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Evil Geniuses demonstrate their intention to stay in the Call of Duty scene by announcing their new roster. The revised lineup consists of many leftover free agents from “rostermania” looking for a shot at redemption.

A band of misfits

Following the biggest achievement for their Call of Duty division, Evil Geniuses has had a polarizing off-season. Fans were shocked to see them sell their entire roster to powerhouse organization Team Envy. After the news broke, no one was sure whether or not Evil Geniuses would stay in the scene or not. Not wanting to end their journey in the scene now, Evil Geniuses have scoured the scene for some of the best free agents available. The Black Ops 4 roster is as follows:

  • Renato “Saints” Forza
  • Jevon “Goonjar” Gooljar-Lim
  • Tyler “FeLo” Johnson
  • Matthew “Royalty” Faithfull
  • Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield

The new boys in blue are a group of underrated players, looking for another chance to prove themselves. Most of these players just barely missed making it into the pro league last year. Some, like FeLo, only got in during the second season as a pickup for eUnited. For the most part, these players (asides for Saints) were stuck playing at a high AM level of competition. This is not indicative at all of their talents; all of these individuals have the potential to be at top-level teams.

Renato “Saints” Forza

Starting off with the player who arguably had the best year out of the team, Saints has been in the scene since the Black Ops days and made a name for himself during Ghosts under the Strictly Business roster. He would maintain a position on high-level teams but would not have any major accomplishments until Infinite Warfare. Under the Luminosity Gaming roster, Saints and his team placed first at CWL Anaheim 2017.

Credit: MLG

While Saints is a veteran with years of experience under his belt, he has been an inconsistent slayer. The past few years, it is safe to say that he has dropped in form. It seems as if Saints only reaches his potential after being activated by his teammates. If Saints has a good core of players clicking, then that’s when he really starts to shine. Unfortunately, his past teams have not seemed to be that, and this Evil Geniuses lineup may be another gamble for him. Another specific issue is that for international tournaments, Saints will not be able to attend due to visa issues. However, teams he has been on have usually been able to find a substitute, so that is not the biggest worry.

Jevon “Goonjar” Gooljar-Lim

Most known for his time on Team Kaliber, Goonjar had relative success in World War II with the Lightning Pandas roster. Goonjar first made his break in Black Ops II and carried the momentum into a relatively successful Ghosts season. Unfortunately, he has been stuck in a state of mediocrity for the following seasons. While he has had multiple chances on high-profile teams, they never seemed to make any noise. The danger with this new Evil Geniuses team is that history may repeat itself.

Credit: EsportsNation

A key point is that Goonjar is the only player on the team who has experience as the main AR player. He has had a history playing AR in Ghosts, Black Ops III, and World War II. It is most likely that he will pick up the rifle for this upcoming season. This does not solve the problem that the team still lacks the firepower in AR players. Even so, Goonjar is not necessarily a top-tier AR player and will probably struggle against the top ARs, such as Slasher and Octance. The issue here is that there needs to be someone with that star power that Goonjar can then support.

Tyler “FeLo” Johnson

FeLo, or the merc with a mouth. FeLo first popped off as a Search and Destroy star in Ghosts. Throughout the following years, he would jump between teams until he found his footing on Elevate in Black Ops III. This team was decent in this time period, placing third in CWL Championships 2016 and fourth in 2017. Unfortunately, at the start of World War II, FeLo would be left in the dust. He would join CompLexity Gaming, a team that failed to make it into season one of the pro league.

Credit: COD Gamepedia

Joining eUnited in the last part of the World War II season, FeLo’s playstyle was one of an aggressive support SMG player. While he is capable of dropping monster numbers, this team composition does not require him to do so. Instead, a player like FeLo opens avenues for him to fill in other gaps. With potentially strong SMGs in Saints and Royalty already, there are other responsibilities on the team to be filled. This new lineup may be FeLo’s opportunity to develop his gameplay past a fairly one-dimensional SMG player that seldom occasionally goes off.

Matthew “Royalty” Faithfull

One of the key factors to this team’s success relies on the performance of Royalty, known for his explosive SMG gameplay and touted for his fast reaction times. It was even known that he would play on a sensitivity of 12/12 as opposed to the traditional 5/5. For most of his career Royalty has been playing on lower-tier teams. This team is arguably his biggest break so far. Despite that, Royalty is no rookie, having garnered experience on Enigma6 Group and, more recently, Lightning Pandas.

Credit: Twitter

There is substantial promise in picking up Royalty as he brings the firepower of the team. There is no way Royalty is getting off of the SMG and will most likely be the lead charge in team pushes. The biggest issue basing your team composition around this aggression is that the team will need a voice to direct the pieces. Even if Royalty goes off and drops numbers, it appears this new season will be based more around team shots as opposed to “hero plays.” The hope is that the veterans in Goonjar and Saints will reign in the hotshot SMG.

Andres “Lacefield” Lacefield

The final piece of the puzzle is Lacefield, arguably the most inexperienced on the team. Known for his time on Cloud9 led by legend ACHES, Lacefield was relegated to an AM team the past season. Although, his Ghost Gaming roster was a top AM team always on the bubble of breaking into pro league. Lacefield was more a byproduct of the shift to five versus five. The change essentially opened up spots for more teams to make pro league. This can be observed with ex-Lightning Panda players such as fellow Evil Genius, Royalty.

Credit: ESPN

One of the glaring issues here is that Lacefield is another SMG player. While he put up numbers and did his job on Ghost Gaming, it is hard to ignore the role issues. Like FeLo, Lacefield is another player who could potentially transition into a new role. Especially early on in this season, if Lacefield is going to dabble in a new role, it should be now. As it stands, this time is completely full of aggression.

The verdict on Evil Geniuses

There are two main problems in this roster as it stands. The number of SMGs is going to force some players into roles that they may not be comfortable in. The early stages of the competition are going to be key in developing these transitioning players into their new roles. Even so, the meta as it stands remains unclear, so Evil Geniuses will have to adapt fast. The second question is — who is going to be the vocal leader? It probably would have been wise for Evil Geniuses to grab a player like Ricky who can micromanage all these fast players. Either one of the veterans will need to step up, or a system of shared calling will have to form.

Despite these criticisms of the roster, it is clear that the potential star power is present. The supporting cast of veterans really only have to be consistent and do their job. Realistically speaking, if these two factors balance out, Evil Geniuses can be a dark horse in the scene.

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