Invictus Gaming are your WPC-ACE #2 champions

Dota 2 Karan “Mantis-” Jain

Invictus Gaming clinch victory in the second season of WPC-ACE against Team DK in an exciting 5 match series. They topple the former champions to cement themselves as the current title holders.

The little over two months long second season of WPC League ended today and it was the same teams in the final as last season. Surely, then it was a more predicted final whereas this time around both DK and iG were looking rather inconsistent in the previous weeks. Invictus Gaming, especially, who failed to reach playoffs at the recent MarsTV Dota 2 League and who, as rumour has it, tried to change players after the StarLadder playoffs in April. Today they showed the world they still have what it takes and once again adds themselves as names to be considered for The Internationals finals this summer.

NewBee was probably the team looking strongest coming into the playoffs, having a significant overall win streak and finishing second in the online season after Vici Gaming. They were however forced to play with a stand-in as Sansheng as associated with another team, he played stand-in for Invictus Gaming earlier in the season when ChuaN was in Malaysia to handle visa issues. In the end, they were eliminated in the semis 2-0 by Invictus Gaming who came out of the lower bracket group into semi finals, alongside Alliance. They looked extremely solid today as they convincingly beat Team DK in four games and put up a fight in the game where they lost. DK will get another shot at redemption in a few days as they are shipping off to Los Angeles to play The Summit.

WPC Season 2, prize distribution (~$245,000)

1st - China Invictus Gaming -- ¥1,000,000 (~$160,000)
2nd - China Team DK -- ¥300,000 (~$48,000)
3rd - China NewBee -- ¥100,000 (~$16,000)
4th - Sweden Alliance -- ¥50,000 (~$8,000)
5th-8th - International Cloud 9, Malaysia Titan, China Dreamtime.NGC, China Vici Gaming -- ¥20,000 (~$3,200)



Game 1:

>> Game 1 VOD (recommended)

Both teams opted for a full push line-up with Chen and Shadow Shaman on DK's side and Lycan and Nature's Prophet on iG. To make it a good AOE combo, DK rounded it up with Invoker and Tidehunter with Ember Spirit as their hard carry, whilst iG opted for Rubick, Puck and Ancient Apparition.

Game started off good for DK as Burning got a double kill three minutes into the game by killing iG's supports with a kill on Luo's Lycan short after. Due to iG's pushing capabilities, they marched towards the mid tier 1 one and took it down successfully, although, a good counter initiation from DK helped them secure kills on Nature's Prophet and Rubick.

DK kept on dominating the early-mid game with constant pick offs and pushed down the towers owing to their pushing potential. They also managed to get the first Roshan and picked off Rubick in process, and also managed to take down all outer towers.

Fast forward and DK took down the third Roshan with Aegis and Cheese on their side. With two barracks advantage, DK marched on to break the third lane, but Luo's farmed Lycan combined with YYF's manly Nature's Prophet, iG slow down DK's push and started building pressure upon them.

The fourth Roshan went to iG and with the Aegis on Lycan, iG finally gathered their courage and march towards DK's base. Another team fight ensued and DK ended up losing their core heroes, and with alll hope lost, Mushi and company called out the GG at 63rd minute.


Game 2:

DK went for early-mid game line up with Invoker and Magnus. This was the second time in the series Mushi plays offlane while Iceiceice takes mid. Burning went for a Slark pick supported by Chen and Shadow Demon. Meanwhile, iG picked up a farming oriented mid for Ferrari in Morphling with YYF on one of his signature heroes Batrider and a core Venomancer for Luo. They opted for burst damage with Venomancer, Lich and Mirana completing the lineup.

First blood did not occur until after nine minutes into the game, with YYF using his fresh Blink Dagger to set up a kill mid. Prior to this the teams were content with farming up their heroes and applying pressure to towers. A few minutes later it was Mushi's time to have fun with his new shiny Dagger, setting up a three-man Reverse Polarity resulting in the death of two heroes of iG. DK got a few more kills and regained the advantage lost early on, with the Midas-Slark farming up, going for Shadow Blade instead of the recently trending Dagger. One who on the hand went for the Dagger was quite surprisingly Ferrari's Morphling, after his Midas, Treads, Linken and Ethereal Blade. Despite iG dropping off, he still topped the networths.

DK had taken down all of iG's outer towers by minute 35 and had the better map control. The game overall is rather slow paced, with iG avoiding further fights eventually surrendering Roshan to Team DK who can then attempt to break high ground at 46 minutes. The attempt was successful, Burning went in alongside Forged Spirits and Necrominions to just slowly siege the tower before iG started defending. However, DK came out ahead, trading the aegis for two kills and the bottom ranged barracks.

Despite losing the range barracks, Invictus started gaining on DK, with Morphling split pushing and the rest of the team positioning themselves to find quick easy kills. After a while, it was iG's turn to attempt high ground but a masterful Reverse Polarity on four heroes followed by another one (fresh Refresher) onto all five threw iG's push down the drain. With that said, after the stun duration ended, iG fought back with the farmed Morphling and high level posion nova, but the push was over for now.

From that point on, the game featured a lot of back and forth action with pickoffs into kills into reaction kills and counter-kills from both ends. Buybacks were frequently used to hold the various bases and no further barracks were lost until after minute 90 as Invictus Gaming finally managed to secure themselves DK's mid set. At this point, they had been in the driver position for a while, despite not winning all the fights. Ferrari had been seven slotted for a while, keeping his Manta nearby on the flying courier to fly it in, switch it into his inventory, activate the illusions and then switch it out again. Furthermore he was only saving for buybacks and fresh BKBs, having over 10,000 gold at hand.

