Invictus Gaming kick-started the group stage with an explosive four-game series against Korea’s #2 seed, Griffin. Despite IG being a #2 seed out of groups, they certainly looked like the IG that won Worlds 2018. Griffin, on the other hand, struggled to find their groove all series long. While they had their brilliant moments, it was clear that in a game of inches like League of Legends, the teams willing to toe the line get the upper hand.
In order to understand what transpired moments ago, let’s break down the events of each game.
Everyone knows Griffin isn’t your typical Korean team. They were the first to adapt to having mages in the bot lane in the LCK. Additionally, Viper plays mages as well as traditional marksmen. With that said, Griffin opened up the Knockout Stage with a Garen-Yuumi bot duo. They coupled that with Gnar and Poppy as their solo laners, adding to the unkillable nature of any Yuumi composition. To counter that, IG drafted Kog’Maw for JackeyLove and Lulu for Baolan. Since the Garen-Yuumi combo goes online in the late game, so does Kog’Maw-Lulu.
Griffin drafted a good composition as well as a solid game plan. All they had to do was become tanky enough as soon as possible. Well, the Kog’Maw doesn’t care about any of that. After Griffin’s early 2 for nil in the bot lane, Invictus Gaming scored an ace at the Rift Herald teamfight. Both teams went pretty much back and forth until the 30-minute mark. This is where the fatal flaw of Griffin’s composition became apparent: they have no dps to take Baron. The only way they can get it is via a huge teamfight that takes away IG’s ability to contest it. However, IG aren’t slouches in teamfights either. With Gragas, Qiyana and Lulu all having knockups, Yasuo can instantly cast ultimate and that constantly caused problems for Griffin.
To be honest, this game should’ve been over before 40 minutes. JackeyLove constantly got himself caught out and Griffin used Yuumi’s ultimate well throughout the game. At the 43-minute mark, Griffin burned all their abilities while defending but failed to get both dps carries of IG.
Invictus Gaming 1 – 0 Griffin
Okay, that didn’t work. IG definitely prepared well for the Garen-Yuumi strategy. Griffin changed things up and went for an early game-oriented bot lane with Xayah-Rakan. IG responded with pretty much the only viable pick against it with Kai’sa-Nautilus. Everything else went pretty much standard: Rookie on an assassin and TheShy as late-game carry insurance.
Invictus Gaming started off pretty shaky. By 20 minutes, they were down about 2k gold and 3 kills. A few minutes and a couple kill trades later, Griffin started Baron. Another crack in Griffin’s game plan started to unravel here. They started the Baron in full vision of IG, as well as all their members in close proximity. Okay, I get it. They wanted to start a fight. However, they looked like a solo queue team with how disjointed their team was. Rookie and TheShy got to within striking distance and allowed the deadly duo to rip Griffin’s backline apart. Ouch.
On top of their positioning, the Korean team’s top lane proved to be a massive black hole all series long. TheShy won lane in all matchups, including the ones he picked Kayle. While one player’s mistakes shouldn’t cause a witch-hunt, Sword’s inability to establish any sort of agency to help his team hurt them a lot. Moreover, his inability (or unwillingness?) to play tanks forced Chovy to do so in all four games of the series. IG constantly used TheShy’s dominance to create pressure in the side lanes and in teamfights, the Kai’sa repeatedly dove in on Griffin with Kayle ult with huge success. IG ended this one in 35 minutes.
Invictus Gaming 2 – 0 Griffin
This time, Griffin put Sword on Kayle. If he loses lane, he might as well do it on something that’s supposed to lose anyway. Chovy channeled his inner Doinb and picked Sion mid. This turned out to be a huge pick for Griffin in this particular game. On the flip side, IG drafted relatively similar to their previous ones. They’re comfortable in their play and they’re confident that their style will eventually slam Griffin to the ground.
True to my expectations, Griffin left Sword for dead in the top lane and forced every play and objective they could in the bottom half of the map. Kayle’s ultimate allowed Sword to be relevant despite being massively behind and Griffin managed to win a few fights. Using their superior teamfighting, they established vision control all over the map, allowing the Kayle to catch up bit by bit while starving IG of resources and opportunities. Forced to make a play somehow, IG bit the facecheck bullet and walked right into Griffin. However, TheShy’s insane mechanics allowed him to survive until reinforcements arrived. This usually signals a turnaround in the fight for IG. However, Viper flexed his own mechanical skill. He bobbed and weaved through the fight while constantly pumping out damage. When the dust settled, he scored the first Pentakill of the Knockout Stage.
Off that fight, Griffin took Baron and sieged IG’s base. Through slow, methodical pushes, they finally made this one a series at around 36 minutes.
Invictus Gaming 2 – 1 Griffin
From the moment I saw the Kayle pick for IG, I called gg. Seriously, how could Griffin allow TheShy to take this broken champion? After Game 2, that’s supposed to be your priority ban, along with Vladimir and Jayce. IG won this game and the series from the draft alone. To add insult to injury, Tarzan fell back onto an unreliable Karthus jungle, which required his lanes to have priority. Well, Sword isn’t going to have any of that this game.
It’s truly a marvel to watch TheShy turn a supposedly weak early-game champion into a walking police baton with how he brutalized Sword in lane. On a Jayce, no less. With the game essentially a 4v5 (Jayce is a cannon minion when behind), the defending champions comfortably won every teamfight in the game. On top of a Kai’sa delivery system for the Kayle ultimate, they even had an Aatrox diving in from the front line. With an 8/0/5 scoreline for TheShy, Invictus Gaming advanced to the Semifinals after ending the game at around 25 minutes. GG.
Invictus Gaming 3 – 1 Griffin
Winner: Invictus Gaming
Invictus Gaming will await the winner of the next series: FunPlus Phoenix vs Fnatic.
#Worlds2019 knockout stage
We have managed to take down worthy opponent Griffin with 3:1 and advance to semifinals!!
Our journey continues and we will keep on fighting!💪
Thanks again for the everyone’s support! ❤️
— Invictus Gaming (@invgaming) October 26, 2019