They've already been close twice this split. Both times, they were knocked from their title by Edward Gaming in convincing fashion. With WE eliminating LGD in the first round, iG were seemingly free to take IET, and today they came through.
This is Invictus' first LAN victory since January of 2014, and it's well deserved.
Martin gets a medal
Before we can pay Invictus Gaming their dues, the customary respect to the third place team comes first. Snake's opponent was ShowTime, so that isn't too impressive, but they did manage to shut them down 2-0. It looked like ShowTime would pull back in Game 2 after an impressive 7-1 early kill lead, but Snake's scaling allowed them to build a comeback assault.
Martin played an impressive role with his Jinx, though ShowTime are likely kicking themselves at the moment, he earned his medal.
Is it too early for #KeepMartin?
Let's talk about WE
If you've read my roundups before, you know that I don't think WE are a good team overall. Aluka has a limited effective champion pool, but he's improved on those champions. Xiye also has a limited pool, and is much more of a laner than he is anything else. Mystic has improved in playing late game AD Carries, so the argument that WE is all early game is no longer valid. Conan has actually proven he's a considerable upgrade to YuZhe.
Or Spirit's just that good.
It's no coincidence that players might lane better when their jungler is extremely potent. Today, Invictus Gaming chose to ban out Aluka and pick away Spirit's and Xiye's most successful champion. Say what you will about Zzitai and Kid, but they can play pretty much anything competently, making iG a stiff opponent to face in the draft. When they want to target you, they can expose you. A loss in the first game allowed iG to find their feet and crush through the last two.
If you notice, WE doesn't look that happy with second place. It's because they know that fixing the reason they lost is more than just an uphill battle.
Oh yeah KaKAO can still play that
A theme in Invictus Gaming's victories continues to be their champion pools. They might best EDward Gaming, but they beat almost everyone else in champion select. Whatever you can play, they can play better.
WE thrives because Spirit still controls the game on high pressure champions like Nidalee and Rek'Sai. Though KaKAO is comfortable shifting into the Sejuani, Gragas, and Nunu picks, he's more than happy to take Nidalee and Rek'Sai from Spirit when the need arises. His Rek'Sai play in the last game may as well have been something out of legend.
A big clincher was taking Cassiopeia from Xiye. We1less and BAKA don't play Cassi well, but it's been a staple of Rookie's since the opposition started to target ban him. "I'll take that, and I'll take the trophy too."
Zzitai hints at taking the plunge
It was speculated at the end of last split that Zzitai was considering retirement. This split, he shocked his naysayers, learned a new role, and helped Invictus Gaming take their first title win since January of 2014. Today, following his IET win, Zzitai made a post on his weibo that might sound disconcerting to his fans.
First championship in 2 years, I can rest from trouble breathing, losing sleep. Maybe I'll make an announcement in a few days.
If Zzitai does choose to retire, this is a good note to end on. If he doesn't, then he probably still has quite a career left as a 17 year old. Naturally, as a disciple of the school of PDD, famed for making jokes about retirement, it could all just be a false alarm.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore eSports. You can follow her on Twitter.