Is This The Year Of Invictus Gaming?
BurNIng's squad of talented youngbloods have more to conquer
Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei's return to glory as one of the world's most feared carries has been a long time coming. The man, after all, has been in Dota 2 and Dota 1 for almost ten years now and his pedigree as a player is practically unmatched in the Chinese scene, maybe even in the world. He was so good in his prime that IceFrog gave his favorite hero Anti-Mage the alternate name BurNIng before patch 6.77.
But iG is more than just their fiery carry player. Though BurNIng was definitely the base ingredient in iG's most recent victories, particularly their DAC 2017 win and their formidable Kiev Major run, the team's younger players were the crucial reagents.
As a contrast to BurNIng's battle-scarred figure, iG also boasts the talent of fresh faces Ou "Op" Peng, Ye "Boboka" Zhibiao, and Lin “Xxs” Jing. Op as a co-core is as formidable as BurNIng in his lane, and the teams they've come up against have been hard-pressed to stop the two as a tandem.
On top of that, Boboka's hero pool is full of draft-winning heroes such as Earth Spirit and Monkey King that his mere presence in the team is already some form of deterrent to their enemies' strategies. We wouldn’t be surprised if they were respect-banned even with the recent nerfs.
And then there's Xxs who was 16 when he first debuted as a pro with Team DK two years ago and is over a decade BurNIng's junior, but manages to hold his own despite the pressures of these large tournaments.
Any team that faces iG has the problem of not having a weakness to exploit, with each member of iG potentially taking over the game if left unchecked.
With such a dominant streak this year already, there's no doubt that their momentum points them towards even greater rewards in 2017, with the Manila Masters next in their sights. This could very well be the year of Invictus Gaming, and it's only just beginning.