Between the 2022 League Championship Series Championship finals rematch of Cloud9 and 100 Thieves and the clash of two rosters decked out with South Korean talent in Team Liquid vs FlyQuest, the face-off of Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians was a relatively forgettable matchup in terms of storylines on opening day of the 2023 LCS Spring Split. However, one particular head-to-head boasted a specific history unmatched in the current North American LoL esports landscape.
AD carry Victor “FBI” Huang competed with support Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun for three full years; first on Golden Guardians in 2020, then on 100 Thieves for 2021 and 2022. During their time as Thieves, FBI and huhi were a crucial part of helping the organization win their first LCS Championship in 2021. 2023 saw them join separate teams for the first time in three years — huhi returned to Golden Guardians, and FBI joined Evil Geniuses — and in their first match of 2023, they were pitted against each other in the bot lane matchup.
Ultimately, it was FBI who got the better of huhi. While EG’s win over GG was far from convincing, FBI was clinical in his execution on an individual level, finishing the game with a 7/0/7 scoreline on Jhin. Going deathless in a 40+ minute game requires laser focus, but FBI admitted after the match that he struggled to resist the temptation of sending huhi his regards in style.
“I tried not to think about it too much or let it affect the game, but I definitely really wanted to kill him, just to let him know what’s up,” FBI said with a chuckle. “I don’t recall if I managed to get the kill on him in the game, but I’m glad I got to destroy the Nexus, and yeah, it was very enjoyable to take down my former teammate.”
After defeating him in their first match apart in three full seasons, @VictorHuang had some words for his former bot lane partner @huhi #LIVEEVIL #LCS pic.twitter.com/OJGLH0UdLP
— Nick Geracie (@NickGeracie) January 27, 2023
How FBI got here
Aside from a brief visit back home to Australia, FBI didn’t take much of a vacation in the off-season after what he considered a disappointing 2022, which saw 100 Thieves reach both LCS finals – and lose both in clean sweeps to Evil Geniuses and Cloud9, respectively. “I felt that I really underperformed last year, especially in both finals,” said FBI. “Back-to-back 0-3s was pretty difficult to handle, so during the off-season, I just went to Korea and grinded.”
Most players would consider back-to-back domestic finals and a League of Legends World Championship appearance a successful year, regardless of the specific results of matches at those stages of competition, but FBI left 2022 feeling lacking. Fortunately for FBI, more than one LCS team disagreed with him.
“It was honestly a pretty difficult offseason because I know that I didn’t play well last year. So I was actually pretty surprised when I had a lot of interest from a lot of teams,” FBI admitted. “At the end of the day, I felt that Evil Geniuses was just the strongest roster. I think the core three players there are extremely talented players, and it was honestly a no-brainer for me to come here.”
Honor among thieves
FBI wasn’t the only player from 100 Thieves to join EG for the season; 2022 LCS Summer Split All-Pro top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho came along with him after five years with the Thieves. Finding a viable replacement for instrumental top laner Jeong “Impact” Eon-young is a tall task; but in Ssumday, EG found a sidegrade at worst and, if last summer tells us anything, a slight upgrade.
“I was aware that Evil Geniuses were in talks with Ssumday, and I was also in conversations with Ssumday, trying to convince him that Evil Geniuses was the best team for him,” FBI explained. “So I’m glad that he ended up coming here because I think he’s an extremely, extremely good player.”
EG’s week 1 of the 2023 LCS Spring Split can only be described as shaky. In both games, EG pulled out a significant early lead, but fumbled closing things out in the mid-game; this allowed the game to remain competitive past the 40-minute mark. EG still managed to beat Golden Guardians in the end, but the resilient Counter Logic Gaming didn’t afford them the same luxury.
However, this Evil Geniuses roster is as talented as its 2022 iteration, maybe moreso; they should be expected to come into week 2 looking much improved after their mid-game slipups against Golden Guardians and CLG.