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Evil Geniuses’ sweep of Counter Logic Gaming out of the 2023 League Championship Series Spring Playoffs last weekend was the strongest EG has looked all year long. The reigning LCS Spring champions stumbled into the post-season as the 5th seed after a split characterized by shaky mid-game decisions and poor side lane coordination, but in the post-season, EG has kicked it up a notch.

Crucially, mid laner Joseph “jojopyun” Pyun has righted the ship after starting the sophomore season in a relative slump. In 2022, jojopyun had one of the most impressive rookie campaigns in LCS history. In the 2023 LCS Spring Split, however, there were multiple times in EG’s matches he was caught out in a side lane without protection from his team, which would often result in a delayed win from EG, or at times, an advantage thrown right out the window.

It wasn’t like jojo was sapped by some skill vampire: his laning stats were, like last year, among the best in the league amongst mid laners, but he led the entire LCS in deaths with 68 in 17 games.

“I was just limit testing more in the earlier weeks, and I guess I was underestimating my opponents because I was dying too much,” jojopyun explained after besting CLG last Sunday. “Obviously, you can’t do that in playoffs, so that’s why I’m playing better. The team just got better from playing together longer, so we’re just trying to keep building on the chemistry we started building earlier in the season.”

To jojo’s credit, he looked like he had turned a corner in week 6, and his immaculate performance earned him Player of the Week honors. However, the young mid laner was struck with COVID-19 and was forced to play remotely for week 7, which affected his performance and his ability to synergize with his teammates. EG Academy mid laner Tommy “ry0ma” Le was subbed in for the second game of week 7, and in week 8, jojo was feeling better, but other members of the team also getting sick resulted in the team playing remotely for the last week of the Spring Split.

While it may not have been a perspective shared by many LCS fans, jojopyun said that it was obvious to EG that they would be able to sweep CLG, and not just because they’re all healthy and back on stage again.

“I think everyone is taking everything more seriously now that we’re in Playoffs,” the EG mid laner admitted. “This is our one chance – we lose, or go home – so everyone’s been trying their hardest in scrims, and obviously, playing on stage again helps us a lot. I think most of us are stage players. We want to be able to see each other and the crowd and everything.”

EG jojopyun

EG jojopyun

In 2022, jojopyun was second to no other LCS mid laner when it came to utilizing the map t o help his teammates carry games, but before the start of the LCS Spring Split, jojopyun expressed a desire to work on being able to carry games on his own. While his limit testing in the Spring Split led to many a death, jojopyun was clear that he doesn’t think working on being more of a carry was part of that trend. “I was just playing badly, especially when I got COVID. I was playing really badly when I had to play from home, and earlier in this split, I had a lot of bad moments.”

Per Oracle’s Elixir, EG had the third highest Gold Differential at 15 Minutes (838) behind Team Liquid (902) and Cloud9 (919). However, their strong early game was often squandered by jojopyun’s mid-game blunders and uncharacteristically disjointed teamfighting from a group of players known to thrive in that area of the game. EG held the longest average game time of any team in the LCS Spring Split due to their shaky mid-game, but now, it looks like the team has accessed a new level of play not present in the regular season.

“Now that everyone is done dealing with COVID and no longer sick, we’ve been playing really well together,” said jojopyun. “In scrims, we’ve been playing some of the best games we’ve played, so I’d say that we were really confident going into today. We’re for sure going to make it to the finals with how we’re playing.”

Evil Geniuses takes on Golden Guardians on Friday, March 31 at 2:00pm PT to see who will join Cloud9 and FlyQuest in Raleigh, NC for the final weekend of the LCS Spring Playoffs.