The final day of the Starladder i-league invitational was started of with a brilliant stage-show featuring a truly majestic entrance of the teams that would slug it out in what was to become a very exciting series between Vici Gaming Reborn and LGD-Gaming.
Vici Gaming Reborn took early advantage of their lineup’s early-game strength by pressuring the lanes before LGD-Gaming’s cores could come online. After taking the first Roshan of the game without any trade from LGD, VG.R used their momentum to take four towers in the bottom and mid lanes. They continued their assault by taking VGD’s top melee barracks, but as they tried to break the high-ground, LGD replied with a strong defense to win the fight.
After another failed high-ground attempt in the bottom lane for VG.R, LGD took a fight in the Roshan pit, expending Junjie ‘Mikasa’ Tong’s aegis. This gave them a slight advantage in net worth and experience. A few minutes later, VG.R took another Roshan and failed yet again to break the high-ground of LGD as the radiant side mustered the strength to repel the attack. This time the lead was big enough for LGD to take control of the game. VG.R lost their foothold and LGD took a fight out on the map. LGD continued to win fights through better execution and with Sun ‘Aggressif’ Zheng’s iconic Phantom Lancer going out of control to ultimately claim game one.
As we look over the draft of game two we see that the two teams have completely inverted their strategies. LGD went for an extremely snowballing lineup with Aggressif on Vengeful Spirit and VG.R went for the more greedy lineup with Sven.
As the game progressed, the enigmatic Mirana pick revealed its purpose as Xu ‘fy’ Linsen hit three early arrows on the enemy Windranger, resulting in two kills for Mikasa’s middle QoP. Thanks to this and an overall well played laning-phase by VG.R, LGD wasn’t able to use the strength of their lineup in the early game. As small skirmishes occurred on the map where VG.R traded pretty well, Sven completely free-farmed and got all the stacks he needed. With good farm on their carry, VG.R realised that they could push without LGD having any answer. They took two 4 for 0 teamfights which propelled them too far ahead for LGD to catch up.
In the last game of the series we got to see another iconic hero in Xue ‘September’ Zhichuan’s Phoenix as VG.R picked up the unexpected Broodmother. With both lineups looking to dominate the mid to late game, Broodmother’s impact was the deciding factor.
FY shined in the early game with successful rotations to the top-lane giving Brood the start she needed. With VG.R winning all three lanes as Brood took control of the enemy jungle fairly early into the game, LGD fell behind to a lineup that was stronger in the late game. After a bit of ganking and pushing, VG.R realised that they needed maintain their lead instead of looking to completely snowball to victory. With their Sven continuing to farm, they managed to do just that.
After a bit of a stalemate VG.R pushed the middle lane and won a 4 for 0 teamfight. LGD bought back on both their Phoenix and Sand King and in a desperate attempt to level the odds they went for Roshan. VG.R punished their move as Mikasa stole the Aegis and decimated their opponents once again. In an attempt to convert their advantage, they sieged the middle melee rax but failed to break the high-ground. With LGD clearly dominating, VG.R waited for the next Aegis pickoff to pressure the bottom rax. LGD missed their ultimates and VG.R was able to re-engage to win the fight and ultimately the game.