Evil Geniuses' "Blueprint" add another Major winner
Evil Geniuses have announced that Soham "valens" Chowdhury will now be in charge of the organization's Counter-Strike division. valen's move to leading the Blueprint project comes after a more than two-year-long tenure as the Head of Data Sciences for Evil Geniuses, where the former Cloud9 coach helped the organization across a variety of titles, including Counter-Strike, League of Legends, and Dota 2.
valens has largely been in the background of the Evil Geniuses organization for the better part of the last three years. After winning the Boston Major in 2018 with Cloud9, the coach fell by the wayside after the well-documented roster struggles that plagued the organization. He eventually separated with Cloud9, searching for a role that was better suited for the former Google data scientist. Shortly afterward, Evil Geniuses signed valens as the organization's Head of Data Science, a position where he largely worked with all facets of the organization, rather than just Counter-Strike. However, with this new move, he is now solely focused on Counter-Strike once again, with an organization that is putting its money where its mouth is.
Evil Geniuses' recently-unveiled Blueprint project is one of the most ambitious and revolutionary plans unveiled by an organization in ages. It is not simply signing one academy squad, but rather signing two eager and competitive teams that will be competing on equal footing across the department. While the full scope of the organization's plans have yet to be seen, there is cautious optimism among North American fans that this is exactly what will help the region grow.
In conjunction with the announcement of this move, valens sat down with Milan "Striker" Švejda of HLTV to discuss at length his new role in the organization, and to gain better insight into the future of the Blueprint project. In the interview, the two discussed the past work that valens has done before with Cloud9, and more regarding his new position in Evil Geniuses. When discussing what drove valens to be heading Evil Geniuses' Counter-Strike division, he commented:
We were obviously struggling in the EG Counter-Strike division ourselves, we also brought on these two new teams as part of Blueprint, and more support was required for Counter-Strike, and I was probably the best suited in EG to take that on.
When asked about what his title of "Direct of Athletics for Counter-Strike" actually entailed, valens said that "it's a pretty fancy name for basically a General Manager combined with someone who has that experience to bring in the data side of things." valens further clarified his role by stating that he would be in charge of decision-making for the roster, stating that "when we do poorly it should be on me and when we do well it should be on me." valens also stated that he would continue to work closely with the data science team in order to help make decisions regarding the roster.
Aside from just speaking on his own role in the team, valens and Striker also talked extensively about the Blueprint project, discussing a variety of key points regarding the experimental roster. When asked how the team would transition from three separate lineups to a more fluid one, where players can be actively swapped out, valens said:
If let's say next year comes around and we do need to make a roster change on the teams that are attending the BLAST or the EPL events, what will happen is, generally then we would have to start a scouting process, we don't necessarily have experience with players that we might bring on board to trial and try out, we have to figure out if their communication's good, how's their attitude, on top of if they're actually good at the game in the role that we need.
Now we have a pool of players that we have much more insight into, that we can easily slot in if needed, and I think that's the beauty of having an in-house larger roster, where we can be more fluid between the three teams.
valens commented further on the subject of the fluidity of the roster by stating:
To me it's not the main team and extra players. In 2023 especially and beyond, I think the way we're going to see it is that the best five at any given time should be attending the best events. Everyone else is just part of trying to get there and also developing themselves as players.
When asked about his main concern for the ambitious lineup, valens commented that he wanted to make sure that each player has the opportunity to practice against the very best worldwide. valens elaborated later in the interview that a goal for the organization is:
...that we're gonna have a full coaching staff for each of the three teams because that's what they deserve and that's also the best way to get the most support and the best out of the players.
These two statements highlight that a major priority for Evil Geniuses is the fostering of this new talent that they've acquired. Fans can take solace in the notion that valens and the rest of the Evil Geniuses organization will be doing their best to provide useful support networks for all players involved.
The interview concluded with a brief chat regarding the current roster, led by Jake "Stewie2K" Yip, primarily regarding the fact that the squad has been out of the server for nearly two months, and will continue to be so until after the player break. On the state of the main roster, valens had this to say:
It's no surprise that the first half of the year didn't go as planned for our pre-existing roster, the one with Stewie2K, autimatic, RUSH, Brehze, and CeRq. We're in a situation where we basically are having a lot of interviews with the players and the previous coaching staff, as well as I was brought on board relatively recently to see where the teams can go, not just the teams we just brought on from PA and CD, but also our pre-existing roster.
These topics are just some of the many issues discussed by valens and Striker regarding valens' role and Evil Geniuses' Blueprint project. The full interview with valens on HLTV can be found here.