Growing up fast: “Youth” squad Invictus Gaming.Vitality hoping to make its mark in Seattle
With this year’s iteration of The International fast approaching, it seems appropriate to offer fans both new and old a breakdown of who it is they’re going to be watching in Seattle. This series of posts will each be dedicated to one of the 18 teams that will be participating in The International 2017, with the aim of giving readers a brief overview of the teams, their position coming into TI, and what their expectations might be. Please note that these posts will not contain a comprehensive history of the teams, nor will they go into minute detail for each of the players. There are more thorough breakdowns for teams and players available out there, a la SirActionSlacks’ “TI Down Low” series. These posts aim to provide something more akin to an “in a nutshell” level of information. Today we begin looking at our Chinese Qualified teams, beginning with the winner of the Chinese Qualifier and the second team playing under the Invictus Gaming banner – Invictus Gaming.Vitality
If you’re wondering why there are two teams in the field of teams at TI7 playing under the Invictus Gaming organization, then you probably aren’t familiar with the concept of “youth” teams. This is a system that is often employed in China, and the western scene has never really adopted it for itself, with western organization preferring to focus upon a single roster. Chinese organizations will often sponsor and employ multiple teams, with one roster containing the “main” players whilst the other serves as a “youth” team with the focus of developing younger or less experienced talent. In the case of Invictus Gaming.Vitality, that younger talent has developed at a heavily accelerated rate, with the squad managing to build itself up to a level where it has the opportunity to face the same level of competition as the organization’s main roster.
An important part of Invictus Gaming.Vitality’s development as a team has come from maintaining a consistent roster. Many teams in the field at TI7 have made roster changes between TI’s or major events, with some even making changes within the last few months. IG.V has made no such changes. As a matter of fact, IG.V haven’t made a single change to its roster in over a year. That roster consistency gives IG.V more time to develop stronger chemistry and hone in one which tactics, strategies, and draft styles work best for its players.
Going into TI, Invictus Gaming.Vitality does not have an impressive track record in terms of recent performances. The roster has struggled to find its footing of late, with the occasional encouraging performance being largely outweighed by string of less than stellar results. IG.V seem to fall within the same position that many teams find themselves in when looking to establish a position among the world’s best. The team has skill and potential, but haven’t quite been able to put them together for consistent stretches of time. Because of these inconsistent results, the expectations for IG.V at TI don’t appear to be very high. However, IG.V’s flashes of skill and high level play give fans hope that the squad may just have put all the pieces together for a strong run in Seattle.
Invictus Gaming.Vitality has had some struggles so far this season. The team placed within the Bottom 8 at both the Boston and Kiev Majors, and has not placed higher than 4th in any non-qualifier event so far in 2017. Even in recent months, IG.V has struggled to put up strong results, having failed to qualify for 3 straight tournaments and finishing in the 5th/6th position at Galaxy Battles in a field of 8 teams. It hasn’t been all bad for IG.V though, as the team has a few solid performances that hint at the potential of the Chinese squad. The team earned a 4th place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championship 2017 and a 3rd/4th place finish at the Zotac Cup Masters in May. IG.V brought its pre-TI season to a close with the TI7 Chinese Qualifiers, where the team was able to dominate its regional rivals for a 7-2 record that secured it a spot at TI7.
Invictus Gaming.Vitality has come into the spotlight of the Dota 2 world at an incredibly fast rate. The team is striving to move beyond the stigma associated with “youth” teams in China and establish itself as a true contender. Despite a consistent and cohesive roster and flashes of strong play and potential, the Chinese squad hasn’t been able to find its footing for consistent periods of time. Even with this issue plaguing it, the team has managed to fight its way to TI, having beaten out many of its regional competitors to win the Chinese Qualifier. Perhaps this victory in the qualifier is a sign that IG.V has figured out its formula for success. Time will tell if the youth squad can truly come into its own in Seattle.