Invictus Gaming has watched from the sidelines for half of today's gametime, confidently studying their prospective opponents' battles. Their finals opponition has now been determined, and EG plan on showing iG that ESL will not be easily won. Welcome to joinDOTA's live updates of the ESL-One finals.

Game 1Game 2Game 3 cn Invictus Gaming vs Evil Geniuses usBest of 3 - Game 1
DRAFTcn Invictus Gaming0:0Evil Geniuses usEvil Geninuses prioritizes a ban for Lycan and Ember Spirit, grabbing themselves some strong early/mid game in Mirana and Brewmaster. Mirana is the most picked hero for the current patch and also has an extremely strong late-game record when in dual-core lineups. Invictus Gaming are disinterested in seeing Enigma (who was used very effectively against EG in the semi-finals) or Io (used against iG on day one). They grab Doom and Shadow Shaman for a lot of push and control. EG notably bans the Earthshaker, no longer willing to handle a Fnatic-style fissure base defense. The Pugna and Enchantress for iG means heavy push potential.0:23cn Invictus Gaming0:1Evil Geniuses usA 10-second gametime smoke from Mirana and Sandking allows EG to find cn Faith 's Shadow Shaman on the North end of the Radiant Jungle. This time, burrowstrike connects and EG take first blood.2:30cn Invictus Gaming0:3Evil Geniuses usEG grabs a themselves another heavy-aggression set of kills on both safe-laners.6:45cn Invictus Gaming2:5Evil Geniuses usA four-man rotation from iG secure a second kill on Razor in the mid lane. IG is forced to invest a lot in a single kill, but at least they secure some pace control on the heels of it.14:55cn Invictus Gaming7:11Evil Geniuses usVoid and Mirana die in a teamfight behind the former location of a tier 2 tower bottom lane. The Shadow Shaman wards manage to take the tower, but iG loses everybody except Pugna. 18:45cn Invictus Gaming10:14Evil Geniuses usA five-man engagement finds in a strange trade, with Viper opening up via Viper Strike. Doom lands on Brewmaster before he can Primal Split, but iG loses two heroes immediately. They continue to fight, and Mirana is chased down and drops while running South toward his opponents' secret shop.21:00cn Invictus Gaming11:19Evil Geniuses usiF pushes in for a tier three, dropping Serpent Wards, but Void sneaks out of the base and finds Enchantress by herself. Invictus Gaming refuses to back out of the base, continuing to push down the tower. The tower drops, but a HUGE epicenter leads all four remaining heroes from iG to their graves.23:00cn Invictus Gaming12:20Evil Geniuses usInvictus Gaming pushes in to secure rax with Mass Serpent Wards, even after recently losing a teamfight doing so. They manage to grab both mid barracks, though, and feel like they have a bit of control.24:45cn Invictus Gaming12:25Evil Geniuses usEG takes an American rampage and pushes the middle lane HARD. iG get caught out by an amazing Universe Chronosphere. Then they drop a tier 2 mid before iG can respawn.27:18cn Invictus Gaming13:30Evil Geniuses usiG pushes into the top tier 2, but EG knows they have the advantage to take iG as they route. They open the fight with an extremely well-place chronosphere (again) and take five hero kills without losing a single hero. EG's gold and experience lead are huge (over 20k for experience and 7.5k for gold).31:55cn Invictus Gaming13:30Evil Geniuses us
