Invictus Gaming will defend its title at the 2019 World Championship. The defending champion took down Top Esports in the second round of the LPL regional gauntlet and secured the final spot at Worlds.
Invictus is heading to Europe as China’s third seed. Due to the LPL’s recent success, Invictus will seed directly to the main event instead of going through the play-in stage.
It has been a rocky road to Worlds for Invictus. The team barely qualified for the LPL summer playoffs only to be knocked off in the first round by LNG Esports. Invictus started the regional gauntlet in round one where they faced JD Gaming.
Invictus won the five-game series with a questionable performance. The team learned from their mistakes in playoffs where they switched players from game to game. Instead, Invictus settled for one starting lineup and committed to it for the entire gauntlet.
The second round versus Top Esports was better. The players looked more like a unit instead of five players trying to figure out individually what to do next. In true LPL fashion, the series featured extremely aggressive team fights in every corner of the map and an average of one kill per minute.
This aggressive style that used to be criticized might now give Invictus and the other LPL representatives an edge versus European teams. The draft in both series was standard, as Invictus was drafting for comfort and it’ worked for them.
Top laner Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok put the weight of the team on his shoulders. In game one, his outstanding performance on Aatrox allowed Invictus to pull off a major comeback. He would continue to be dominant through the series with help from bottom laner Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo.
Rookie jungler Lu "Leyan" Jue was the biggest surprise of the gauntlet. The 17-year-old jungler joined the team in early August and has already proved himself in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. Taking over Invictus’ jungle is not an easy feat and Leyan made it clear that he’s up to the challenge.
After a mediocre playoffs showing at the Mid-Season Invitational and their struggles in the summer season, Invictus looked like a shell of its former self. It’s too early to say that they’re back and ready to go for a second World Championship title. But at least they will get a chance to defend their crown in Europe next October.
The countdown to Worlds is already on, as teams have less than a month to get ready for the competition. 2019 will be one of the best World Championship events to date since the four major regions are sending their strongest teams and every squad looks like a real contender for the title.
The 2019 World Championship will kick off on October 2 with the play-in stage.