It was by no means pretty, but Invictus Gaming closed out Week 4, Day 1 of the League of Legends Pro League with a hard-fought 2-1 win over JD Gaming on Thursday in Shanghai.
Coming into Game 1, JD Gaming (0-6, 4-12 match record) made it clear what it wanted to do: get mid laner Kim "doinb" Tae-sang's Vladimir ahead and let him carry the game. That plan worked out well early on as JDG secured first blood and two Infernal Drakes by 14 minutes, even giving a Rift Herald buff over to doinb. JDG's teamfighting composition succeeded when it controlled the pace of the game, but its lack of sidelane control cost it in the long run. With IG top laner Lee "Duke" Ho-seong's Shen manipulating the sidewaves masterfully, IG jumped ahead through a tower lead, winning a 4-for-2 teamfight at 29 minutes to get its late-game siege composition powered up. Despite giving up a Baron at 32 minutes, IG quickly took out JDG in the ensuing teamfight and went on to take a Baron and Elder Dragon of its own a few minutes later to put itself ahead for good. Invictus' teamwork allowed it to overcome doinb's massive lead, taking Game 1 in 47 minutes.
JDG shifted composition focus in Game 2, drafting a "Protect the Kog'Maw" composition and putting doinb on the beefy frontline mage of Galio. Once again, JDG secured first blood in a 5-vs-5 teamfight at eight minutes, putting top laner Kan "Kabe" Ho Man's Jarvan IV ahead. JD Gaming cruised into the midgame with solid advantages across the map, sieging down IG's weakened pick comp while doinb did massive damage as a formidable frontline tank. With a 7,700-gold lead at 24 minutes, JDG was in full control of the late game, securing a 27-minute Baron and using it to start tearing down IG's defenses. Kabe's fed Jarvan IV and the overall presence of AD carry Chen "West" Long's Kog'Maw, coupled with a late triple kill from doinb, and JDG managed to pick up a dominant 30-minute win in Game 2.
It was already clear how JD Gaming intended to win Game 3, and Invictus Gaming (3-3, 7-8 match record) finally caught on, giving mid laner Song "Rookie" Eui-jin Cassiopeia to counter doinb's Kassadin. Rookie put on a clinic of how to abuse Kassadin's weak early laning phase, giving IG a 1,000-gold lead through sheer laning prowess. Invictus Gaming's late-game siege composition was coming together nicely while JDG's 1-3-1 splitpushing composition was too eclectic, stuck without an obvious win condition against IG's overwhelming pressure. With a 24-minute Baron kill giving IG what it needed to crack into JDG's base, Rookie and company closed out the series in a lightning-fast 28 minutes.
JD Gaming next take on Snake Esports on Saturday at 2 a.m. ET, while Invictus Gaming faces SN Gaming at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday.