Stewie2K and RUSH reportedly to be benched; EG look towards European core
Per a report by Rafael Ferreira of BLIX, Evil Geniuses are set to bench Jake "Stewie2K" Yip and William "RUSH" Wierzba and pivot towards a majority European roster for their primary squad. In his report, Rafael Ferreira suggested that Evil Geniuses are currently evaluating K23's Sanzhar "neaLaN" Iskhakov and Copenhagen Flames' Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen for the IGL role while also restarting negotiations with benched OG player Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså.
Dust2.us can confirm from our own sources that Evil Geniuses were discussing removing Stewie2K and RUSH from the lineup after their disastrous start to 2022.
The removal of Stewie2K from Evil Geniuses' starting lineup hardly comes as a surprise, with the Major winner disappointing on multiple fronts in the first half of 2022. As an individual player, Stewie2K put up a dismal 0.93 rating over 44 maps, which is a far cry from his 1.02 rating with Liquid last year and a sharp decline from his "smoke criminal" days.
Likewise, Stewie2K's desire to reinvent himself as an IGL has played a major role in torpedoing the reunion of the ELEAGUE Boston Major winning core. With Stewie2K at the helm, Evil Geniuses has bombed out of the majority of events they attended thus far, including missing the PGL Antwerp Major despite a reduced field of teams from the Americas. Additionally, the team's poor form has led to the team essentially locked out of the scene since April, failing to qualify to any events until BLAST and ESL Pro League start up again in August.
Beyond the tangible failures Evil Geniuses have suffered this year, Stewie2K's presence on the team has generated a near-constant flurry of controversy in the past two months. The saga started when Damien "maLeK" Marcel was moved to the bench while assistant coach Paolo "EVY" Berbudeau and analyst Juan "Hepa" Borges were fired over Twitter at the same time. In the weeks since those changes, EVY, Stewie2K, and members of the community have had much to say about the incredibly poor working environment within Evil Geniuses. Notably, Stewie2K and maLeK's relationship has reportedly essentially fracturing within the first week of their initial bootcamp leading to a downward spiral for the team.
This includes Stewie2K admitting that he doesn't believe he is a capable captain or IGL post-RMR and that the team should look for other options, something that the organization has seemingly obliged. It is currently unknown what Stewie2K's future holds but considering he has playing VALORANT almost nonstop, the writing is on the wall for him to slink away to that game.
While Stewie2K's removal is a fairly obvious conclusion for what needed to happen with Evil Geniuses, the other moving parts of their reported plans are far more confusing. Regarding RUSH, while he is one of the weaker pieces of this iteration of EG, the difficult team environment along with the lack of a world-class IGL hasn't allowed a glue piece like RUSH to flourish. It is possible that EG, considering valde was always their first pick, has found an opportunity to grab the Danish star and RUSH is just an unfortunate causality of another project falling apart.
Another factor to consider is what all of these changes mean for Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte and Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov moving forward. As reported by Dust2.us last month, the duo could be free agents in September. As such, were these changes necessary to bring them on board or could Evil Geniuses potentially be making even more changes in two months time? Only time will tell, but it would be a massive indictment of the vision of Evil Geniuses' management if Timothy "autimatic" Ta is the only piece left of their supposed winning formula for a team after nine months.
The final missing piece of EG's future puzzle is what these changes could mean for the Blueprint project. If Evil Geniuses move to a European core, would there ever be potential space for NA journeyman to join the primary squad or for the Blueprint project to continue?
Dust2.us reached out to Evil Geniuses to try and answer some of these questions. Unfortunately, at the time of publication, Evil Geniuses have not responded to our request for comment.
With Stewie2K and RUSH out of the lineup, Evil Geniuses' primary lineup would be:
Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte
Tsvetelin "CeRq" Dimitrov
Timothy "autimatic" Ta
Jake "Stewie2K" Yip (Inactive)
William "RUSH" Wierzba (Inactive)
Evil Geniuses will have some time to rebuild their roster, with the first event the primary squad is likely to play being BLAST Premier Fall Groups on August 19th.