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The third-place match of the League of Legends Pro League Summer playoffs was an action-packed contest in Shanghai on Saturday. By dictating the pace of the chaos, Invictus Gaming was able to upset Team WE in a thrilling five-game series.
Team WE came into the series a bit tense as a victory would guarantee it a berth to the World Championship. On the flip side, Invictus Gaming was seemingly all smiles, playing freely even though the second seed at regional qualifiers was up for the taking. The strategy Invictus Gaming employed was fairly straightforward: It played around the team's best player, mid laner Song Eui "Rookie" Jin.
As volatile as the "League of Rookie" play style can be, it worked perfectly in this series as he played his best League of Legends of the split. He managed to carry every game, and even more impressive than his consistently high kill participation was the range of champions he selected. In Game 1, he brought out the solo queue special of Yasuo, then followed it up with two solid games on Lucian and closed the series by teaching a Syndra masterclass in his final two games.
With the emphasis being placed on the mid lane by IG, Team WE tied its chances to victory squarely in the side lanes. But it was the same story during each of WE's three losses: It conceded early and mid-game to Rookie by letting him take creep score and kill leads with the hope that Team WE AD carry Jin "Mystic" Sung Jun would be able to take over late game. The problem, of course, was that Rookie snowballed to the point that it required an inordinate amount of resources to dispose of him in fights. All the while, Invictus AD carry Chen "West" Long got to free fire, and WE seemingly forgot he existed.
Along with Rookie's massive impact in the series, IG was able to win through creative shot calling and team compositions. The specific adjustment was the dedication to taking Baron. Throughout the series, IG was able to catch WE on its back foot and take the purple worm before its opponent was able to contest.
WE will need to shake off the disappointment prior to Sept. 2, when it takes on OMG at 4 a.m. ET. IG will face the winner of the match in the second round of the regional qualifiers on Sept. 3 at 4 a.m. ET.