In the end, DK relied too much on Mushi to repeat another set of game breaking Reverse Polarities, something that proved increasingly harder as the game went on and he ended up having to blow one or even both just to stay a live as he got focused by just one or two heroes of iG. After 102 minutes, Invictus finally forced DK to call the "gg", ending the game as the third longest competitve Dota 2 game.


Game 3:

Invictus Gaming after two longer games went for an early push draft, focusing around Chen and Viper to put out early aggression with Tidehunter as the early game team fight winner, capitalizing on the fact that BKB's will not be online during that phase. They picked Lycan as their primary pusher. Meanwhile DK drafted the counter-strat consisting of Naga Siren to farm up, disrupt fights and pushes early on and delay the game until a later stage. With the Batrider and Kunkka to assist her, DK managed to successfully do that.

Invictus was off to a good start as expected, scoring early kills resulting DK losing their tier one towers quickly. However, meanwhile Burning farmed up insane amounts of lasthits, hitting 240 creeps at 25 minutes. Invictus went for a big push middle lane, using the fact that they killed off Batrider just before. However, they all grouped up after the Ravage, getting caught in the Song of the Siren eventually resulting in iG losing all five heroes without even getting the tier three tower. That point was the beginning of the end as their early game phase was over and the era of Burning had begun. Interesting fact is that Ferrari went for a Radiance at this point on his Viper, to keep up with the farm and dish out area damage to the Naga illusions as well as cancelling the multiple Blink Daggers of DK.

After getting all heroes caught in another Song a while after, Invictus traded surprisingly better than they should have, mostly due to YYF's double Ravage and the BKB's of Viper. However, Burning bought back, DK sealed the clash and took down Roshan. IG did what they could to remain in the game but after a chaotic fight outside their base, they lost the middle set of barracks. DK started split pushing and iG eventually surrendered, realizing they would not be able to push back the massively farmed Naga Siren with barracks down and the prime time of their draft belonging to the past. DK claims their first victory of the series.


Game 4:

Invictus got the Lycan + Shadow Shaman combination as Dire, which was dreaded a few weeks back. Paired up with Ferrari's usually more than able Ember Spirit, they were set for a more than decent draft. Meanwhile, DK went for Brew to control Ember and Lycan in fights while resorting on Weaver and Prophet for split pressure.

As a contrast to the earlier games, the tempo in this was much faster and there were plenty of action early on, not just towers going down but also plenty of kills. Most of them went Invictus' way, starting early on with the unfortunate first blood attempt by DK where they had to trade two of their cores of a support of iG - not even getting the first blood.

DK went for quite strange lanes, Burning's Weaver offlane, Mushi mid with Prophet and iceiceice safelane as the Brewmaster. The strategy relied heavily on Brew creating lots of space for the two split pushers. Invictus shut him down though when he tried to rotate, mostly due to Shadow Shaman's lengthy and quick disables as well as the high impact Ember Spirit played by Ferrari. Together with Luo's Lycan they could easily capitalize on finding a support or the Brew offguard and transition it into more kills and towers. DK's draft did not allow them to react quickly or at all to the agressive early play by iG.

With no signs of backing down and allowing DK to farm up their heroes to a level where they could be useful without too big plays, Invictus kept hammering merciless at the door of DK, they killed off Brewmaster and forcing a premature Echo Slam by Lanm just at Radiant's middle highground. 26 minutes into the game, DK lost two sets of barracks and just minutes later they lost the third one, spelling the end of the game for them. Invictus thus claimed the fourth game of the series, placing them just one game away from the championship. The question is, is there any lunch around to save DK this time around?


Game 5:

DK deployed a teamfight oriented line-up, heavily depended on the lockdown provided by Doom, Flaming Lasso and Static Storm. On the other hand, iG selected a usual push strategy we've seen many times since the introduction of 6.80. As it was natural by the drafts, iG had the complete early game advantage despite DK's First Blood. 

ChuaN's roaming support Mirana, combined with the strong nuke arsenal provided by Shadow Shaman and Ember Spirit were enough to cripple MuShi's Batrider, who seemed to have trouble making the required transition into the tanky, moblity mid-game Batrider DK needed. Thus, iG managed to push almost every lane uninterrupted, reaching DK's base by minute 14. 

Winning almost every teamfight, Invictus Gaming pretty much controlled the entire map during the second quarter of the game. The Roshan raid by iG during the 18th minute was a significant point of the match, as they TI2 Champions managed to grab the Aegis and take down the retreating Doom, allowing them to completely wipe DK in the next engagement. The first set of barracks went down by minute 22, the beginning of the end for Team DK.

Realising this is the last chance for a comeback, BurNing's boys decided to venture outside their base and force a teamfight themselves. The assault against ChuaN and Faith resulted in a 2-2 trade seemingly favorable for the Dire. However, the following clash was the last for DK, as they lost four heroes without much resistance. A little over 27 minutes into the game, the GG was called - iG secured their final victory in the best-of-seven series.

Follow the second season of WPC League at GosuWiki and at GosuGamers' WPC coverage hub.

Credits to Adriane and Tjernobylbarnet for helping out with the recaps!