By: James Mattone
The 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship, Presented by PlayStation 4, ended with Evil Geniuses turning near-elimination in Pool Play to championship glory, defeating Team Kaliber in Grand Final.
We caught up with our champions — MVP Adam “Assault” Garcia, Patrick “ACHES” Price, Bryan "Apathy" Zhelyazkov, Justin “SilLY” Fargo and coach Embry “Bevils” Bevil — after their win to talk about their journey to Columbus, how much their coach played a role in their success, and what they did to stay composed after suffering two potentially weekend changing losses:
This team made a massive overhaul after Stage 1 of the CWL Pro League to be the team that it is today. SiLLY and Assault, how did you two end up on EG?
Assault: During that Rostermania period, I wasn’t even sure that I would get on this team, because they were also looking into getting Dashy (Brandon “Dashy” Otell, who played for compLexity at Champs). I’m sure a lot of fans and media didn’t know that. EG didn’t want to buy him out and I was free with the trade, so they just went with me.
SiLLY: Honestly, I got dropped from my old team because I was terrible. During my free agency, I had to find another team to get on. I knew Pat (ACHES), and I specifically requested that I join with Adam (Assault) because we’re really good friends outside of the game.
And ACHES, from your perspective, how did you help rebuild the Geniuses’ roster?
ACHES: After a lack of performance on our old EG roster, we knew a change had to me made. Me and Bryan knew at the time that we were the two most talented players on the team that performed consistently. I wanted to stick with him, and we evaluated a ton of options.
At the end of the day, we picked up Justin (SiLLY), who was an absolute beast on eUnited — he got dropped for the wrong reasons in my opinion — and Adam who was coming off an Echo Fox role disaster. I’ve teamed with Adam in the past, and going into this season, I would have liked to continue teaming with him. So, I think it was a mistake I made early on and it all worked out.
Bevils, you were also picked up during that time. As Evil Geniuses’ coach, what did you do to help this team turn around their Search game from the moment you joined them?
Bevils: They all have more veteran experience in respawn game modes, and when I announced that I wanted to coach a team, I said I would bring in S&D expertise and help with map vetoes. I was really honing in on their scrimmages for S&D, and made sure that I came up with new strategies that no other team had seen.
That’s how we had a good Seattle — and beyond then obviously — because we were hitting teams with strategies they have never seen.
SiLLY: Bevils was the bread and butter for S&D strategy. We literally killed everyone in S&D to begin with and then other teams started using our strats. If we didn’t have those strats, we would not have won this weekend or even got close, because S&D was hindering us, and he helped us fix it during our boot camp.
Fast forwarding to Champs, you guys had a close call in the group stage where you were almost eliminated due to your loss to Elevate. What pushed you guys out of Group H and into play at Nationwide Arena?
Assault: What pushed us was Apathy’s play against OpTic. He destroyed them after playing bad against Elevate. I won’t let him slide for that. It was also huge momentum for us going into bracket play, and I think that’s what propelled us to win the event.
In bracket play, you guys were nearly beaten by Team EnVyUs and also lost the first Grand Finals series to Team Kaliber. How were you all able to stay composed through those tough matches to ultimately win Champs?
Apathy: We’re just experienced; we don’t let losses affect us. It does a bit, but at the end of the day, you have to keep your head on straight. You are going to have those close matches at Champs. You’re never going to easily sweep the whole tournament. It’s where the best teams are and when they are most prepared.
Assault: After the Team Kaliber loss, we had a team talk and knew we stopped playing as a team. We lost our intensity after the second map thinking the series was already over and it wasn’t. We then went up 2-0 in the second series and said, “Alright, treat this map like it’s do-or-die.”
That’s what we ended up doing; we kept our intensity high and pretty much smoked them on that map.
Assault, what do you credit winning the CWL Champs MVP award to?
Assault: I credit it to the time I put into the game. Before this tournament, I played more than any other player, including anyone on my team. The only other player that out-practiced me was probably aBeZy (Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris who played with Enigma6 Group).
I pride myself in always playing good at Champs; if you look at my past events, Champs have always been up there at the top of my list.
Now for the obvious question: how does it feel to be a world champion?
SiLLY: It feels phenomenal to win my first ring, especially being an underdog at this event. This is basically everyone’s goal every year: it’s to win the big one, and I finally did.
ACHES: For me, it’s more about winning my second ring. It’s my first championship since the beginning of 2014, so it’s been a big climb back to the top. It’s been four years coming, and nothing beats defying all odds, being the underdog and getting it done.
Assault: I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I’m sure in a few days from now, it definitely will.
And Bevils, how proud are you of being a championship winning coach?
Bevils: I’m so happy for the four of them and it feels great to play a role in that. I’m just really happy for them.