UPDATE: A previous version of this article was published before Gotcha's move to Team SoloMid was official.
With the Six Major Raleigh marking Evil Geniuses’ worst finish at an event or league since Season 5 of the Pro League, the team has decided to make a change and has dropped their coach, Aaron “Gotcha” Chung. Gotcha, though, has quickly found himself a new home on the upsurging Team SoloMid (TSM) roster who had been unofficially looking for a coach ever since Owen “Pojoman” Mitura had stepped back into a playing role to replace Tommy “Krusher” Samuel.
Gotcha previously had a very limited high-level R6 career, having played in just a single season of the Challenger League on Disrupt Gaming, as well as a season in the CCS League on OMEN Esports in Season 2. While a relatively new player, EG saw he had potential and picked him up just before the finale of Season 8.
From this point, however, their results saw a sharp dip. The team first inexplicably lost 0-2 to a Fnatic that had to have their greatly inexperienced coach substituting for their ill captain in the Season 8 Quarter-Finals. At the US Nationals 2018 Finals, Gotcha had to step back into a playing role briefly, filling in for Emilio “Geoometrics” Leynez Cuevas, who had been unavailable. Despite Evil Geniuses’ best efforts, though, they fell to a dominant Rogue in the Grand Final, but were overall happy with their play.
However, their international play would not get any better. Once again one of the favourites at the Six Invitational 2019 -- aside from G2 Esports and Team Empire -- they would clear the group stages with ease, but fall to domestic rivals Team Reciprocity in a loss they attributed to having spent an extraordinarily long day at the venue.
Despite letting slip the Season 9 Grand Final against Team Empire after winning the first map and having three match points on the second, their worst result to date was at the Six Major 2019 in Raleigh, where they finished outside the top eight. Evidently, this was the final straw for Evil Geniuses, as they have now dropped Gotcha after nearly a year with him as the coach.
At the same time, TSM have been looking great in the Best-of-Three format, having sliced through the Six Major Raleigh North American qualifier even as they sat (and continue to sit) second-to-last in the Pro League. After the team had beaten Luminosity Gaming in the Upper Final, Pojoman would then step in as a player to steer his team past Spacestation Gaming -- and go to the Six Major Raleigh in the same role, replacing Krusher.
There, TSM would be one of two North American teams to make it to the playoffs, having defeated NORA-Rengo and MIBR after losing to Team Empire in the group stage, though their run would be stopped by G2 Esports. Having played without a coach through the event, its qualifier, and one Pro League game, the team will be happy to have gained the services of Gotcha.
With Gotcha’s move, this makes Evil Geniuses the second North American roster without a coach alongside the Susquehanna Soniqs, who have recently begun looking for one. It is unclear if there will be a replacement for Gotcha announced by the time of DreamHack Montreal, though with a qualification spot to the Six Invitational 2020 on the line, Evil Geniuses will want someone behind the team come next weekend.
Team SoloMid, on the other hand, will also be eager to get the Six Invitational ticket, featuring in Group C opposite Evil Geniuses in Group B as we get our first look at these reshaped teams.
Keep up to date on this story and more upcoming roster changes here at SiegeGG and check out our Season 9 Finals interview with Necrox here, or our two interviews with Gotcha from before the 2019 Six Invitational here and before the 2019 Six Major here.
Banner image by Peter Chau.