LCS: Evil Geniuses Have a Roster Decision to Make

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: --- during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: --- during 2020 LCS Spring Split at the LCS Arena on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, USA.. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games) /

After Evil Geniuses’ success following their recent roster changes, the team faces some difficult questions going forward in the Summer Split.

In Week 6 of the LCS, Evil Geniuses decided to sub in Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon for Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro and Colin “Kumo” Zhao in the mid and top lane, respectively. This drastic change, in general, was surprising for many, as both Goldenglue and Huni had struggled in their latest LCS stints. Let’s look deeper at this decision.

At the time of this change, the team was sitting in the middle of the pack at 5-5. However, Jiizuke had not been performing as well as he did in the Spring Split, having many games where he was the main reason the team lost. When looking at the trend statistically, the numbers support his poor performances.

Among mid laners with four or more games this split, he places tenth in KDA (2.7), only ahead of Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire, both who have since been benched. Additionally, he has the fourth-most average deaths per game (2.7), and ranks tenth in terms of percentage of damage for his team (24.5%).

He’s putting up these statistics all while accumulating the second-most gold per minute from mid laners (434), only behind Team Liquid’s Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. Since he’s gaining the second most gold per minute, he should be putting out the damage that represents the resources he gets. Unfortunately, this is not the case, indicating something is off in his performances.

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His champion pool has been a cause for concern this split, while he has shown great prowess on aggressive champions such as LeBlanc and Ekko, he has also struggled on more passive laners (like Karma, Kog’Maw, Kassadin). This trend limits the amount of the styles Evil Geniuses can take onto the rift successfully, meaning Jiizuke is hindering the team’s overall flexibility.

As for his substitute, Goldenglue, he’s had one great performance against Cloud9, and one below-average outing against Team Liquid. Considering he provides more steady and consistent gameplay compared to the high-variance style from Jiizuke, it may be worth keeping him on the starting roster for now. He also does not clog up an import slot, something that is important for the other EG roster change.

The well-known Huni found his way onto the rift once again for Evil Geniuses in Week 6, and there were definitely mixed results. First, on Karma, he struggled to make an impact even after he got first blood against Mordekaiser. The pick seems suspect, as Huni is known as a carry top laner. If you’re going to sub him in, you should at least give him the resources and ability to carry the game from the top lane.

In his second game, he played Gangplank into Sett with what seemed to be a better result. His end scoreline looked good, at 4/1/8, but he was consistently down 20-30 CS in lane, and only accumulated the largest damage share of his team due to Gangplank’s kit. Although it may seem like it was a vintage Huni performance, there are still many red flags that have remained from the spring split.

On the opposite side, Kumo has shown constant improvement from his rookie split with Evil Geniuses. Although his numbers aren’t jumping off the page, he has shown himself to be a consistent LCS-worthy weak-side top laner. He’s a much safer option than Huni, as his playstyle is more team-oriented, while Huni looks to carry the game.

With the LCS import rule, EG is only allowed to have one of Huni or Jiizuke, assuming they keep Bae “Bang” Jun-sik in the starting lineup at AD Carry. However, as they are both extremely aggressive and volatile players, why not start the safer options? With a lineup with Kumo and Goldenglue, the 20 year old top laner is allowed to develop, while the steady Goldenglue can hold down the mid lane effectively.

This strategy should allow for world champion Bang and former LCS MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen to be unleashed, looking to them to carry each game. Especially in this ADC meta, the two power picks of Ezreal and Aphelios would allow Bang to have more of an impact on the game, one that is minimized when Huni or Jiizuke are in the lineup.

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So, while some are questioning which of Huni and Jiizuke is more valuable, perhaps there is a better question to ask. Why are EG debating which import to bring into their lineup, when they have the safer, native options right in front of them?