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Photo by Stephanie Lindgren via ESL Gaming

Evil Geniuses rally from slow start against IHC to take opening map of IEM Rio Major run

All part of the master plan.

Just as Evil Geniuses appeared to be in trouble against IHC Esports today, the rapidly resurging North American CS:GO roster rallied in their opening match of the IEM Rio Challengers Stage, securing the first win of the event for NA.

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The match itself got off to a slow start following a brief technical pause, and EG’s run at Rio got off to a slow start after IHC erupted on their Nuke T-side. The top seed out of the Asian qualifier and the best team out of Mongolia, IHC took control of the map round after round with EG unable to answer, leading to an early 7-0 lead. EG finally composed themselves after a timeout, rallying back with eight straight rounds to close the distance and even take the lead going into the second half.

IHC won a much-needed pistol round on their CT side that halted the EG momentum but only for a moment since an audacious force-buy put EG right back in the lead. EG showed the same precision that IHC had shown on their T-side, increasing their lead slowly and methodically as IHC crumbled on their CT side. EG responded to a 7-0 deficit with a stunning 16-2 run to end up taking Nuke rather decisively 16-9. EG’s two newest additions in HexT and neaLaN were exceptional in their Major debut, with CeRq delivering on the AWP yet again.

This mix of new and old EG talent continues to impress. The team went 3-0 at the American RMR event and came just one series against Liquid away from qualifying directly for the Legends Stage. For the relatively new squad, it might be considered a blessing that they got to knock the rust off on the secondary stage instead of in front of an absolutely raucous day one Rio crowd.

EG advance to the 1-0 stage, while IHC fall down into the 0-1 pool.

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Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.