The defending world champions made their debut on day two of Rift Rivals 2019. There, the squad closed the group stage with two decisive victories.
IG’s day started with a match against Flash Wolves from the LMS. The LPL representatives struggled early but made a strong comeback in the mid game by punishing Flash Wolves’ reckless aggression.
From there they headed into a tantalizing match with SK Telecom T1, who were tasked with defending the LCK’s perfect record to that point.
For the first time in the season, IG started their MSI roster. Song “Rookie” Eui-jin returned to action after a momentary absence due to family issues, Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok has been sharing the starting role with Lee “Duke” Ho-seong, and Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi has been benched in the LPL.
TheShy made his presence known in the top lane early. Laning against Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, he kept the pressure high and necessitated constant visits from jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min. The duo secured first blood but couldn’t achieve much more during the laning phase.
Rookie and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok went head to head in the early stages of the game. Though the matchup was competitive, losing the side lanes put extra pressure on the SKT star and forced him to give up his lane to help his teammates.
After taking over the lanes, IG began to invade SKT’s jungle and found a key pickoff on Clid. That trend continued for the rest of the game and left SKT with little space to work with
Powered up with the baron, IG pushed for two inhibitors but Khan stifled their momentum by taking out IG’s top lane inhibitor turret. Khan returned to his base and became the focus of IG’s aggression but Faker made a deep flank TP that yielded a triple kill and the elder dragon.
IG responded with a baron which put both teams in a do-or-die position. The game would come down to a final play around the second elder dragon. IG took the objective confidently and SKT decided to fight. Because IG had the advantage in positioning, Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo’s Kai’Sa destroyed the SKT lines to secure an ace and the win.
Though it was a strong showing from IG, the LPL finished the group stage with a 5-3 record. This puts IG and their fellow Chinese organizations into a semifinals matchup with the teams representing the LMS and VMS. The LCK seeded directly to the finals.