If the first day of the Mid-Season Invitational showed us the best of what modern League of Legends has to offer, the second day of the tournament showcased some truly terrifying sights. While most international tournaments have clear-cut favorites and top-tier competitors, MSI 2019 is looking more and more like a one-team race with each passing game as Invictus Gaming continues to horrifically tear apart each opponent they come face to face with. If anything, it feels as if this year’s MSI could end up turning into a race for second place, as it truly looks like no one can stand up to the prowess of IG.
So far, Invictus has crossed off Team Liquid, G2 Esports, SK Telecom, and Phong Vũ Buffalo, earning wins against some of the best teams from across the globe. However, it’s not just the mark in the win column that makes these victories impressive, it’s the matter in which Invictus has won that makes the start of this MSI run historically unparalleled.
And it’s not like IG has played against pushover squads up to this point. G2 and TL, teams who are sporting what could possibly be two of the best rosters in Western history, were convincingly taken care of by Invictus in games that only lasted 28 and 33 minutes, respectively.
The manner in which IG beat SKT was perhaps the most devastating, destructive beatdown in the history of international League of Legends, as Invictus took down the greatest franchise in the history of the game in a 16 minute embarrassment – the fastest ever in international play.
Ironically enough, the team to challenge IG the hardest thus far has been the 0-4 Phong Vũ Buffalo, who racked up 22 kills against the Chinese champions, while only managing to lose by 5k gold. For reference, every other team has lost to IG by at least 12.5k.
Moving forward, it’s clear that this is IG’s tournament to lose. The team has already established itself in a tier miles ahead of every other competitor at the event, proving that it would take a massive miracle for any one of them to step up to the plate and crack the shell of the Chinese titans.
In years past, we’ve always been able to count on Korea to cut China down to size, as teams like SKT, Rox Tigers, and Samsung Galaxy have always historically beat up on IG, RNG, and Team WE, among others. Last year, Korea put its faith in KingZone DragonX, a team which, heading into the event, was touted for having the “greatest roster ever assembled”. That team was quickly brought back down to Earth by RNG, who won China’s first international event since Edward Gaming took the MSI 2015 crown.
This year, perhaps the roles could be swapped and SKT could act as a Korean underdog for the first time in the history of modern professional LoL. With IG already emerging as heavy favorites to take the tourney, there’s a chance that Korea could be the giantslayer as opposed to the giant for the first time in a long time. However, if a 16 minute slaughter is any indication, perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere for a glimmer of hope.
With three days of play left in the Group Stage, an entirely refreshed round robin around the corner, and a bracket stage on the horizon, there’s still a lot of League left to play. Still, if it’s going to be played at this rate and pace, that glimmer of hope might fade entirely. All there would be left to do is to sit back and enjoy the showcase of utter dominance that Invictus Gaming is putting on.
Photo Credit: Lolesports, Invictus Gaming, Riot Games