Nobody can stop Invictus Gaming right now. Sure, you might hit them. You might even be able to make them bleed. But when they pile into the jungle as a five-man unit, bad things happen for their opponents.
The one team that we thought might be able to at least slow them down at MSI 2019 was G2 Esports. The all-star LEC squad was the one team best equipped to play at IG’s pace. Add in G2’s flair for unconventional drafts and their familiarity with their Chinese foes, and it seemed like they could hope to find some footing.
Consider that hope extinguished for now. IG just rolled over G2 in a 47-kill bloodbath and once again asserted their dominance over this tournament. And it wasn’t even that bad a game from G2—they scored 18 of those kills, after all. But in fight after fight, IG just proved that they’re better.
The game took a departure from the last time these two played. Instead of a focus on the top lane, G2 went to the bot side and narrowly missed out on a kill on IG support Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi. IG turned that around for first blood and an ominous start to the game.
Still G2 weren’t out of it. Mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther survived the lane phase against Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, and in the top lane, IG’s Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok was resigned just to scale on Viktor. G2 had opportunities to press their bot side advantage.
They just couldn’t do enough. Every time they made something happen, IG turned around and did them one better. Skirmish after skirmish in the jungle went to the side of the LPL representatives. The most concerning thing, though, was that all those battles seemed to happen on the G2 side of the map. After the laning phase ended, G2 really only had lane control in a couple instances.
One of those instances was a chance that could have decided the game. G2 gambled by sending the entire team to camp TheShy in the bot lane. With no Baron up, they had a brief window to catch IG. They killed TheShy and took the bot lane inhibitor.
But then they stayed to try to take down the Nexus and IG pounced. G2 couldn’t stand up to their champions and items, not even in a five-vs-four situation. IG cleaned up, grabbed the Baron that was just spawning, and ended the game.
This was perhaps an even more demoralizing loss than G2’s last defeats against IG. It’s now five-straight times they’ve gone down in this matchup, dating back to when IG swept G2 in the semifinals of Worlds last year. Maybe that’s enough evidence for G2 to really doubt if they’re good enough.
Even their last loss at MSI had some silver linings. G2 played an unconventional draft and Caps was unable to stand up to Rookie. This time, they played more standard and Caps had a great start—and it didn’t matter in the slightest.
That can gnaw at a team and influence them in a potential five-game series vs. IG in the knockout round. On paper, IG just beat G2, but they also might just have won the entire tournament.