The biggest match of the 2018 LPL Summer Split didn’t involve RNG, EDG, or even Team WE—the most storied names in the region’s history. This year, it’s the underclass of teams including Invictus Gaming, Rogue Warriors, and JD Gaming, who have surged to the top.
With cross-conference play about to end, we had just one opportunity to see IG and Rogue Warriors face off before playoffs. With 11 wins apiece heading into the match, they’re the undisputed best teams, leading their respective conferences by a comfortable margin.
But they still had to settle the question of which conference was best. And after three rousing games, it was IG who stood alone as victors.
The whole split, IG have focused on the mid-jungle synergy between star mid laner Song “Rookie” Eu-jin and Gao Zhen-Ning. They continued to press that advantage against Rogue Warriors. There were a couple times that Ning went too deep on Kindred in game one—but more often than not, the rest of IG had his back as he turned the Rogue Warriors jungle into his personal playground.
It helped that IG had total control of both solo lanes. Eventually, the Kindred and Rookie’s Orianna became too fed for Rogue Warriors to deal with.
Heading into game two, Rogue Warriors knew they needed to shut down Ning, and they got a great start thanks to some clever pathing. Ning certainly didn’t expect to see a Camille come from behind him while clearing the Rift Scuttler.
One kill was all Rogue Warriors needed to seize tempo of the game and they easily evened the series. But in the decisive third game, Ning got off to another fantastic start, picking up first blood on a level three gank to the bot lane and then teaming up with Rookie for more mid lane fun.
Rogue jungler Sung “Flawless” Yeon-jun just couldn’t keep up with Ning’s pressure and IG consistently found the skirmishes that they love.
It was a impressive victory from the side of IG, but it wasn’t without things to critique. Their vision control is solid, but sometimes they like to fight in pockets of darkness. Ning can get a little too bloodthirsty at times, too.
It’s hard to argue with their results so far, but if they want to take the next step and win playoffs, IG have to reach an even higher level.