BUSAN, South Korea -- Baron had barely spawned when the members of Invictus Gaming were on 100 Thieves' Nexus. With a blistering time of 20 minutes and 26 seconds, iG now have the second-fastest game time in League of Legends World Championship history. If they had closed six seconds sooner, they would have broken the record set by Edward Gaming's 2015 group stage victory over the Bangkok Titans.
According to iG support Wang "Baolan" Liu-Yi, the team knew that the game could go by a bit quickly. "We thought about it a little bit," he said. "Both of us had games with Fnatic. After they had their match with Fnatic we saw the difference and distance between them and Fnatic and then after our game with Fnatic we had a meeting and thought, 'We may have a very quick match.' We didn't think it would be that quick, second shortest time in World Championship history."
100T began the game with a bit of uncharacteristic early aggression with a level one invade attempt on the bot side of the map, forcing Baolan to start lantern on Thresh in order to save bot lane partner Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo's Kai'sa. Afterwards, 100T jungler Andy "AnDa" Hoang pathed top side to potentially snowball Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho's Irelia, or at least clear vision and secure top side scuttle crab. An ensuing skirmish put 100T up early against iG, and the team continued to focus top.
"They aren't very equal in the bot lane," Baolan said. "And I don't think they can beat us bot so they changed the focus to the top."
The game quickly turned in iG's favor after 100T mid laner Ryu "Ryu" Sang-wook was caught out and Anda shortly followed. Baolan and Jackeylove were able to completely take control of the bottom lane, even on the late-game scaling pick of Kai'sa. As it is with many iG games, once they were in control of the tempo, they never gave up control of the game again. Throughout the group stages, even with a few early and mid-game hiccups against Fnatic, iG have seemed more willing to go for scaling picks, sometimes eschewing their traditional win lane, win game style that earned them the top spot in the LPL for two regular splits this year. At the world championship, once iG have had the game in hand, they've closed it quickly - in this specific game, in near-record time.
"All of the players on our team are very confident in their performances," Baolan said. "None of us are afraid to do risky things, solo kills, solo ganks, that's a very key point for us doing well, our aggression. As for the ability to close the games fast, I think maybe because we're playing so many games at a time, we're getting used to it."
This hybrid of iG's early aggression with stronger focus on teamfighting and scaling is a new development, but a welcome one according to Baolan. The iG support credited the team's recent finals against Royal Never Give Up as the primary reason behind iG's much-improved teamfighting.
"I think we're doing pretty well in teamfighting," he said. "RNG is also doing a good job in teamfighting and especially after our match against RNG in the summer final, that really helped us improved a lot in teamfighting and mentality."