iG is the ESL One champion after 2-1 victory against EG
The ESL One title will be going to China after iG's dominant performance against Evil Geniuses. The Chinese used an unsuccessful push strategy for the first game of the best-of-three series, but gave no chances to their opponents in the remaining games.
After several action packed months, the ESL One tournament has come to an end. Invictus Gaming and Evil Geniuses managed to reach the best-of-three Grand Final, with the Chinese grabbing a 2-1 victory to secure the $80,000 first place prize.
Evil Geniuses entered the series with confidence, and they proved too strong for the Chinese early-five man push strategy in the first game. It was quickly evident that pushing was not the way to go for iG, and they switched their focus to early ganking and massive burst damage. This decision proved successful as they were able to grab two consecutive victories with two similar lineups, both including Luo's Invoker.
In the end, iG saved ESL as the delays had started to stack up, during to regulations the venue would have needed to started clearing off the visitors at 23.00 CEST. The final ended at 23.45 CEST and the arena had to quickly start emptying the people. Regulations were mostly revolving around the arena rules as well as the security staff's schedules.
1st - Invictus Gaming - $80,000+
2nd - Evil Geniuses - $40,000+
3rd-4th - Alliance, Fnatic - $20,000+
5th-8th - mousesports, Vici Gaming, Cloud9, Natus Vincere - $10,000+
Invictus Gaming deployed a push-oriented lineup for the first battle of the series, with the Shadow Shaman-Pugna-Enchantress combination specializing in demolishing buildings. While the strategy proved successful in terms of map control and tower kills, EG had the advantage in terms of teamfight potential. This was evident during the first massive teamfight by minute 15, when the Americans took down four heroes and lost only UNiVeRsE and ppd.
With only one outer tower standing for EG by minute 16, the Chinese seemed eager to finish the game. Forcing a teamfight inside the Dire jungle, they baited mason into jumping on Luo's Doom to prevent the Primal Split, but zai and Arteezy saved the day turning a disastrous engagement into a 3-3 exchange. One minute later, iG regrouped and pushed for the tier-three. The first attempt proved unsuccessful as they were repelled by EG, but the mid barracks eventually fell with 22 minutes on the clock.
The loss of the barracks did not seem to affect EG. Knowing they had a farmed Faceless Void and Razor on their hero roster, the mid and late stages of the game favored them heavily. Keeping their heads together, they managed to force and win several consecutive teamfights, including a 27-minute teamwipe near the Dire top tier-two. Invictus Gaming had lost their early-game power, and lacked the required damage to take down their targets.
As the game approached the 40th minute mark, the Americans had the complete advantage. Capitalizing on their impressive gold and experience lead, they marched inside iG's base to take down their first set of barracks to seal the deal. While the first assault against the mid barracks did not do the trick, the 44-minute 3-0 victory resulted in the demise of the top set. Thus, the GG was called by iG three minutes later, as the Chinese knew they could no longer come back into the game.
Evil Geniuses decided to use the strategy they successfully executed against DK in the finals of The Summit, basically going four-protect-one for Arteezy's solo mid Phantom Assassin. The mid lane remained quite calm for the first 15 minutes of the game, but the situation was different for the sides.
With UNiVeRsE and zai purchasing two quick Blink Daggers, Evil Geniuses decided to go aggressive against iG's squishy supports. However, YYF, ChuaN and Faith showed impressive coordination and execution, preventing the worst for their team. The score was 9-9 by minute-15, when Luo decided to depart the safety of his lane and rotate with his team.
With Luo's Invoker with them, iG unleashed the full power of their combination. Using a skill chain of Searing Chains - Sacred Arrow and Sun Strike, they went rampant against the unprepared and vulnerable heroes of the Americans. Never abandoning the mid-lane and ceasing their pressure, the Chinese managed to breach the Radiant base and take down their first set of barracks by minute 21, winning a 3-0 fight as well. The GG came five minutes later, after a complete teamwipe near the Radiant bottom barracks.
For the final game of the tournament, the Chinese deployed one of their pocket strategies, a very aggressive gank-oriented lineup that can transition into a four-core strategy as the game progresses. EG decided to proceed with the Tiny-Io combination, supported by Elder Titan and solo-top Sand King.
There are not many things one can say about the match. The Chinese were able to completely dominate their opponent, giving zero chances throughout the entirety of the game. Every lane was lost, every fight was lost, and soon every hope had the same fate. The game finished in 28 minutes, while everyone was wondering : "What the hell is going on this game?"
For more information, check out our ESL One Coverage Page.