Long Road Home: Evil Geniuses in The International

By Cameron Gilbert, Web Content Developer for Evil Geniuses

It’s been more than four years since The International at Gamescom marked the beginning of a new chapter in competitive gaming. For the Evil Geniuses organization, it would be unthinkable to not attempt to field a team in arguably the biggest event of the year. But that road has been anything but smooth, and though EG now stands on top of the Western Dota community, it’s not so long ago that EG even missed out on qualifying. We know a lot of you may not have been around for the roller coaster that was being an EG fan, so we thought we’d take a minute and take you through Internationals past.

The International 2011: The Before Time

Evil Geniuses did not have a Dota 2 team at this time, but many future EG players cut their teeth in Dota 2 at this event. Clinton “Fear” Loomis and his team OK.Nirvana.int were one of the stars of the documentary Free to Play, and his teammates Pajkatt and Lacoste would go on to be some of EG.Dota’s earliest members. Meanwhile, many future Evil Geniuses made a deep run as members of Meet Your Makers. Once the tournament ended, the initial Evil Geniuses team of Fear, DeMoN, MiSeRy, Pajkatt, and PlaymatE was born, and they headed off to China to boot camp and compete in a few DotA majors before focusing completely on Dota 2.

Their return home marked the beginning of the roster instability that plagued Evil Geniuses for years. Pajkatt departed the team in January, and Maelk and Lacoste joined up – making DeMoN the official “backup” player. In spite of having six members to choose from, the roster was anything but stable, and just before the next International more changes were made: MiSeRy left to join Pajkatt, with Lacoste and PlaymatE following soon after. They were replaced with Sam “BuLba” Sosale and Saahil “UniVeRsE” Arora: two of the best talents the USA had to offer, turning the team into a primarily American squad. And it was this team that was invited to The International 2012.

The International 2012: Bright Spot in a Black Hole

Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Sam “BuLba” Sosale
Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho
Jacob “Maelk” Toft-Anderson
Saahil “UniVeRsE” Arora

The International 2012 is remembered for two things – the West’s utter domination at the hands of China, and Natus Vincere’s incredible ability to fight back and make it to the Finals anyway. But fans of Evil Geniuses have one other memory of that tournament: their 25 minute routing of eventual champions Invictus Gaming in their Winners’ Bracket Bo3. Though EG lost that series 1-2, Maelk’s four-man Black Hole was a symbol of what “could be.” If Evil Geniuses was firing on all cylinders, even the Chinese teams might not be unconquerable.

The rest of the event was unremarkable for the team. They finished in the top half of the Group Stage, earning them that match with IG, but were soundly defeated in the other two games and fell out of the Losers’ Bracket immediately with a loss to TongFu. Not long afterwards, Bulba and Universe left EG due to personal differences and were replaced by Jio “Jeyo” Madayag and Robert “Bdiz” Tinnes in October. This marked the beginning of a new chapter for Evil Geniuses: the most difficult in the team’s history.

The International 3: Catch and Release

Jio “Jeyo” Madayag
Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho
Alaan “Bamboe” Faraj
Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Robert “Bdiz” Tinnes


Throughout 2013, the “EG Throw” defined the team’s entire reputation. Though they had a fair bit of success in tournaments using nontraditional drafts like their infamous “Knight Strat,” Evil Geniuses was primarily famous for accruing huge midgame leads only to throw them away in the late game, due in part to the “high risk, high reward” playstyle embodied by Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho and Maelk’s replacement Alaan “Bamboe” Faraj. Unable to accrue enough success for a direct invite, EG was forced to compete in the Western Qualifier for TI3. And as strong as they looked in the group stage, they were unable to win a single match in the bracket: eliminating them from The International.

This roster actually found a couple of podium finishes after their loss in the qualifiers, but the sting of elimination from TI was too much. The roster was completely overhauled: Fear and Jeyo remained, UniVeRsE returned, and Fogged and MSS joined the team. But while the new roster was certainly more “stable,” they also weren’t making the plays. Every member of the team was a strong player on their own, but they didn’t have that spark a championship team needs. EG fans were already bracing themselves for a rough road into the next International.

The International 4: S A D B O Y S

Mason “mason” Venne
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Saahil “UniVeRsE” Arora
Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
Peter “ppd” Dager

Around the beginning of 2014, rumors of a new powerhouse were beginning to spread. Fear and UniVeRsE were standing in for a new team known as “SADBOYS,” alongside rising star Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and former Heroes of Newerth players Peter “ppd” Dager and Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg, and were tearing it up. In the months leading up to their EG sponsorship announcement, the SADBOYS went a dominating 16-2 in matches. Once announced, the new EG went on to win The Summit, the Monster Energy Invitational, the MLG TKO, the HyperX D2L Western Challenge, and take second at ESL One Frankfurt: more success in a few months than the old teams had enjoyed in a year.

However, many of those victories were without their oldest member, as an injury to his wrist left Fear out of commission. Mason “mason” Venne, a well-known NA Dota pub-star, was brought in to fill his shoes and the team scarcely missed a beat. They came into The International 4 on a massive high, and were responsible for some of the greatest games of the tournament. Even with their backs against the wall in the Losers’ Finals against ViCi, EG kept it breathless to the very end – the threat of a UniVeRsE Chronosphere or zai’s Black Hole probably keeps them up at night to this very day. Though eliminated in third place, Evil Geniuses made NA Dota proud.

The International 5 and Beyond: True Genius

Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan
Saahil “UniVeRsE” Arora
Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Peter “ppd” Dager

Shortly after TI4, Fear returned to the team to take back over for Mason, while Arteezy and zai left to join Team Secret. Taking zai’s place was Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, formerly of Cloud9. And taking Arteezy’s was the young kid from Pakistan many had begun to call his “second coming,” Syed Sumail “Suma1L” Hassan, who’d made a name for himself as one of the best rising talents in North America. At only 16 years old, he quickly proved he was no one’s second coming: he was his own man. With a Storm Spirit like no one had ever seen before, and a confident, explosive style of Dota, he led the newest iteration of Evil Geniuses to a number of championships including the biggest non-International tournament in history, the Dota 2 Asian Championships.

If you’re reading this now, I’m sure you know the rest of the story. The International 2015 was overwhelmingly China’s tournament, with all the western powerhouses from Secret to Cloud 9 falling early and falling hard. But not EG. Each and every player on that team had the tournament of a lifetime, from Sumail’s lane dominance to ppd’s masterful drafting. Even put back in the same position as last year, in the Losers’ Finals against a Chinese powerhouse, EG stood strong and kept their cool. Forcing the other teams to conform to their brand of Dota, exploiting counterpicks and weaknesses in their enemies’ hero pools, Evil Geniuses made magic happen in Key Arena. They brought the Aegis home to the USA. It’s been a long road – especially for Fear, who’s been with EG through it all. It’s taken five years and many rosters, but it’s all been worth it.

Today, we all bleed blue.