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The ESL Pro League features 32 of the world’s best CS:GO teams competing for $850,000 in prize money. Teams are chosen through several qualifying rounds held in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Oceania. Two of the league’s long-time partner teams Evil Geniuses and ENCE will be facing off in the opening round of their group in the upcoming matchup. Finnish esports staple ENCE recently completed 10 years as a team and currently features a roster made up of European players who have been in good form overall.
On the other hand, Evil Geniuses is one of the most widely recognized brands in esports, having been founded all the way back in 1999, as one of the oldest professional teams in existence today. Evil Geniuses has been playing competitive Counter Strike since the early 2000s, until going on a hiatus starting in 2023. In 2019, EG acquired NRG Esports’ roster to relaunch their CS:GO efforts. However, it has been tough going for the organization since their re-entry into the sport - Evil Geniuses is currently a mid-tier team in CS:GO and oddsmakers have rated them very poorly against upcoming opponents ENCE.
ENCE has strung together some strong results in the recent past. They cleaned out the competition in their last S-Tier outing by winning the Inter Extreme Masters Dallas 2023. ENCE also finished the last season of the ESL Pro League (Season 17) in 3rd-4th place. ENCE is currently on an upward trajectory, having made major improvements to their results in 2023 when compared to the last couple of years. Throughout 2022, they were consistently a mid-table team and yet, they have managed to catapult themselves into the limelight with a series of strong performances in 2023.
Since Evil Geniuses’ comeback to CS:GO, they have not had much to write home about since 2020 when they won ESL One and the BLAST Premier Finals back to back. Since then, the team has struggled to find consistency beyond the mid-table. Evil Geniuses hold the unfortunate distinction of finishing the last season of the ESL Pro League dead last, in 29th-32nd place. With such a drastic drop-off in performance, it’s hard to see how Evil Geniuses will be able to manage any kind of success against a currently top-ranked time like ENCE.
In the last four CS:GO events that they competed in, ENCE has not finished lower than second place. They took home the trophy at Intel Extreme Masters Dallas 2023 and finished second place at ESL Challengers Katowice 2023, IEM Cologne 2023, and Gamers8 2023. With such a massive surge in form, it’s exceedingly difficult to even consider the possibility of Evil Geniuses pulling off a surprise upset.
ENCE is also playing with a stable roster - their most recent addition NertZ has been part of the squad for six months and has already put in the work - playing 85 maps for the team. ENCE is currently ranked #4 in the world, but it looks like that could change for the better as the 2023 season progresses. Apart from newcomer NertZ, the ENCE roster consists of dycha, Snappi, Maden, and SunPayus, all of whom have been part of the roster for more than a year.
Over the last three months, ENCE has maintained a win rate of 75%, which is remarkable considering the levels of competition that they have been up against. Their most recent 3-match win streak was broken by Team Vitality, one of the few teams that are currently ranked above them. In the last three months, longtime ENCE veteran dycha has scored 607 kills and suffered 613 deaths, for a K/D ratio of 0.99. His headshot % stands at 47.6% and he has played 936 rounds over 35 maps.
Evil Geniuses used to be one of the most respected teams in CS:GO. Currently, the team rests on its past laurels and it’s just not enough in today’s competitive meta. Evil Geniuses has not won a top-tier event since IEM Road to Rio 2022 over a year ago. Evil Geniuses currently play with a North American roster featuring Walco and HexT from Canada, alongside autimatic, junior, and jeorge from the USA.
Only autimatic has been playing for Evil Geniuses for over a year. The remaining members of the squad have spent less than two months with the team and it’s still too soon to tell whether they will be able to figure out a working chemistry that will help them improve their overall form by putting in consistently strong performances. In contrast to ENCE’s 75%, Evil Geniuses’ win rate is currently only 56.2%, based on the matches from the last three months.
Longtime Evil Geniuser player autimatic has played 859 rounds over the last three months, during which he scored 581 kills and suffered 596 deaths, for a K/D ratio of 0.97. Over 31 maps, he has scored 50.6% of attempted headshots and dealt 0.68 kills per round. Given their current form, it’s a slight miracle that Evil Geniuses continue to play at the highest level of CS:GO. The team will have to make some major adjustments to continue as a top-tier squad.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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