“When we took down the enemy Nexus, at that moment, we were the strongest team in the world, but over the course of the next 24hrs , we will become challengers once again.”
Moments, they come and go yet we seem to remember the most striking ones. The ones you remember leave a huge impact on your mind, why you choose to do certain actions are based on those moments past. Why you choose to love a certain movement follows moments you’ve witnessed. My love for Invictus Gaming is based on a moment.
Coming into season 8 of League of Legends, I was new to the scene, having entered through Nadeshot’s new org 100 Thieves in the NALCS. Previously, I spectated more of the shooter franchises of e-sports, hence me following Nadeshot on this adventure. Spending most of Spring 2018 learning the game, how things worked, why players did certain actions etc. I didn’t watch much league outside of the NALCS, a few LCK games it was at MSI my first exposure to the outside world of league occurred. Uzi. This name stuck with me because of the way he played, it was so fascinating to watch, I personally had no clue what he was doing with abilities but it just looked incredible. Moving from the NALCS and Cody Sun to witnessing the greatest ADC of all time the contrast was there for me. I mean no disrespect to Cody in saying that. This moment was my first exposure to Chinese League of Legends.
Throughout Summer I checked in on LCK, watching Rift Rivals when I could between my exams, which I should have been focusing on. Again here I saw the raw dominant fashion in which Uzi dispatched people, but another team arrived in my eye. Invictus Gaming.
Their rash play style somewhat drew me in, when their chaos came off it was a stroke of genius, when it didn’t it was pure throwing of the game. It somewhat reminded me of my lifelong favourite sports team, Liverpool. Sometimes against all odds this team will just win, they shouldn’t, but they will. Following Rift Rivals, I never really watched LPL, I can’t say why I just didn’t.
Yet, when Worlds rolled around, the team I had followed all year appeared in the same group as the team that I felt a fondness too. I sort of knew it was a wrap for 100 Thieves, and personally I didn’t mind them falling out, it gave me the chance to follow this team that had peaked my interest earlier on. The LPL Dark-horse as people were calling them. I must have watched every single game at Worlds 2018, yet only a few moments stick to me. G2 Perkz tearing apart favourites RNG. That base race. But, most of all, TheShy dropping down that hammer on G2. The moment I came to love IG.
“In both of these occasions, the team was at a disadvantage. I just kept thinking how I could make a breakthrough for the team’s sake. So, when I saw an opportunity, I wanted to seize it. Fortunately, both outcomes turned out well”
Being even in the game, in that moment TheShy found the play and found the spark that shot IG to finals. I remember jumping out of my chair in the early morning, most likely waking up my flatmates, I was in awe.
Going into the finals I was on the train with Invictus Gaming, supporting them until I couldn’t shout any longer. On the build up I took more time to learn about them, the stories behind the players. I had heard of Duke before, Rookie as well as he was on a KT with Ssumday. But Jackeylove, Ning, Baolan and TheShy all were new to me. The later I found out moved to China after controversy in Korea, primarily a streamer before in his second year at IG taking them to world finals. Ning, a role swapped adc, from Young Miracles who was said to be the second best jungler in China after Condi in 2017. Baolan, a player who struggled to find a team early on joined IG and slowly built himself up into an engage king, a player you could turn to if you needed to find the correct fight or that monster engage. Finally, Jackeylove, a player who was mainly a streamer for the first two years of his career due to his young age, turned into one of the terrors of bot lane. He was literally terrorizing veteran players in his rookie year, having fans asking whether he could step up in those moments, this greeny had began silencing doubters throughout Worlds.
When I first read about them, I felt it was a rag tag group of misfits, who joined forces under one strength, attack. It was somewhat inspiring to hear, how they over came troubles to get to that place, to that stage. Obviously Rookie having been through the most, it felt super special to witness him ascend to this treasure only a few have ever possessed. Rookie’s pain stems back to leaving Korea, leaving his home where he had just won. Joining IG, going to worlds once but then never again. Until now.
Watching those finals, knowing about the players, I knew it would be justification of their journey. After winning, I sat there and listened. Rookie poured his heart out on stage, in the preview he said he would put his career on the line for it, and his reaction was that of someone who put everything into it. TheShy embracing Rookie as the rest of IG went berserk in the back of the booth brought a tear to my eye.
“But in the Worlds finals, when I suddenly won the championship, that was when I realized how big the difference was between winning and losing; how big the difference in mood was after winning.
If I lost again right now, it might be the most difficult moment.”
Obviously, after winning worlds the new season came around and now I followed them every step of the way. Spring 2019’s victory, JackeyLove locking in Draven, IG finally winning a domestic title for the first time ever in their 8 years, it felt like everything was coming together. Personally, you could have called me a glory supporter, and I would respect that however, glory supporters leave when there is no glory. The rest of 2019 was a nightmare, yet it solidified my love. Those moments of pain, ‘why are we like this?’ Questioning why we was playing like this, what was happening to TheShy, Ning just hitting tails on every coinflip. It led into one beautiful moment. Game 5 vs TES. The emotion I felt when we won can only be described as wow, we are going back to defend our crown. This high, this feeling felt as if all the struggles, all the hardships of summer were justified, it led us to this moment. The chance to finally right the wrongs of MSI.
Yes we re-wrote those wrongs against Team Liquid, but we fell. We fell to eventual winners Funplus Phoenix, but the fact we got their to the semi final, the fact we dominated Korea’s second seed, the fact that we shouldn’t have gone to worlds made it Ok to lose. Yes, the defending world champion should fight for their crown, but at that point we had overachieved.
The word, Invictus, is latin for “unconquered” or as the poet William Henley can be understood as defining it as to be Invictus is to be unconquerable.
“My head is bloody, but unbowed….
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.”
So in these moments of rash choices, somewhat idiotic plays, Invictus Gaming become unconquerable by fear and choose their own fate.
Often I go back and re-watch these games, the games where we just became in-human, became Invictus. Groups vs Team Liquid, Game 3 vs G2, the whole Fnatic Series, Game 5 vs TES, JackeyLove’s flash vs KT. It just reminds me that even when times are tough with the boys, they will create something from nothing and shock the world. Yes, this season hasn’t been great, but yet the childish hopefulness that something is coming is what I love about Invictus. Forever the dark-horse, forever Invictus, forever unconquerable.
The quotes are from; ‘Climb Countless Mountains to Stand at the Top of the World’
Credits of Translation to @iCrystalization
Thank you for allowing me to us them!
Thank you for reading also!
Images; Riot Games.