LCK suffers first loss at Rift Rivals with Invictus Gaming taking down SKT

Korea has looked unstoppable at Rift Rivals, but the reigning world champions had something to say about that.

Photo via Riot Games

Invictus Gaming triumphed over SK Telecom T1 at Rift Rivals Asia today to hand the LCK its first loss at the tournament. 

A questionable Camille pick by SKT late in the draft gave the early game over to Invictus Gaming, who were able to abuse Kim “Khan” Dong-ha in the top lane. Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning’s Sylas found his way to the top side multiple times, locking down the helpless Camille, with Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok swinging in to clean up the kills.

Kim “Clid” Tae-min didn’t let this pressure go unanswered, though, taking down Rift Herald and the first three dragons of the game for SKT. But whenever it came down to a fight, Invictus just ran over SKT. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong could never find his way into a fight to dish out the damage on Kalista, and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong’s Nautilus was caught out too deep in many fights.

The gold lead spiralled to 11,000 by 32 minutes, thanks to Invictus securing Baron and a couple of SKT inhibitors. But Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok made a hero play on Azir to keep SKT in the game. After picking off TheShy, who was splitpushing in the bot lane, he teleported behind the rest of Invictus in the top lane, completing the ace with a triple kill.

With the game turned up a notch, Invictus tightened up their play to secure the win as cleanly as possible from there. While they gave up the Elder Dragon, they were able to take down SKT’s respawned inhibitors, putting the pressure back on the Koreans. As SKT were forced to waste their Elder defending the base, Invictus spent the next six minutes setting up to force a fight at the second Elder. 

SKT had no option but to try and get the second Elder to have a chance at winning the game, but the fight was on Invictus’ terms. Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo secured the Elder for Invictus after Clid missed his smite, and then the defending world champs shredded the rest of SKT to pieces. 

It took 42 minutes for SKT’s Nexus to explode in the back-and-forth affair, but Invictus looked a level above the struggling Koreans. As the rest of SKT collapsed around him, Faker was faced with another mountain to climb against Invictus, much like most of 2018.

For Invictus, however, this marks a return to the glory days of late last year. Being the only LPL team to escape with a clean 2-0 record, they bear the hopes of China at Rift Rivals to take the title back home for the third time. If Invictus can fire on all cylinders, the LPL has a good chance of doing just that.

The LPL will face off against the LMS and VCS representatives, who didn’t find a win in the group stage, in the knockouts tomorrow.