33:30cn Invictus Gaming13:33Evil Geniuses usWhen Roshan respawns, EG moves in to claim the Aegis as their property again. iG tries to contest, but just end up dropping three heroes to the amazing AOE and gold/xp advantage of EG's draft.35:18cn Invictus Gaming13:36Evil Geniuses us:Invictus Gaming oversteps their bounds and immediately blow up under the sheer force of a Chronosphere rotation into their own jungle. Shadow Shaman, Viper, and Pugna all die before they can even react. Now, iG lose their mid lane without the heroes to defend.39:30cn Invictus Gaming13:36Evil Geniuses usBottom tier two drops to a five-man push without contestation. EG decides to push into the tier three, but immediately defensive maneuvering forces EG to dive in to try and take out iG's heroes. A DEEP chronosphere and epicenter are not nearly as effective as EG hoped. They drop two heroes for one and are forced to retreat before taking the final 347 hp of the bottom tier 3.42:00cn Invictus Gaming15:36Evil Geniuses usRazor drills down iG's top tier 2. There's nothing iG can do. 15k gold lead and 30k experience lead for EG means this game is almost unwinnable for iG. They'll continue to try to pull the rug out from under EG, though, and need to hold on to their base. 42:00cn Invictus Gaming15:43Evil Geniuses usThere's nothing iG can do if caught out on the map. They lose four heroes to the massive damage and AOE of EG, who barely take any damage. Roshan has respawned and EG removes any trace of Radiants top lane. 45:15cn Invictus Gaming15:43Evil Geniuses usEG takes Roshan while iG can't even leave their base. The game is all but lost.46:40cn Invictus Gaming15:44Evil Geniuses usWhat could iG realistically do? After knocking down Roshan, EG simply move into iG's bottom lane, the spot of the last time this game iG exerted any sort of control, and make it clear that the game is over. As every hero from iG dives into the safety of their fountain for a few last moments of breath, they call GG. EG will take game #1 extremely decisively.
us Evil Geniuses vs Invictus Gaming cnBest of 3 - Game 2
DRAFTus Evil Geniuses0:0Invictus Gaming cnInvictus Gaming decides to pick Brewmaster, Ember Spirit, AND Mirana into EG's Doom, who is an often-picked counter for all three. Then EG picks the first Phantom Assassin of the event, which is an undefeated hero in the current patch for ca Arteezy. Invictus Gaming has a very effective mid-game for ganking or team fighting, but Evil Geniuses has extremely strong counter-initiation, especially for tower defense. Will iG even be able to consider pushing towers without first taking a three or four man wipe from their opponents?EG once again bans the Earthshaker, probably still due to near-PTSD from the extremely extended semifinals which they narrowly lost against Fnatic largely on the back of base-defending fissures EG's teamfight and reinitiation becomes even stronger with the Sand King pick, while iG holds ont to their control focus with the Rubick.PREGAMEus Evil Geniuses0:0Invictus Gaming cn
0:30us Evil Geniuses2:2Invictus Gaming cnArrow hits zai from the side-shop, where iG hid two supports. EG had no idea this was the plan and lose Sand King immediately. Upon respawning, he moves into a still-aggressively positioned iG, and take a couple kills of their own. Zai dies again for EG, bringing the first blood exchange fairly even but all-things considered in favor of iG.5:45us Evil Geniuses4:4Invictus Gaming cnAfter spending a lot of time rotating around, Mirana and her crew finally find a hero alone in the bottom lane: Mason's Doom. Doom drops, but iG decide to split as Mirana chases the courier (but is unable to secure the kill) and the rest move into the jungle to engage on rotating Brewmaster and Rubick. The split costs them, as they drop two hereoes in the exchange.
