The final Intel Extreme Masters event of 2013 was held in Singapore on the final week of November. 6 regional teams were invited to this tournament: the Taipei Snipers and Assassins, Singapore Sentinels, the Saigon Jokers, Invictus Gaming, and CJ Entus Frost. The format is a Best of Three single elimination tournament, with Invictus and CJ Frost receiving a bye into the semifinals. VoDs for this tournament can be found here via Youtube.
IEM Singapore Quarterfinals:
The broadcast started off with some unfavorable news; the match between the Saigon Jokers and Taipei Assassins would not be streamed due to time scheduling conflicts with the Garena Pro League. The Saigon Jokers won two consecutive matches over the Taipei Assassins, but the details of the matches were not discussed on the ESL broadcast.
Taipei Snipers versus Singapore Sentinels
Both matches were fairly one sided, with TPS Zonda playing a top lane Rengar in both matches against the Sentinels. SGS also picked a mid lane Malphite in both matches, which was a dominating force in the early game. As the matches progressed, the Snipers were able to split well enough that the overwhelming damage from Malphite would be centered onto a single target, while the remaining carries would be able to provide a greater sustained DPS than the Sentinels. The Snipers quickly forced down objectives through pressure from the Rengar split push. The SGS line-up favored a massive grouped 5v5 fight, where TPS were content with stalling the fight and pressuring towers down.
In the end, both teams played well. The Snipers ran compositions favoring the heavy pressure from Rengar and gradual, sustained DPS, while the Sentinels opted for high burst damage, enough to eliminate 1 to 2 carries in the fight, which would lower the overall DPS output of the Snipers. Through careful positioning and pressing early game advantages, TPS were able to 2-0 SGS, with both matches lasting an average of 39 minutes.
IEM Singapore Semifinals:
After an impressive performance on the previous day, Taipei Snipers came into the series against the Chinese Invictus Gaming with confidence.
Game 1: Taipei Snipers vs Invictus Gaming
|TPS Bans||iG Bans|
|TPS Picks||iG Picks|
The Snipers decided that the Rengar pick worked well against the Singapore Sentinels, so why not try it against Invictus. The other picks assume a fast objective taking composition, with Lulu to keep the Rengar/Kassadin alive long enough in the dive engagements. iG ran a standard poke composition with Renekton and Vi for a sturdy front line.
Invictus had an incredibly strong early game, having crisp rotations between ganking and dragon objectives, but the dives from iG before the 15 minute mark were reckless and TPS capitalized. After taking two early towers, TPS was not able to secure any more objectives and quickly fell behind to the siege of iG.
A teamfight broke out at the 22-minute mark, where Renekton was able to absorb most of damage from TPS while Nidalee and Ezreal were able to poke down the high priority targets. After winning a decisive teamfight, iG took three towers and gained full map control over the Snipers. iG cautiously waited until a 31-minute baron, which gave Invictus the strength to close the match out shortly thereafter.
Game 2: Invictus Gaming v Taipei Snipers
|iG Bans||TPS Bans|
|iG Picks||TPS Picks|
Invictus picked up three highly contested picks in their first two rounds, when the Snipers had taken some arguably weaker picks in the first 2 rounds of the draft. iG ran a Jungle Fiddlesticks (when it was expected to be a support Fiddle), and TPS ran a bottom lane Jayce (which was looking to be put top at that point in the draft). iG waned to dive deep and secure kills, while TPS would use Rengar for split pressure and Jayce/Jarvan for tower siege.
This match went by rather quick with the item of the game being Mejai’s Soulstealer. This item was picked up on the mid lane Kassadin, as well as the jungle Fiddlesticks. This only intensified the potency of Kassadin’s snowball power, who quickly became out of control, securing 6 kills/7 assists without dying once. The raw strength of iG’s dive composition overpowered a low-income TPS team. The match was one-sided, with iG taking a convincing 2-0 victory to advance into the grand finals on Day 3.
The second series of the semi-finals puts Korean powerhouse CJ Frost against the Saigon jokers. The Jokers received much praise from the casters, but the VoD’s from the previous day’s matches were unavailable from ESL. CJ Frost came into the match as heavy favorites.
Game 1: Saigon Jokers v CJ Frost
|SAJ Bans||CJF Bans|
|SAJ Picks||CJF Picks|
The match started and ended in the first few minutes when Ziggs was able to score a double kill onto Gragas and Aatrox, culminating into a 4 minute Chalice of Harmony along with double buffs. Nunu, combined with Twitch and Riven, were able to shove down towers with just 1-2 minion waves, resulting in all outer towers falling before the 12-minute mark. CJ Frost had remarkable control over objectives and map presence, completely shutting out all lanes and taking a 17-minute Baron.
The game was a stomp, with CJ Frost picking up 21 kills (with only 4 deaths) in a 23 minute and 43 second game. The Jokers looked outclassed by a dominant CJ Frost, which only fueled the confidence of Frost.
Game 2: CJ Frost v Saigon Jokers
|CJF Bans||SAJ Bans|
|CJF Picks||SAJ Picks|
The tempo for this match was set when Blitzcrank was able to set up 2 kills onto Lucian at level 2 against a level 1 Thresh/Caitlyn. Orianna shut out Gragas very early in the game, doubling his CS by the 8th minute of the match.
This match was much more casual than the previous match, with Frost making overconfident decisions by trying to clean up kills unsuccessfully. Even when playing quite sloppy, CJ Frost were able to suppress the gold income of the Jokers by rushing objectives and aggressively forcing back opponents during the lane phase. CJ Frost scored an average 5 CS per minute higher (as a team), and an additional 700gpm more than the Jokers (as a team). CJ Frost closed the match out at 25:40, with 16 kills and 8 deaths. CJ Frost had won their way into the finals to play against China’s Invictus Gaming.
