Invictus Gaming and Team Secret will square off at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco later today to round out Red Bull Battle Grounds’ unique and compelling competitive foray into Valve’s MOBA. With International invites already extended to both teams, neither looks to use the opportunity to make their case to the committee—but that’s unlikely to temper an early look into August’s multi-million-dollar stakes.
Europe’s undisputed king and China’s resurgent mainstay entered the event early favorites, particularly considering Battle Grounds’ unique format. Five teams qualified for the LAN playoff in Santa Monica, Calif. where each one selected an opponent for a best-of-one showdown. Losing teams surrendered one “life” until three teams saw their three available lives extinguished.
Team Secret and Invictus Gaming escaped the group stage unscathed ahead of the final showdown in San Francisco. The result represents some redemption for Team Secret, which saw its form fall in Katowice, finishing tied for dead last at the Starladder Season 12 LAN finals.
For Invictus Gaming, qualifying for the final represents yet another step forward for a resurgent former champion. The Chinese powerhouse famously coaxed legendary carry player Xu “Burning” Zhilei out of retirement in March before finding its form just weeks after the move.
Both sides enter the showdown with high expectations. For Team Secret, the San Francisco final is another chance to prove its mettle against top-level opposition. For Invictus Gaming, it’s a chance to assert China’s dominance on an international stage after a rocky early-2015 for Eastern sides.
Image courtesy of Red Bull Media House