5:45us Evil Geniuses4:5Invictus Gaming cnPPD's Bane, while defending bottom, finds himself fighting three heroes suddenly as the rotating gank squad of Brewmaster, Rubick, and Mirana drop in from the North. He kites them out to the south woods and ends up dodging a sunstrike and self-denying with nightmare with a 15 health margin of error.11:20us Evil Geniuses7:6Invictus Gaming cnInvictus Gaming takes the bottom tower with the Bane dead, then rotate in for a teamfight which splits both ways (with more kills going the way of EG). However, EG is now too weak to defend their top tower and iG manages to grab another tower. Invoker uses the gold infusion to buy a quick level 1 Necronomicon.12:30us Evil Geniuses9:9Invictus Gaming cnInvictus Gaming will not be deterred. They push into the last remaining tier 1 and grab a quick win with another tier-1 tower and three kills. 15:00us Evil Geniuses9:10Invictus Gaming cnRoshan is pummeled into rubble as the iG wrecking crew moves through. EG is disinterested and spend the time farming, trying to use the opportunity to catch back up. However, after picking up an Aegis, the iG crew walks into the Southwest Radiant jungle, where they know Mason is farming up Doom due to a well-placed high-ground ward from iG.17:04us Evil Geniuses9:12Invictus Gaming cnInvictus charges down mid, stunning out Bane and erasing him from the map. Sunstrike, Sacred Arrow, and right clicks are too much for the squishy Bane to handle, especially alone. Invictus Gaming decide to take a tier 2 and a large chunk of a tier 3 for their trouble.19:00us Evil Geniuses12:18Invictus Gaming cnThe domino effect knocks EG down very hard. Arteezy finds himself caught out in the mid lane while farming, and his team runs in one at a time to save a dead man, throwing themselves under the tank treads of iG's advance. The mid tower also falls, with iG oh-so perfectly chaining all of their spells, including a huge sacred arrow chained off of Brewmaster Air-Aspect Cyclone.7500 gold and 4000 experience lead to iG.21:00us Evil Geniuses12:20Invictus Gaming cnAgain iG grabs a quick kill on Phantom Assassin, but this time both barracks fall as well. There's nothing EG can do if they can't stay together to counter-initiate, and they can't catch up if they don't split up. A very tough spot--fortunately, they take a kill on Mirana before iG is able to get more. Roshan is back up soon, though, and EG has no map vision outside of their jungle high ground and the top rune spot. They have no map control.24:01us Evil Geniuses13:22Invictus Gaming cnRosh drops as soon as he respawns and EG has no idea. They spend the time walking out to put warding into their opponents' jungle, but it's anybody's guess if they'll be able to walk that far out again before the ward expires.24::50us Evil Geniuses13:22Invictus Gaming cnThe strong slow-push moves like a plague into EG's bottom lane. They wait as iG bowls down the tower. EG continues to set up their position, trying to pick the perfect moment. But the tower drops and the moment is now or never.Batride moves in and grabs one, pulling him back. Immediate use of the Scythe of Vise and the flying pig can do little until he's turned into bacon. As iG rushes into the base, EG is forced to flood backward, losing their lane and tapping out. These finals will be going to a game #3.This is Arteezy's first loss on Phantom Assassin in the current patch, but he was kept down and picked out too often to make any significant impact on the game.
cn Invictus Gaming vs Evil Geniuses usBest of 3 - Game 3
DRAFTcn Invictus Gaming0:0Evil Geniuses usTwo big picks come out immediately: EG gets Io/Tiny, one of the most difficult to stop late-game push and mid-game gank combos in the game. However, remember that EG is going to be Dire lane, so if this is a dual-lane mid there will be no mid-lane pulling from the Io.Invictus Gaming banned out almost all teamfight heroes: Enigma, Tidehunter, and Brewmaster in the first four. They do not want to risk giving EG better late-game push, gank, AND teamfight. They follow this with a fourth-slot Kunkka to help mitigate some of the push of Tiny and HARD COUNTER the Io's potential via X Marks the Spot. In addition, iG will now have very strong teamfight control with the AOE of Kunkka and the life-saving Rum from his ult alongside the Void Chronosphere.Evil Geniuses will think about reclaiming some 5v5 potential with Sand King and Elder Titan, giving them a fair amount of AOE damage and control, but more importantly amping their ability to initiate from afar with gank or ambush potential.A Queen of Pain for iG give them some initiation and gank.PREGAMEcn Invictus Gaming0:0Evil Geniuses us