IEM Singapore Grand Finals:
The history shared between CJ Frost and Invictus Gaming can be traced back to the Season Two World Championship Series. iG was defeated by the Moscow 5 in the round of 8, while Frost lost in the grand finals against the Taipei Assassins. The history runs deeper, with both teams not qualifying for Season 3 World Championship Series, both falling one ranking short of making it to the World Stage again. Both teams are out to prove themselves as the IEM Singapore Champion, but only one team can hold that title.
Game 1: Invictus Gaming versus CJ Frost
|iG Bans||CJF Bans|
|iG Picks||CJF Picks|
The bans for iG were targeted towards CJ Frost jungler, Helios, as his early jungle pressure helps snowball lanes, leading to a quick victory. CJ Frost banned against the champions that were dominant in the previous day’s games: Nidalee, Kassadin, and Renekton. Invictus ran a composition that favored high durability and crowd control, with Ezreal having great survivability from Orianna and Shen. CJ Frost were looking to have Shy split push alone on Riven while Ziggs and Lucian would siege down towers quickly. Evelynn was the wild card, who can be used to create the early lane pressure, force iG to invest heavily into Vision Wards throughout the game, and a pose the threat of a flanked assault onto Oriana, Sona, and Ezreal.
CJ Frost had an incredible timing attack, where they destroyed the top outer tower and rotated immediately to the enemy blue for a steal. The precise nature of this timing attack is much more than coincidence and truly demonstrates the preparation of world-class teams. Evelynn was given two kills by the 10-minute mark which pressured iG to increase the number of Vision Wards out on the map.
The early game favored CJ Frost until Frost began to underestimate the power and omnipresence of Shen. On several occasions, Shen was able to turn the tide of the fight in favor of Invictus. Once CJ Frost were unable to create picks with Evelynn and Riven, the composition of Frost fell behind and Invictus pressured objectives as 4, plus the ultimate of Shen.
iG took full control of the game when CJ Frost committed all of its resources into catching an out of position Ezreal. This led to an out of position Frost, quickly losing their carries and dying in front of the Baron pit. iG took the uncontested Baron, and then destroyed all three inner towers with the first Baron buff.
Invictus took their time, patiently sieging turrets and waiting for Baron to capitalize. Ziggs was able to steal the Baron from Invictus, but at the price of three memebers of Frost. At this point, the kills have become heavily favored towards Invictus, with Frost throwing everything to stop the iG push. Ultimately, CJ Frost was unable to stop Zzitai’s 13/0/11 Orianna and kid’s 9/1/17 Lucian, with both nearing their full 6-item power apex before 40 minutes. Invictus defeated CJ Frost through greater team coordination and early Vision control to suppress Evelynn.
Game 2: CJ Frost versus Invictus Gaming
|CJF Bans||iG Bans|
|CJF Picks||iG Picks|
The ban strategies of both teams were similar as the previous match, with iG having to take the mandatory purple side ban on Nidalee, and Frost banning out Annie. The team composition for CJ Frost is to create the early game pressure with Nunu visiting lanes and early dragon control, which would give Frost the lane advantage against a team fight oriented Invictus line up. iG are going with a massive zone control line up, with all members having the ability to cut a sections of the battlefield to areas in which Frost cannot fight. Fiddlesticks would be utilized to shut down the assassination attempts from Rengar and Fizz, as well as create picks on those out of position. The way that illuSioN played Fiddlesticks was similar to a support Fiddlesticks by maxing his Terrify and Dark Wind crow throw, but allowed for a greater income to increase his CDR and damage output.
This match started off wonderfully for Invictus, with Fizz giving first blood to Gragas, and Rengar botching a dive against Rumble top. The presence of Nunu in the lanes was much less noticeable compared to Frost’s games against the Saigon Jokers, while Fiddlesticks was participating in ganks the moment he hit level 6. iG had taken a considerable advantage early game, collecting all three outer towers before Frost took their first.
MakNooN playing Fizz was not having a good game, with the inability to dive while Fiddlesticks was around, and the starvation of early game farm. Fizz purchased his first major item, Lichbane, after the 19 minute mark, which gave iG more time to gain more levels to survive the Fizz burst. His opponent, Zzitai on Gragas, was having a field day with 2 kills and a 70cs advantage over Fizz.
The sequence for the power of iG’s composition is shown at the 21 minute mark. Nami engaged with her Tidal Wave, which missed Frost but cut off any flanking routes around iG. Fiddlesticks created a zone with Crowstorm where Frost would not want to enter until its duration was complete. Gragas’ Explosive Cask forced away the back line of Frost and shoved the front line forward. Rumble’s Equalizer pinned Rengar back and put Twitch into a bad position, where Lucian unleashed the Culling intersecting the escape route of the Equalizer. This decisive teamfight was the defining moment in which Frost would not be able to stand up against the composition of iG in a 5v5 setting.
The strategy for CJ Frost changed, where Frost would have Fizz split push/farm while the other four lurked to create picks on separated Invictus members. This strategy worked initially, but the split push by Fizz was easily shut down, and iG started to roam as a unit. Ultimately, the siege and threat zone of Invictus was too much for Frost, who did not have adequate means to clear out minion waves on the turret. The jungle Fiddlesticks played magnificently, participating in 75% of all the kills for Invictus and showcasing the power of the Chinese team fight strategies.
Invictus Gaming defeated CJ Frost 2-0 to become the IEM Singapore 2013 Champions, earning close to $25,000 USD. While the matches against CJ Frost were much closer than the matches against the Taipei Snipers, Invictus showed dominance through team work and clever adaptations to opponents. For those looking to find out more about Invictus Gaming, VoD’s for the Tencent LoL Pro League (LPL) 2013 Summer can be found here via Leaguepedia.