Royal Never Give up have defeated Damwon Kia 3:2 to become the 2021 MSI Champions. This is the second MSI Title RNG have won and was the LPL’s third MSI victory. Despite three of RNG’s five players being international rookies, many had them as one of the pre-tournament favorites. Here’s how they confirmed that favoritism.
A Brilliant Spring Split
After 2020 being one of the worst years for RNG as an organization, they felt like it was time to make big changes. Wei came over eStar, Cryin moved into the mid lane and Xiaohu became the team’s top laner. Many fans didn’t expect these changes to work out immediately, yet RNG had an incredible round-robin, losing only two matches. Only BLG and JDG managed to take down RNG during the Spring split.
Being one of the two teams already seeded into round four and the double-elimination round, RNG had to wait their turn. FPX blew RNG out of the water in their first match back, defeating them 3:0. Having to fight their way through the lower bracket, RNG played 2 best of fives that went the distance before challenging FPX to a rematch. This time, however, they would get their revenge and emerge victoriously.
Group Stage and Rumble
RNG got placed into Group A, along with the VCS champion, the OCE champion and the CIS champion. Sadly, much like Worlds last year, the VCS representative was unable to attend, so the group had a team less. Playing against the Unicorns of Love and Pentanet.GG, RNG rocked the group, ending 8 and 0. Advancing to the rumble stage, RNG were the only undefeated team left in the tournament.
Cloud 9, Damwon Kia, MAD Lions, and PSG joined RNG and Pentanet.GG in the rumble stage. All the teams played two best-of-ones against each other, with the top four teams advancing to the playoff stage. RNG managed to beat the pre-tournament favourites Damwon Kia in both matches. However, they lost matches to MAD Lions, Cloud 9 and PSG Talon, ending in second place, behind Damwon Kia.
RNG vs PSG Talon
Damwon chose to face Mad Lions, meaning that RNG got to face PSG Talon. In game one, PSG Talon had a decent early lead, but RNG managed to pull back the reins and take over the first game of the series. In game two, PSG Talon ran away with the game, smashing RNG and tieing up the series. Game three was RNG’s turn to smash their opponents, moving a game up in the series. In the fourth game, RNG started off with a massive lead, but Doggo slowly started to claw PSG’s back into the game, pulling off some incredible plays that will go down in MSI history. Despite Doggo’s heroics, it was too little too late, and RNG would move on the the grand finals.
Grand Finals against Damwon Kia
In the final game against Damwon, once again, it was RNG who walked away with the win. In game one, Cryin kept Showmaker in check all game, allowing Wei to go where he pleased. Despite the best efforts of Ghost and Khan, RNG took game one.
Damwon bounced back in game two, pulling out a Xerath for Showmaker and giving Khan Lee Sin. The combo of Xerath’s range and Lee’s mobility proved too much for RNG’s short ranged comp to handle, and Damwon tied up the series.
RNG bounced back in game three. Despite losing out in the early game, with Ghost’s Jinx getting first blood, RNG managed to claw their way back into the game. It was at a baron fight where RNG took a 4v5, that Ming and Cryin managed to lock up all five of Damwon’s members, allowing Gala to clean up the fight. Gala would once again seek out his prey, catching out Ghost in a crucial team fight, moving RNG up 2:1 in the series.
If game three was about RNG’s bot lane carry, game four was about Damwon’s. Damwon drafted a heavy early game comp, with Nidalee for Canyon. Ghost had a monstrous performance, showing up massively on the Tristana, even picking up a pentakill. The game went to silver scraps.
However, it wasn’t meant to be for Damwon. In game five, RNG had a monstrous performance. Wei was all over the map, allowing Xiaohu and Crying to follow up on every call. RNG smashed Damwon Kia, lifting their second MSI trophy.
Congratulations to Royal Never Give Up on winning MSI 2021
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