League of Legends Flame Friday: how Invictus Gaming choked to Team Liquid

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

Welcome to our first Flame Friday, where we look at the players, teams, champions, or decisions that deserve to get a little bit of good-humored flame. Today, the victim is Invictus Gaming.

You know, when I set up the first of our Flame Friday series for today, I thought I had it all figured out. Team Liquid would get smacked around by Invictus Gaming, I could take some easy potshots at the overconfident and overrated Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, and we could all laugh at their failure on the international stage while also crying inside that North American will probably never have a good international League of Legends showing (outside the always overlooked Cloud9).

But no, Invictus Gaming just had to go and choke, not only killing the ability to mock Liquid some more but instead force us to acknowledge how good a team they actually are (barf). I know we Americans finally got our great moment in the sun, making an international final for the first time ever (except for when CLG made the finals only to get smacked by SKT in the finals at 2016 MSI, but who can remember back that far), but at what cost? Because, now, Liquid is rightly able to anoint themselves the greatest NA team of all time.

As a team, Liquid fully earned the win today. They massively outplayed Invictus Gaming on both a micro and macro level.

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Jake “Xmithie” Puchero was the best he’s probably ever been, Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in straight carried from the support position, Doublelift, Jensen, and even Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong all did their part to keep the train rolling. As a unit Liquid was great today.

But let’s not lie to ourselves. This series should have been a clean 3-0 by iG. They are the better team, they win this series 99 times out of 100. And today, they straight up choked.

Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning, previously held up as the pinnacle of early-game jungle pathing got massively out-pathed by Xmithie. I mean, TL didn’t even try to ban junglers in their games (other than, inexplicably, Olaf) but they kept putting him on Lee Sin when Rek’Sai or Hecarim or Sejuani were up? Of course, when he finally is put on Rek’Sai in Game 4, he shows us all exactly why IG didn’t try to prioritize that champion by going 0/6/2.

In the first two games, he made some engages on Lee Sin that were straight out of a gold solo queue game. He was trying to cosplay as 2013 inSec, but unfortunately ended up cosplaying current, retired inSec.

In the top lane, Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok had a chance to oppress Team Liquid’s weak point in the top lane. Even despite Impact‘s improved play in the tournament, he should have stood no chance in this match-up. He was so set up for success in those first two games on splitting champions like Ryze and Neeko. Unfortunately, he was forced to transition to team fighting because he wasn’t getting anything done in side lanes other than racking up kills.

Because of that, TheShy did put up some nice stat lines, but unfortunately, they didn’t come at the expense of pushing down Impact to be uncarryable. It’s nice to go 6/4/8 on Ryze but that doesn’t mean anything when you get caught out before a critical team fight!

But at least he did more than Song “Rookie” Eui-jin in this series. I mean dear God I thought this guy was supposed to be one of the best mid laners in the world be he gets clapped by Jensen of all people?

Yeah, yeah, I know he straight hard-carried on Leblanc in their only win, but in those other three games? Rookie was invisible. And how the hell does anyone go 0/4/2 on Zoe??

If Rookie was invisible, though, then Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo was non-existent. You want to know how many games he did the most damage on his team? That’d be a big, fat zero.

Granted, he was going into the strength of Liquid’s team in the dangerous Doublelift/CoreJJ duo, and he performed decently on Kai’Sa in those first two games. Unfortunately, he and his partner were just giving away leads in those early games.

Which brings us to the worst of the bunch, their support, Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi. I mean, all due respect to CoreJJ for how he played today, but Baolan made him look like a god.

There were at least two or three Tahm Kench ults in that fourth game that were straight suicide missions. Watching him play Alistar in comparison to CoreJJ was like watching a bunch of kids playing stickball on the street and calling it the home run derby. Baolan was absolutely putrid in this series, going a combined 2/21/35, including 0/6/2 in that final game.

Gush all you want about CoreJJ’s immaculate play on Alistar and Braum, Jensen’s crucial shockwaves, Impact dominating on Sylas, Doublelift hard-carrying Game 1, and Xmithie showing the &*%^ up in this series. It’s not undeserved. But make no mistake about it, the only team who could beat Invictus Gaming today – and did – was themselves.

Next. Patch 9.10 tier list: mid lane. dark

Have any other flame you want us to pass on to Invictus Gaming after their loss today? Leave them in the comments!