2:20cn Invictus Gaming0:0Evil Geniuses usDuring the pregame, Io and Mirana used tether to knock down the Dire side Eastern camp trees, allowing EG to easily stack both camps for the Sand King. Already they have four camps worth between the two camps, ready for Sand King to knock them down when he's ready.3:41cn Invictus Gaming1:0Evil Geniuses usEG's tiny farms too far forward on his opponents' mid-lane highground. A smoke rotation from the radiant-side jungle means an instant kil on Tiny after disruption, torrent, and sunstrike.4:38cn Invictus Gaming3:0Evil Geniuses usTiny dies again the exact same way as the first time, this time with Io dropping, too. Tiny was positioned too aggressively. He'll be forced to eat up one of the stacked dire side camps to catch up when he respawns, which means blink dagger on Sand King will be out later than expected.7:20cn Invictus Gaming4:0Evil Geniuses usA big four-man rotation mid from EG, smoke and all, leads to nothing. Mirana splits from the team as they're forced to retreat by a counter-grouping by iG. As she runs down the river instead of pulling to her mid-lane high ground, Shadow Demon is able to catch her with a disruption. The support Kunkka follows it up with another Torrent and she's dead before she hits the ground.With no towers down, iG already has a 4,000 gold and experience lead.9:20cn Invictus Gaming5:0Evil Geniuses usVoid and Queen of Pain take Sand King out with Chronosphere and Scream of Pain. Because of the heavy aggression, Tiny has basically been forced to jungle, constantly worried about being ganked again. EG has basically ignored Invoker as her farmed out the Radiant safe-lane, and he is abou 1800 above the next closes hero in terms of net worth, and almost 1600 net worth about his next-closest opponent.11:47cn Invictus Gaming7:0Evil Geniuses usTiny and Io return to lane, finally feeling like they may have a moment of safety now that there is no tower. They were wrong.A smoke rotation up through their jungle allows iG to wrap behind them and wipe both heroes extremely quickly.13:00cn Invictus Gaming9:0Evil Geniuses usRefusing to let EG make a single choice in this game, iG continues to tell them exactly when it is time to fight. EG has no choice but to comply when a Chronosphere starts a firefight in the Dire side jungle. Sand King and Io drop as a tax to the Radiant. The message is clear: you are safe nowhere.15:48cn Invictus Gaming11:0Evil Geniuses usQueen of Pain grabs Roshan at the same time that a split push works on the bottom lane. She immediately loses the Aegis diving in on EG mid, but EG still has no kills and no towers.15:48cn Invictus Gaming11:0Evil Geniuses usQueen of Pain grabs Roshan at the same time that a split push works on the bottom lane. She immediately loses the Aegis diving in on EG mid, but EG still has no kills and no towers.19:27cn Invictus Gaming11:0Evil Geniuses usAlmost 20,000 gold lead and 15,000 experience lead.
23:00cn Invictus Gaming14:0Evil Geniuses usIo drops again as he and Tiny try to fight him two-on-one. Chronosphere is enough for cn YYF to swat EG on the nose. All outer-tier towers have dropped during the slow period of this game--iG has been finding fewer pickoffs, but it is because EG has no opportunity to get out into the map. They basically give free towers and play defensively.EG has to wait for high ground.26:00cn Invictus Gaming16:0Evil Geniuses usIo and Sand King leave the base instead of waiting. They both die for their hubris, allowing iG to charge into the high ground with numbers advantage.At least EG got the tier 1 bottom with Tiny's push.27:00cn Invictus Gaming18:0Evil Geniuses usSure enough, iG charge directly into the mid lane of EG's base, taking the life of any heroes who refuse to go into the base. Roshan respawns and the mid lane falls.28:33cn Invictus Gaming22:0Evil Geniuses usIn a truly desperate maneuver, EG respawn and move into the Rosh pit, where they make slow work as their own stone giant battles with the ancient Aegis-bearing monster. They have no vision. They have no way to protect themselves. They just hope iG won't expect a move so bold. iG does. And if EG's attempts to stop iG on high-ground were considered impotent, this fight was absolute domination. Before the fight can even end, and with nowhere to run, EG calls the game. Invictus gaming become the ESL One Frankfurt Champions with no deaths and only one tower down--a nearly perfect performance against one of the world's best teams.

This article was written by us Gorgon the Wonder Cow, joinDOTA's Senior writer.Gorgon is a shoutcaster and analyst anywhere a fast tongue with top insight is required. He also like pinball and bellybutton lint. Gorgon is not his birth name.Location: Ann Arbor, MIFollow him on @GoTCoWDotA.