Image via ESPAT Media for Riot Games
Team Liquid, Cloud9, and reigning North American champions 100 Thieves. If LCS fans had to point to the split’s prime contenders these heavyweights would have been right at the top of the list. And, funnily enough, they were the last three teams Evil Geniuses had to go through on their way to the Spring title.
You couldn’t dream it better, Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme says.
“Yeah, we literally shit on everyone,” Vulcan said after he was asked in the 2022 LCS Spring Grand Finals press conference if he was happy with EG’s victory.
As he said, you couldn’t script it better. First, Evil Geniuses came up against Vulcan’s former team, C9, and swept them aside in a lopsided 3–0 victory. (Take note of that too, it’s a trend for these finals). Then, EG traveled to Houston to face Team Liquid’s “$10 million dollar roster.” And, you guessed it, 3–0 again.
And, finally, in front of a live League of Legends audience for the first time in years, and with more than 387,000 more fans watching on from home, EG put the ice on their cake with yet another sweep—this time over reigning champs 100 Thieves.
“I’m grateful. We shit on Cloud9 first, my old team and also a historically dominant team,” Vulcan said. “Then we beat TL, it was closer, but they’re historically super good. They have a $10m roster or something like that. Topping it off against 100 Thieves in the finals was very nice because they’ve been very cocky since they won last time.
“Especially Closer,” the EG support added. “For how bad he is, I think he needs to stop talking. I’m very glad all of us can finally not hear him. For a little bit, at least.”
The team’s April 24 victory in Houston marks the third consecutive Spring title for Vulcan. He lifted his first North American trophy in 2020 with Cloud9—but missed going to MSI because of COVID restrictions—and added to his tally 12 months later in a five-game blockbuster against Team Liquid.
Photo by Joosep Martinson via Getty Images
The 23-year-old left C9 at the start of the year to join EG’s domestic-focused roster. At the time, many claimed the swap was a downgrade for the Canadian star.
Not so, Vulcan has proved just six months later.
And while his two Spring titles with Cloud9 may have been sweet, COVID-19 put a real damper on the whole affair. His 2020 victory played out in C9’s training room in Los Angeles, away from the LCS world entirely. A year later, C9 won in front of thousands of empty seats at California’s Greek Theatre.
So when he was able to lift the 2022 trophy in front of a sea of fans chanting “Evil Geniuses” and “Live Evil,” the Canadian says it felt that much more special.
“Each trophy [I’ve won] produced progressively more dopamine,” he said. “Winning inside our house was pretty bad—it was kind of boring. Winning on-stage [at the Greek Theatre] was a bit cooler, but there was no fans, so it was kind of boring too.
“Today, we won with so many fans in the arena that were cheering for us. It felt like we were kind of the fan-favorites, everyone had our back. Today was amazing.”
Image via ESPAT Media for Riot Games
Now, for the second time in his career, Vulcan is preparing for an international League tournament: the Mid-Season Invitational, to be played in Busan next month.
There, Evil Geniuses will take on evergreen heavyweights like G2 Esports (drawn into the same group as the LCS champions), last year’s winners RNG, and a Faker-led T1 fresh off a historic 18–0 season. It’s a daunting challenge for any team, but one that Vulcan and his teammates are looking forward to more than anything.
It will be tough, Vulcan says, but EG are expecting that already.
“You just need to be ready to get stomped, and be ready to go again to learn as much as you can,” Vulcan said of EG’s upcoming League challenge. “We will learn.”