Invictus Gaming wins coveted League of Legends Worlds title for China
For the first time ever, a Chinese team gets to raise the Summoner’s Cup. Invictus Gaming beat Fnatic 3-0 in the final, and when you add in the results of the Mid-Season Invitational and Rift Rivals, it's really been the LPL's year.
This was also the first time since 2013 that a region other than South Korea won the League of Legends competitive scene’s top honor.
Invictus Gaming’s team were incredibly decisive in the Finals, suffocating Fnatic’s solo laners at every turn, and racking up impressive kill streaks and gold leads. The European team was outplayed at almost every objective and team fight.
In the third and final game, IG was a comfortable five thousand gold ahead but FNC had just caught its breath after a hail mary Baron steal by the FNC jungler Broxah. That seemed to spark a bit of hope in the European team.
IG wasn’t taking any chances. The team was looking to end the game now while it still had the clear upper hand. IG flooded the FNC side of the map with wards, and began pushing down FNC’s bottom inhibitor turret when Broxah attempted to deter them.
But IG’s top laner TheShy quickly chunked down his health, forcing Broxah to back off. Then as the rest of FNC chased IG off their base, IG’s jungler Ning saw an opening and went for it. He Hookshot straight onto FNC’s backline.
The rest of IG didn’t miss a beat and piled on, quickly deleting three members of FNC. And that sealed the victory for IG.
With three members down, FNC’s Rekkles and Broxah were the only ones left trying to defend the nexus turrets against the entire enemy team.
It was an impossible task.
IG quickly hammered down the turrets and the nexus, then leapt out of their chairs in victory.
IG wasn’t supposed to be the first Chinese team to finally secure the League of Legends World Championship. Most analysts placed their bets on Mid-season Invitational champions, Royal Never Give Up.
But when RNG lost in a shocking upset against G2 Esports in the quarterfinals, all predictions for the winner of Worlds 2018 went out the window.
IG calmly moved their way through the tournament, knocking out South Korea’s favorites KT Rolster in the quarterfinals. And on Saturday, they stepped up at the Grand Finals.
There was a lot on the line for both teams. Fnatic was the first ever organization to win Worlds back in Season One and the only Western team to ever win the title.
Invictus Gaming is one of China’s oldest League of Legends esports organizations, even older than the League of Legends Pro League itself, but it’s never gotten an LPL title.
Now IG has won the biggest title of all.
During the first game it seemed like FNC lost the match partly due to its one-sided team comp. Their champions were all heavily physical damage based, allowing IG’s top laner TheShy to build armor and act as an impenetrable tank for the team.
But IG soon showed that first match wasn’t just a picks and bans victory. The team’s simply better at mechanics.
Throughout the three games, IG’s mechanical play was incredible to watch. IG’s jungler Ning in particular was key in setting up picks for his solo laners as well as locking down FNC’s threats during team fights.
During game two, Ning’s Gragas stole the Infernal Drake from right under FNC’s nose, then turned around and split up FNC’s members with an Explosive Cask, scoring another kill on FNC’s Bwipo for IG. Within 15 minutes he was already 3/0/1.
FNC tried their best to put up a fight. They swapped in sOAZ for Bwipo in game three, hoping the veteran player’s experience could help buff up Rekkles as a carry for the team. But FNC overstayed in enemy territory during a few trades and were soon behind again.
Broxah did his best to guard his solo laners, but it seemed that every time he was called away, his mid laner Caps would get camped. He did pulled off a Baron steal for FNC. But Broxah’s map presence was overshadowed by Ning all three games, and FNC’s solo laners weren’t able to get the picks they desperately needed.
Ning, along with his fellow Chinese teammate JackeyLove, were named Players of the Games. Ning was also crowned the Worlds Finals Most Valuable Player.
The recognition of the Chinese players’ skills follows the theme of League of Legends Season Eight. It wasn’t just IG’s Korean teammates TheShy and Rookie who carried the team, the Chinese players are finally coming into their own.
This was a showcase in the strength of the LPL. They’re the ones who finally took away every international title from the South Korean teams.
The five year reign of the LCK is over. The LPL are the new kings of League of Legends.