Evil Geniuses Wins VALORANT Champions 2023 to Complete Storybook Run
VALORANT Champions 2023 has crowned its winner, Evil Geniuses. In one of the biggest Cinderella stories in esports history, they have claimed the biggest prize in VALORANT by defeating Paper Rex in the Grand Finals. This win puts the cap on an extraordinary season for EG where they quite literally went from zeroes to heroes.
After their upper bracket final loss to Paper Rex, Evil Geniuses had a showdown with regional rivals LOUD for a chance to play the biggest match in VALORANT. Map one was a back-and-forth banger on Ascent that went into overtime. EG managed to close it out and go up 1-0 early. The North Americans then absolutely crushed LOUD on their Lotus pick 13-4, setting up an early series point.
LOUD would not be put away easily. The Brazilians fired back on EG’s Pearl, outplaying their unique Yoru composition. That 13-8 win was followed by a decisive 13-7 on their own Split pick to set up the reverse sweep. The decider was Bind, a map that EG had lost to Paper Rex the day prior. Instead of crumbling to the reverse sweep like they had yesterday, EG showed their true resilience and adaptation. A fantastic second half defense allowed them to stonewall LOUD and take the series.
The Rematch for the Crown
Following a phenomenal opening ceremony, Paper Rex and Evil Geniuses filed into their spots. On one side was a team that had so frequently been at the top, but had never won it all. On the other was a team that was given nothing but scrutiny and doubt from the start of the season. Would PRX’s last dance end on a high note, or would EG’s meteoric rise end at the summit?
Paper Rex had the two-map veto advantage due to winning the upper bracket. They chose to ban Fracture and Haven, EG’s best map and PRX’s permaban respectively. Map one took us to Split. EG had lost this map to both EDward Gaming and LOUD at this event and was a notable weak point. This trend looked to be continuing as PRX took an 8-4 lead on the attack side in the first half.
However, EG had come prepared. Their offense was absolutely brutal in its aggression and execution. Max “Demon1” Mazanov was locked in, as he put up an insane 400 average combat score with a 2.03 rating in the second half.
EG shocked PRX by winning nine of 11 rounds to steal their map pick 13-10. They even had Ascent up next, the one map that they won against PRX in the upper finals. PRX made a strong early case on the map. They took pistol and the first gun round, which helped PRX to a narrow 7-5 first half lead. EG equalized the pistol score on their offense which helped bring the score to equal.
It seemed like EG’s comeback was firmly under way, until PRX dug in and won four in a row off the back of clutch holds and retakes. PRX star Ilya “something” Petrov stepped up massively on Ascent, top fragging with 25 kills overall.
EG had one final spurt to try and get to overtime, but to no avail. Just like that, PRX had evened up the series.
Pulling Closer to the Title
Next up was Bind. This was another map that favored PRX on paper as they firmly beat EG on it in their previous meeting. However, PRX would be the ones who made the sweeping changes going into this game.
They utilized a Reyna Harbor composition in the upper bracket finals that, while not taking over the game, did provide more area denial and comfort. This time, PRX moved something from Reyna to Breach and dropped Harbor for Yoru. This now left them with a single Controller Agent and three flashbang Agents.
Right away, PRX looked weaker on the map. They struggled to gain map control on attack, only earning five total spike plants in the half. The Yoru did help them win a few sporadic rounds with his ultimate, but the general lack of control otherwise caused PRX to fall short. A 9-3 half for EG put the North Americans firmly in the drivers’ seat.
The second half didn’t go any better for PRX. After losing the first gun round, they simply petered out as EG won the rest. The 13-5 victory was the most one-sided map of the finals and put EG on championship point.
EG’s final map pick was Lotus. The day before, they crushed LOUD 13-4 on this map and were favorites with the title on the line. PRX’s offense started off strong however. They took the pistol and won the first gun round, putting them on a 3-1 lead with EG now on a save round. That was when Kelden “Boostio” Pupello pulled off one of the biggest plays of the tournament.
PRX kept getting an edge up on EG in crucial rounds, but they just couldn’t stave off EG’s low buys and retakes. The half ended with PRX only getting seven rounds on a heavy attack sided map. With the sides swapped, EG started to take control of their map. A pistol and bonus round win brought them into the lead for the first time on Lotus.
PRX never denied EG from a site once. EG planted the spike in every single round on their attack. With the trophy just a step away, EG’s Alexander “jawgemo” Mor turned the aggression up to eleven as he stormed through PRX’s defense.
EG on Top of the World
The final score was 13-10, a 3-1 series win for Evil Geniuses. The impossible had happened. A team that had no supporters and no results at the start of the season, a team that needed outside help to even qualify for their regional playoffs, a team that had people calling for their heads if improvements were not made, is the VALORANT Champions 2023 winner.
EG is North America’s first ever VALORANT Champions victor. Extreme credit must be given to every player and staff member. Head coach Christine “potter” Chi has turned this squad into the most difficult team to play against. Their playbook is deep, their counter-strating is fantastic, and their map pool is second to none.
Demon1 is one of, if not the best mechanical player in the game. Jawgemo is the best Raze player in the world. Ethan “Ethan” Arnold has arisen in VALORANT as the best support player bar none. Corbin “C0M” Lee is an absolute master in the clutch. And Boostio has made his mark as an elite in-game leader and fragger at the same time.
Few had faith in this project when 2023 rolled around. Now as VALORANT Champions ends, Evil Geniuses has earned all the faith in the world. This is a team that can build a dynasty in their current form. For now, they stand at the top of the mountain. Dynasties do not come easy in VALORANT as Fnatic can tell you. When the 2024 season begins, all eyes will be on Evil Geniuses.