Invictus Gaming has been hailed as the Champions of China many times this year. Though they usually perform well regionally, iG have had their troubles on the global stage. With a recent meta shift causing a downturn in their luck, it remains to be seen if Invictus Gaming has what it takes to hoist the Aegis once again.
Xu "BurNIng" Zhilei
Ou "Op" Peng
Lin "Xxs" Jing
Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao
Fu "Q" Bin
Recalling the past year
Missing The International 2016 was no huge mark of shame for Invictus Gaming. Ever since their victory at The International 2012, the Chinese squad placed progressively worse at every subsequent International until eventually they were left out of the tournament all together. Going through many roster changes during these turbulent times, Invictus Gaming at last found some semblance of a winning team this year. They began to find success by qualifying for many events, though they rarely won or placed highly at those events. Invictus Gaming missed the Boston Major, exiting their regional qualifier during the group stage. After taking fourth at Dota Pit Season 5, Invictus Gaming burst into the limelight, defending their home turf and taking home first place at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017. With a masterful 3-0 sweep of perennial powerhouse OG, Invictus Gaming cemented its place as the best team in the eastern region and secured a place among the global elite. Though iG couldn't seem to close out as they posted a string of 3rd-4th place finishes at The Kiev Major and Starladder. As the meta shifted, Invictus Gaming fell flat on their faces with three 5th-6th place finishes at The Manila Masters, Epicenter 2017 and MDL 2017. They'll certainly hope to hit their stride in Seattle this week.
Strategies to watch
Invictus Gaming prioritize ganking before pushing objectives early to accelerate farm for BurNIng and their lineups often reflect that; Weaver, Death Prophet, Shadow Shaman and Warlock are among their most drafted heroes in recent months. Invictus Gaming base their strategy around two things; their disruptive supports and protecting their carry, the legendary B-God. As far as iG's supports go, BoBoKa excels at making space for his team and often draws the ire of the opposing team's drafter. With the meta shifting to make teams more reliant on their mid-lane players, BoBoKa is sure to wreak havoc at The International 7 with his signature Earth Spirit. BurNIng has been a fixture of Chinese Dota for quite a long time, so it stands to reason that iG would build their lineups around him to give him the best opportunity to succeed. BurNIng prefers heroes that require a vast amount of gold and items before they can truly become effective, but if he can get there he is unstoppable. With Anti-Mage becoming prevalent in the meta, this International will be ripe with examples of BurNIng's dominance on the hero.
Invictus Gaming have much to prove at the International 2017, despite their receiving a direct invitation. They have a long road ahead of them if they hope to lift the Aegis of Champions once again.