Evil Geniuses have been a household name in the world of esports, and their North American squad has a habit of winning. They head into Hollywood for the Halo World Championship 2016 with their eyes set on first place as they face off against the best 15 Halo teams from five regions around the world, and a chance to add yet another title to their legacy. We were able to sit down with the most recent addition to the team, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, just before the biggest tournament of his life. Here's what he had to say.
ESL: Alright Commonly, we've seen two versions of EG this year. We saw the EG in the grand finals of the X Games, which you played out of your mind in, and we've seen the EG that got swept by CLG at HaloWC Tour: Columbus. What gives?
Commonly: The EG before X Games had something to prove. We had to prove that we were still a top tier team even after Lethul had left. After X Games, I feel like we became a bit complacent, while CLG had the burning passion to beat us. We still scrimmed, but we did not analyze as much as we could have in the games that we lost. I still feel like we were the second best team at Columbus though. For Worlds, we are spending much more time scrimming and analyzing those scrims. We are working harder than we ever have.
ESL: Speaking of preparation, is there anything you can share with us that you've identified as the reason for your placing at Columbus?
Commonly: We were not all trying as hard as we could have. That’s basically it. We were not taking practice as serious as we could have.
ESL: What does your practice schedule looked like heading into Worlds? Is EG planning on bootcamping?
Commonly: We are going to be practicing over 6-8 hours a day. We are going to try and use this practice to improve us as much as possible before worlds.
ESL: Commonly, what are your thoughts on how the group draw turned out? Anyone you feel like you match up really well against?
Commonly: I think we have the potential to beat any team, some teams more than others. We have consistently beat every team in scrims besides CLG so we are not that worried about our group, though Renegades will be a tough team to beat.
ESL: I would love to get your thoughts on the foreign teams playing at the Halo World Championship 2016. Anyone you expect a big weekend from?
Commonly: I think Infused and Epsilon both have a chance of getting out of their groups.
ESL: The EG/CLG rivalry is well publicized. We've heard Snip3down's side, and we've heard Lethul's side. What about your side? What is the rivalry like for someone that recently joined the fray?
Commonly: I don’t really have a rivalry with CLG; I was kinda just brought into it. But, I know my teammates really never want to lose to CLG again, so I will try my best to make sure we beat them next time.
ESL: Do you think the community makes a bigger deal of it than it really is?
Commonly: I think it is somewhat justified considering CLG lost to EG for a whole year, then Lethul leaves and goes to the team that he beat five events in a row.
ESL: Can you tell me a bit about your coach Towey and how he makes you guys better as a unit?
Commonly: Yeah, he keeps us in check at all times. When the game starts getting hectic, he tells us to slow things down and to coordinate pushes. He's great and is definitely going to be a key part to our success.
ESL: Alright, we've reached the lightning round. You ready?
ESL: Top three predictions?
Commonly: Us, CLG, Team Allegiance.
ESL: Bold prediction for the weekend?
Commonly: Renegades will get upset by Infused.
ESL: Which of your teammates is most likely to shoot a Puckett Rocket?
ESL: Thanks so much for your time, Commonly. Any shoutouts or partings words before you go?
Commonly: Shout out to EG, my sponsors, my teammates, and to my friends that are supporting me.
ESL: Thanks again, and best of luck to you this weekend.
Can Evil Geniuses get back to their winning ways under the bright lights of the Halo World Championship 2016? Learn more about EG on their team profile and you can catch all the #HaloWC action starting this Friday, March 18. Be sure to tune in, and follow along on Twitter and Facebook!