Following Evil Geniuses’ historic win at the Call of Duty World Championships last weekend, I caught up with coach Bevils to discuss the tournament, how the odds turned in their favour and what the future holds for him and the team.
First off, congratulations! How does it feel to have helped lead Evil Geniuses to winning the Call of Duty World Championship?
It’s a great feeling. Knowing the amount of work that went into our preparation for this tournament and coming out and getting the result we were dreaming of is still a bit surreal honestly.
The team put their heart and soul into this tournament and I think it really showed.
The team had a fairly sub-standard few weeks leading up to Champs – what changed between Stage 2 of the Pro League and Champs that changed EG’s game so much?
I think the biggest factor in our decline is mainly attributed to our Search and Destroy. When I first joined EG right before Seattle, we sort of reinvented S&D I think.
We came into that tournament with a look nobody had seen before and the mode was definitely a strong suit for us as a team. Coming back into Anaheim and the second leg of Stage 2, we didn’t feel the need to reinvent ourselves in S&D because we were so strong in the mode prior.
Other pro teams definitely caught on to our style and started to implement that style into their own game, almost making our innovations meta. That’s how I feel at least, maybe some would disagree.
We really fell off in that regard and S&D became a huge hindrance to us. Our respawn stayed pretty consistent for the most part but when you aren’t able to win Search and Destroys, series’ become very hard.
Coming into our bootcamp before CoD Champs, we put a ton of emphasis into S&D in particular and we were able to get back to a good place. I think that was definitely the biggest contributor to our up and down performance over the past few months.
Search and Destroy was obviously a huge factor in your Champs win – after a period of losing about 10 consecutive S&Ds after CWL Seattle, what types of strategies did you develop that made such a big turnaround?
When I’m creating strategies for S&D, I pull a lot of inspiration from CS:GO. You see my team doing certain things that other pro teams don’t really do.
I built a system for my team revolving around site executes with set smoke grenades, spreading the map for early map control and then going into a strategy once map control is taken, and fakes (which are severely underused in CoD, in my opinion).
You can see me break down some of our CoD Champs S&D maps on my YouTube channel – the first episode is already uploaded so check that out if it’s something you’re interested in.
Aches has been suffering a lot in recent years, unable to reach the success he saw earlier in his career in games such as Black Ops 2 and Ghosts. What was his confidence like going into the tournament? Did he believe the team was going to win it?
Aches is always confident and even if he wasn’t, he’d never let anyone know. I think WWII suits him and his playstyle much better than the previous advanced movement games.
The team’s general sentiment going into the tournament was that if we can get our S&D back on track, we can win the entire tournament and that is what we did.
Conversely, Apathy was going in to the tournament having reached two consecutive Champs grand finals – was he seen as the key to reaching that stage of the tournament? After a very successful couple of years, it must have been a huge confidence boost to everyone to have him on-board?
Apathy is a player I think we sometimes lived and died by. He has the skill to single handedly take over a series but every so often he won’t have such a great performance. When he is hot though, we could beat any team.
He’s an insanely gifted player and it’s no coincidence he’s been in the grand finals for three consecutive CoD Champs. He is the embodiment of a professional.
The entire team was putting in insane hours of practice during our bootcamp at the Xfinity Training Facility, but somehow Apathy still managed to out-grind everyone by staying on till 5am most days after our scrims to put in even more time in ranked play and public matches.
I think his dedication really showed this tournament.
Silly and Assault are a little newer to the upper echelons of Call of Duty esports – especially Assault, who picked up his first tournament win at Champs. Did you have to do much to help them whether it be mentally, physically, in-game or out, to keep them prepared? In particular when approaching the later stages of the tournament and the grand final?
I wouldn’t say Assault or Silly needed much help in those regards. They are both insanely talented and mentally strong players.
My role in the team mainly consisted of structuring a system in Search and Destroy to give the whole team the best chance of succeeding as well as watching VOD and making sure they were as prepared as possible going into every series.
All my teammates are veterans in their own rights so they don’t need much help mentally as a younger newcomer to the scene might.
I think their mental toughness really showed in the grand finals second best of five after being the victims of a reverse sweep the series prior. That’s a hard thing to bounce back from, especially on the biggest stage, and they passed that test with flying colours.
Going in to the grand final, you played the same maps as in the winner’s final – in which you beat tK 3-1. Were you surprised that they allowed the same maps through? Were you at all tempted to change up your vetoes?
I wasn’t surprised at all that tK decided to basically re-run the same maps from winner’s finals, it was expected. The way tK decided to go about vetoes this year was to basically have a set veto for every game mode.
I think this helped us out a ton in our matchup versus them because we were able to manipulate that in the veto stages and get the exact maps we wanted.
Can you talk to us about the first series of the grand final? After taking the 2-0 lead it looked set for an early finish, but the reverse sweep looked like it could have killed off the team’s hopes of actually winning the big one. How does this loss happen, and how do you regain composure after it goes down?
I think we might have gotten a bit too caught up in the moment. We came out in maps three and four looking like a completely different team. Everything felt flat.
Our teamwork was off, gunfights were being lost that shouldn’t have, and we really let them control the pace of those maps which you can’t afford to do versus a team as explosive as tK.
Game five was close fought and could’ve gone either way, but they ultimately edged us out in the end. After that series we all took a breather, addressed what went wrong in the later half of the previous series, and made sure we went into the next one with a clear head.
I think our previous grand finals in Seattle where we lost two best of fives versus Rise Nation was looming in the back of everyone’s minds.
I knew there was no chance they were going to let that happen again and they went into the second best of five and took it in somewhat dominant fashion.
As a former player yourself, is there any jealousy watching your team do what every CoD player dreams of?
I wouldn’t say it was a feeling of jealousy. Bittersweet is probably how I would put it. Everyone wants to be a player on that stage, it’s why we all do what we do.
That wasn’t my job in this tournament though. Playing a part in such a historic win is still a great feeling.
Finally, what are your expectations for Black Ops 4? Are there any temptations to get back on the sticks and give it another go, or are you going to be coaching EG to even more championships?
I have very high expectations for Black Ops 4. I’m going to come into the year and give it my all whatever role I’m serving. The temptation to play definitely still looms in my mind. I think I prematurely stepped down from playing.
It’s a very odd situation, ‘retiring’ midway through my rookie season and going on to coach the World Champions. I haven’t quite made up my mind on what my plans are for the Black Ops 4 season.
But you will most likely see me behind the Evil Geniuses team looking for more championships.
Make sure to watch GINX Esports TV’s Call of Duty World Championship recap video to see exactly how the entire event unfolded.