Why Invictus Gaming Could Win TI7

by Mark Ryan
on July 15, 2017

A storied Dota franchise born in 2011 to the son of the 10th richest man in China. This organization has been one of the longest lasting in Dota. Winners of TI2, Invictus Gaming has survived years without falling apart and it has paid off with an invite to TI7.

After having a rough 2016 where they failed to make their presence felt in the professional Dota scene, they retooled their roster in September 2016 adding Burning, Op, and Q. Since then they would do much better in tournaments, even beating OG 3-0 to win the 2017 Dota Asia Championship.

Bet365 Odds for Invictus Gaming to Win It All Are +1800

Invictus Gaming odds to win TI7 is +1800 as of July 10, 2017. These odds are worse than non-invited teams: Team Secret, LGD Gaming, TnC, and LGD Forever Young. Separated from the other 5 invited teams by 4 qualified teams, this does not bode well for Invictus Gaming.

IG had a solid 2017 winning 1st at the Dota Asia Championship beating OG. 3-4th at the Kiev Major where they beat Team Liquid before falling to Virtus Pro. At the Manila Masters they lost to Team NP and at EPICENTER 2017 they lost to Team Secret. Both of those teams are TI7 qualifier teams and perhaps due to these match outcomes, IG is ranked below them at TI7.

How can Invictus Gaming bounce back and shock the world?

Old Man Dota

Burning China
Burning is 29 years old and still going strong. The carry from China is the same age as Fear who retired and Loda who has not qualified for TI7. It’s once again time for old man Dota to show these young kids how to play. Burning started playing professional Dota 9 years ago in 2008 and is still competing. He has managed to win 21 separate 1st place victories in Dota 2 tournaments since 2012. There are some players at TI7 who haven’t even played in 21 separate tournaments.

What is the difference between a young talent and an old veteran? Maybe it’s finger speed, reaction time, eye sight or less fatigue during play. None of those factors can make a huge difference when you’re getting ganked out of position or getting out drafted. Experience is huge and cannot be understated. When you’ve been through it all, a tournament is just another day of work. For these young kids at their first TI, it can be mentally overwhelming and reduce their performance capability.

Maybe we’re talking about age too much. Burning holds the world record for gold per minute as Anti-Mage and that record is the 3rd highest gold per minute ever for non-Alchemist heroes. Burning is simply a good player who has been playing his role for almost a decade. Will his experience out shine youthful talent at TI7? Only time will tell.

Out Drafting Top Captains

Q is a 24-year-old wonder kid who has out drafted top captains like PPD and Fly. At TI5 his drafting and team play managed to take his CDEC squad all the way to the grand finals through the winner’s bracket as a wild card team. During this run, his squad beat Evil Geniuses at the final winner’s bracket game before losing to Evil Geniuses in the grand finals.

During the 2017 Dota Asia Championship, IG beat OG 3-0. A major factor for this was Q out drafting Fly. IG out classed and out played OG in every way this series. It was a serious upset and a rude awakening for the Dota world, IG is back! Unfortunately for IG, this would be the best accomplishment for the rest of the year, but it’s still better than what most teams have done.

Q was the brains behind the magical CDEC run at TI5 and the current captain of the revitalized Invictus Gaming squad. Q will need to recapture some of that magic from TI5 and then add some more Chinese magic for IG to win it all. It will be a tall task but IG has defeated the top teams like OG, Team Liquid, and Evil Geniuses before.

Record Versus Other Top Teams

Since patch 7.0 Invictus Gaming has the following record against the 5 other invited teams to TI7.

  • VS Team Liquid 5 wins 3 losses.
  • VS Newbee 10 wins 5 losses.
  • VS Evil Geniuses 5 wins 6 losses.
  • VS OG 7 wins 5 losses.
  • VS Virtus Pro 1 win 4 losses.

With a winning record against 3 of the top 5 teams at TI7, IG is historically competitive with the top teams in the scene.

Young New Talent

It seems like every pro team needs some young stars who should be in school but instead these professional organizations make them play Dota. IG is no different. XXS, the off lane is 17, Boboka, their support is 20 and OP their mid is age unknown but he has only been playing professional Dota since 2015.

The ideal team environment is where there is one leader with a clear vision and role players who can follow that vision. Teams that have conflict among leadership and which direction to go do worse than teams that have a clear leader. With Q being the drafting wizard and game shot caller and Burning being the veteran leader everyone can look to; the young players have nothing to do but focus on their game.

An Effective Play Style

Awesome esports Logo
Invictus Gaming play a similar game to Evil Geniuses. They have their team join the mid player to win fights while the carry goes to other places on the map and farms or pushes. This is a very effective play style evidenced by the recent performances by EG and IG.

For the past few years, roaming heroes have been heavily involved in the meta. Roaming heroes allow for teams to win lanes, get early kills, kill couriers, or get any kind of early game advantage possible. The momentum from small early wins cannot be understated given the mental strain of every game.

Boboka has rocked the Dota world with his roaming as Riki or Monkey King. He even gets respect bans for his heroes. It doesn’t matter if they pick counters to him, he will still shine with his Monkey King or Riki.

During the Dota Asia Championships, many said Boboka was the stand out performer. His play is what enabled the team to do so well because he put so much pressure on the enemy team with either Riki or Monkey King.

The greatness of such pressure or initiation from a support hero is that the enemy team must expend resources to deal with that initiation or pressure which allows more important heroes like the carry or mid to attack without worry. If Riki or Monkey King dies, it’s not horrible because the carry or mid is probably still around to do more damage to the enemy that expended so many resources on killing the support.

They Will Have to Overcome History

Unfortunately for Invictus Gaming and other Chinese Dota teams, it is not their turn to win a TI. 2011 had Navi win it, a European team. 2012 was Invictus Gaming, a Chinese team. 2013 was Alliance, a European team. 2014 was Newbee, a Chinese team. 2015 was Evil Geniuses, an American team.

2016 was Wings Gaming, a Chinese team. The trend is clear, a Chinese team cannot win TI7. Invictus Gaming will have to overcome history and memes to break the cycle and allow old man Burning to retire with peace.

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