Steven R. November 11, 2019
Invictus Gaming is the champion of the Dota Summit 11 minor. The Chinese squad takes home the $72,000 top prize and more importantly earns the final spot in the MDL Chengdu Major.
They closed out the tournament by taking a dominant 3-0 victory over Chaos Esports Club.
Right at the start of game one, Invictus Gaming looked ready to sprint to the finish line. Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi was all over the map during the early game, setting up kills with his Mirana in every lane. This put iG in a great position during the mid game, and the game never advanced past that point.
Invictus Gaming continued to stalk their way around the map and score kills. When they had the lanes pushed in and enough physical attack damage, they rolled up to high ground and scored the victory in just 23 minutes.
Game two was initially shaping up to be more competitive as both teams traded kills during the laning stage, but the momentum swung hard into iG’s favor as Zhou "Emo" Yi scored a triple kill as Tiny off a wild tower dive. That play narrowed the gap between Emo and Chaos carry Yawar "YawaR" Hassan, who was sitting comfortably atop the net worth chart during the early game.
With that lead gone, iG’s highly scalable lineup fully took control. Emo’s Tiny only got bigger with time while Chaos had no way to bottle up Jin "flyfly"' Zhiyi on Anti-Mage. Chaos had no way to take Invictus Gaming out of the driver’s seat, allowing them to advance to match point with another decisive win.
Chaos tried to deal with the scaling issues from game two by putting offlaner Jonáš "SabeRLight-" Volek on Legion Commander, a hero that theoretically is able to scale infinitely. The trouble is that this scaling relies on winning duels, something SabeRLight- struggled mightily with at all stages of the game.
Though Quinn "CCnC" Callahan managed to keep Chaos in the game despite an overwhelming net worth deficit, the team was never able to push the lanes over the river for any length of time. Eventually, the team ran out of buybacks and CCnC was killed, allowing iG to take the win and close out the series 3-0.
Invictus Gaming’s chances are strong at MDL Chengdu Major
Invictus Gaming has been up and down throughout its entire Dota 2 history, but 2019 was arguably its worst year ever. The organization failed to qualify for all 10 Dota Pro Circuit events and found little success elsewhere. The only prominent event it qualified for was MDL Macau 2019, where it finished in last place.
IG failed to earn a spot in The International 2019 through the Chinese regional qualifiers, but did find some success in online tournaments after adding flyfly. The team won FVBET Asian Masters League and the ZBT Invitational, and looked competitive against teams that did qualify for TI9.
That late success seemingly inspired the organization to retain most of its roster, though it did make a splashy free agent signing by adding longtime Newbee captain Kaka following the departure of Gao "dogf1ghts" Tianpeng. That small tweak may have been all the team needed to become a serious competitor.
During Dota Summit 11, Invictus Gaming had the look of a potentially elite team. Though their opponents were largely unproven, the dominance shown in the finals opposite Chaos Esports Club suggest the team could be poised for big things.
The team will have the opportunity to prove itself further at the MDL Chengdu Major. The Chinese team will be competing on home soil and will take on the likes of Evil Geniuses, Vici Gaming, and Fnatic.
Invictus Gaming isn’t fully proven quite yet, but the team could be positioned to make a deep run in the MDL Chengdu Major. That alone could be enough to earn them for a spot at The International 2020.