Evil Geniuses keep their BLAST Premier Spring Final qualification hopes alive following a 2-1 win against a resolute Vitality in Group B’s elimination stage. The French side, playing their first match without in-game leader Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, who is taking a break from competition, gave a good account of themselves and pushed the series to a third map after being soundly beaten on Nuke, and they rallied from three match points down on the decider map, Inferno, before agonisingly falling in overtime.
EG’s fans will have breathed a sigh of relief after the much-needed victory, which sets the team up for a grudge match against G2 and boosts their confidence after a series of poor results.
“It feels really good,” Tarik “tarik” Celik said after the match. “Obviously, these are not the circumstances in which we wanted to get the win, with apEX not being there, but a win is a win. It was a big one for us, we’ve been fighting really hard to get something going lately.
“Results have not been good at all, it’s been really bad. We really needed something and hopefully, this is something to get us kick-started and doing better for the upcoming games.”
The North American team made a dominant start to the match as they raced to a 6-0 lead on the T side of Nuke – their own map pick – before Vitality finally managed to get a round on the board following a fast trio of frags by Cédric “RpK” Guipouy in an eco round. The French side found their footing after that difficult opening stretch, bringing the scoreline to 4-7, but then Evil Geniuses ramped up the pressure and finished the half with 10 rounds to their name.
The second half began with EG taking the pistol round, but there was no follow-up as Vitality hit back in the following round, with Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier picking up four kills with the Desert Eagle. The French side were given a taste of their own medicine shortly afterwards, however, as EG won a full eco round that began with a timely flank and a knife kill by Ethan “Ethan” Arnold. The North American team ran away with the game after that, expertly fending off Vitality‘s comeback attempts.
After a lengthy break due to technical issues, play resumed on Vertigo, where Vitality took a 3-0 lead following a lively start to their CT side. EG struck back with a 2v4 clutch by Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte and tarik and won the ensuing anti-ecos to level the score. Things were looking promising for the North Americans, but the rest of the half was all Vitality, who kept the Terrorists at bay with a resolute defensive performance, with Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom leading the charge with 18 frags.
Vitality added to their lead after switching sides following a hectic pistol round that almost went EG’s way. Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz‘s troops attempted to respond after buying up, but the French team kept their composure and locked down the map without even letting their opponents reach double-digits.
Evil Geniuses got off to a fantastic start on Inferno, winning five rounds in a row before Vitality finally managed to stabilise. Nivera racked up 12 frags as the French team tightened up and managed to take the lead, but EG picked up the pace in the closing stages of the half to head into the break with a narrow advantage.
Vitality came out of the break looking likely as they picked up the first three rounds of the half to retake the lead. The game entered a scrappy period as neither side managed to gain a stranglehold, but then EG tightened up and reached match point at 15-12. With no margin for error, the Frenchmen pushed the game to all 30 rounds with back-to-back A hits before finding the equaliser with a B execute against a very weak buy. EG didn’t let the setback shake their confidence, though, and won all CT rounds in overtime before wrapping things up on the offence.