It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the Major ended. I will do a post about the Major eventually but I am unsure when that will be. However, today I wanted to talk about roster changes, specifically for Evil Geniuses and Team Secret.
So, Team Secret won The Shanghai Major. A 3-1 victory in the final over Team Liquid secured them the $1,110,000 prize money and, fresh off the bat from that, they decided to kick Misery and W33 in favour of Arteezy and Universe. For the life of me I cannot understand why.
I’ll start with the positive, though it is mostly one sided. In EG I think Arteezy wanted to play mid again and feels that people compare him to Sumail too much. After all, they have fairly similar stories as to how they got into Dota and both were billed as “young prodigies” when they got into the scene. It probably also doesn’t help that they both started in EG and were trained and tutored by the experience of Fear and the flux of teammates that have come and gone from the EG roster over the year. I think that, by joining Team Secret who is known as a more-or-less equally skilled team as EG, he can strike out on his own and prove himself for his own merit. I also feel that him and Puppey got on quite well as, when the original Team Secret fell apart, he had nothing but good things to say about Puppey.
Universe, in my opinion, is also somewhat synonymous with EG but, more importantly, I think he is widely to considered to be the best offlane player in the scene at the moment. That isn’t a slight on Misery, because clearly they are both amazing, but of the two I think Universe is stronger. W33, finally, probably also wants to find his own way for a bit rather than being surrounded by people who have been professional players for years and who have been able to teach him. He might have even found that he doesn’t enjoy playing professionally and wants to go back to his streaming and trying to become the player with the highest solo MMR in the world.
Now the bad, noting that I didn’t include Misery in my positive analysis. Misery’s exit from Team Secret might not come as a surprise. He has played with EternalEnvy before and I think any stretch of time with that man would be unpleasant. It probably made his time there quite tense and I think that his misplays during the Major, which have become many memes, are in part due to EternalEnvy lording over him. I think he took the chance when he heard W33 talking about leaving and, come to think of it, they may partner up together to form a new stack, however, that remains to be seen.
I also feel that the personalities in the new Team Secret will collide more than the previous iteration of their roster. EE, Arteezy, Universe, Puppey and PieLieDie are all incredibly competent, incredibly skilled players but it will be up to Puppey and his years of experience to knit them all together along with PieLieDie’s experience as captain of Cloud9 and managing EternalEnvy. I actually think they can do it and perform well, though I certainly feel that it is less of a “super group” than the TI5 Secret roster but it comes pretty close.
Now onto EG, and my god, what has happened? Evil Geniuses new roster is Aui_2000, Sumail, Bulba, Fear and PPD, in descending order of farm priority. Aui released a video explaining about his situation, about leaving Digital Chaos and rejoining EG and, most importantly, calming people’s nerves about his relationship with PPD. The post-TI5 blog post PPD wrote made it seem as if PPD would never work with Aui again and I am not entirely convinced that they won’t fall back into old habits or resort to squabbling.
As for Bulba? He fills a void. Looking at his results it certainly appears that he is not as good as he used to be and I don’t think he showed much promise of improvement in Digital Chaos. I don’t think he’s the equal of Misery nor Universe and, while I feel I am being overly mean, I think this was a choice of convenience for EG rather than something they wanted to do. After all, they won TI5 so they will be invited to TI6, not to mention placing at least 3rd in every major Tournament since TI5 bar ESL One New York.
However, looking at the new rosters for both teams, we have to ask how it will affect their performance? I actually don’t think we will see Secret’s performance take much of a knock. Of course, with any roster changes, you expect a certain dip in performance while the players practice with each other but I think Secret, if their egos don’t collide, will see a pretty quick return to dominance. Evil Geniuses on the other hand have lost something quite special.
Universe was quite key to their play style. Dark Seer, Earthshaker and Phoenix were all heroes he could dominate a match with and were often picked for him. I don’t think Bulba will be capable of replicating that. Arteezy, I feel, was never the backbone of Evil Geniuses, though of course he was a great carry player, and so I think Aui will more comfortably be able to fill his shoes. Of course I hope I am proved wrong but my initial thoughts are that Evil Geniuses have definitely suffered a downgrade while Secret still look as strong as ever.