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Recapping the Honor of Kings Istanbul Invitational Season 1

After over a week of intense battling, Brazil’s Vivo Keyd Stars was crowned champion at the groundbreaking Honor of Kings Invitational Season 1 in Istanbul, Türkiye.

After overthrowing fellow countrymen Alpha7 Esports at the grand finals, Vivo Keyd Stars walked away with the lion’s share of US$100,000 from the event’s impressive US$300,000 pot. They also secured an automatic advancement to Season 2’s showdown, on the road to the US$3 million Midseason clash in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia come August.

Alpha7 Esports, while defeated, returned home US$50,000 richer nonetheless.

Vivo Keyd Stars post-victory on stage.

The grand finals were based on a best-of-five format. Both teams appeared cautious in the initial stages, making only two kills in the first seven minutes. As the game went on, we saw Vivo Keyd Stars playing an objective-focused game, ducking team fights and taking out turrets across the map to build momentum.

(Read more: Top 5 moments of Istanbul’s Honor of Kings Invitational Season 1)

By the middle mark, we saw Vivo Keyd Stars turning the game around as they systematically picked off Alpha7 Esports in their jungle. The latter tried to make a quick kill of the Overlord to gain a boost in their attack strength and health regeneration, but that failure allowed Vivo Keyd Stars to steal that buff instead.

In the final fight at Alpha7 Esports’ base, Vivo Keyd Stars took out all the turrets to get an Ace, ending the tournament in just under 16 minutes.

We are friends with Alpha7 Esports, they are a very good team and it was not an easy series.

Vivo Keyd Stars’ “WindRJ”

“It was a very tough tournament, but we were a good team and practiced a lot for the game. We lost to Alpha7 Esports 0-2 before, so we felt really happy that we won today,” said Felipe “Niap” Vinicius de Sousa Fantinati, Vivo Keyd Stars’ top-laner.

Teammate Matheus “WindRJ” Moreira Braga added: “We are friends with Alpha7 Esports, they are a very good team and it was not an easy series. It was a great game.”

Dramatic tie for third

Türkiye’s FUT Esports and United Arab Emirates’ Stalwart Esports tied for third-fourth placing. FUT Esports showed remarkable fortitude and skills to finish first in the Group A bracket before bowing out against the eventual champions in the Semi Finals.

Stalwart Esports finished third in Group B during the group stage, in a fierce match that took more than 29 minutes to play out—the longest match in the tournament. Later, they faced off against the eventual Number 2, Alpha7 Esports who swept the UAE team 3-0.

The esports action continues with the Honor of Kings 2024 Open Series that kicks off on the 19th of May, ending in the finals on the 26th of May.

(Read more: A path to pro play through the Open Series)

The Open Series is aimed at lowering the barrier to entry to allow players to qualify for the Season 2 of the Invitationals. Winning teams will meet top global teams at the Mid Season Esports World Cup in Saudi Arabia.

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