage threat of his team, Yellowpete has always been a man of positioning and plays champions such as Corki, Varus, and Kog’Maw suited to his old team’s needs.
It will be interesting to see how Yellowpete adapts to playing against NA marksmen, as general consensus considers NA a better breeding ground for marksmen talent. Who’s to say Pobelter isn’t the next Froggen though? Krepo on the other hand… he’ll fit right in with the NA support meta of wanting to slap-box the enemy lane 24/7. Two years of laning together makes Yellowpete and Krepo one of the toughest matchups for anyone to face in the world. It takes two to tango in bot lane, and being perfectly in sync is key. Look for their ability to read each other’s minds to help them through situations that would cause other botlanes to freeze up in disarray.
Yellowpete’s Probable Picks:
Krepo’s Probable Picks:
General Composition and Strategy
With the current state of the preseason patch, look for EG to go to the classic CLG.eu style of get mid lane HUGE and make the marksman a secondary threat to the enemy team. By allowing Pobelter to get optimal farm and assume the Froggen role, the CLG.eu old guard will be operating well within their comfort zones. With InnoX being able to play completely on an island with either his Nidalee or Lee Sin, this might be one of the strategies EG looks to employ.
Alternatively, they could look to adapt their new NA homeland and throw Yellowpete onto a hyper carry such as Jinx or Vayne. This would put InnoX on a more beefy frontliner top laner like Renekton most likely and put Pobelter onto an Orianna or another champion optimized best for teamfighting scenarios. If EG decide to pursue this path, it will be interesting to see how well Yellowpete manages to do without the help of his old solo laners. Regardless of which general strategy they choose, look for EG to play very simplified compositions that don’t require the refined teamwork of months of practice. Obviously there will be some synergy between the duo lane and jungle, but one missed initiate or a false start could mean the loss of their LCS spot.
There is one large glaring weakness on the EG team. The lack of time and practice together as a unit. They go against DTG, a team that has been playing together for months on the amateur circuit and who all have had time to learn how to act as a cohesive group. Having only been officially announced for under a month, there is only so much teamwork and synergy you can develop in this short of a time period. While EG will not be running around like a group of 5 chickens with their heads cut off like solo queue, don’t expected them to be a well oiled machine playing to their true potential.
Besides that obvious weakness, the fingers also need to point at two other things. One is Snoopeh’s available champion pool. If he isn’t comfortable with current running jungle picks, EG could be forced to use bans on unfavorable junglers. Second, while not necessarily a point of a weakness, it’s a question to consider. Will Yellowpete be able to carry harder than he did in Europe? With Froggen out of the picture, more carry weight is shifted over to Yellowpete and it seems as if his champion pool reflects that. Adding Vayne and Jinx to his stable, Yellowpete seems ready to perform.
Players to Watch: Krepo, Snoopeh
The Bottom Line
Evil Geniuses is a powerhouse team filled with wily veterans and some of the best young talent in the game. With the experience that the CLG.eu trio brings to the table in high pressure situations, don’t expect the two new guys to crack so easily. Every single member of EG knows what it means to lose their LCS spot, and I don’t expect them to go down easily if at all. Look for EG to attempt to prey upon DTG mid laner Arthelon in particular, who appears to be the weakest link of DTG’s roster. With experience and youthful talent on their side, Evil Geniuses is a scary team and definitely worthy of the LCS spot they are playing for.
Evil Geniuses North America will be playing against Determined Gaming on Friday, Dec. 20th, 2013 for a spot into the North America LCS. Be sure to tune in as this match is hyping up to be one of the best to come during this Promotion Tournament!
Authors: Jera Nyman and Rick “MANGO” Reilly