- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Chinese juggernauts Royal Never Give Up (RNG) have secured a spot in the grand finals of the League of Legends (LoL) Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022, after sweeping Evil Geniuses (EG) 3-0 in the semifinals of the Knockout Stage.
RNG had a dominant run throughout the MSI, even if they have been playing all of their MSI matches remotely because of travel restrictions in China due to COVID-19.
The defending champions completed a perfect 4-0 Group Stage run, even after having to replay matches due to a latency issue the offline teams faced in Busan.
RNG went on to defeat EG in the first game of the Rumble Stage. However, their next game ended in an upset loss to G2.
The Chinese squad recovered in the following three days, winning seven games against other teams before losing a game to T1 on the Rumble Stage's final day. RNG ended the Rumble Stage with the best record at 8-2.
Meanwhile, this year's MSI marks EG's first international showing, featuring a fair mix of rookies and veterans on the squad.
So far, this squad has lived up to the promise, finishing second in Group C behind G2 Esports during the group stage.
EG began the Rumble Stage with a defeat against reigning champions RNG, but later that day won a match against Saigon Buffalos. After another defeat to G2 on Day 2, EG were able to rebound by defeating PSG Talon in an upset win.
On Day 3, EG fell to T1 before winning against Saigon Buffalos, continuing their inconsistent record.
On Day 4, the North American team received some retribution against T1, but they were unable to defeat RNG on the same day.
EG prevailed over PSG Talon on the last day of the Rumble Stage before losing to G2 again. As a result, EG barely snuck into the Knockout Stage with a 5-5 record.
While RNG won all three games in the Knockout Stage semifinals, EG did not go down without a fight.
The North American challengers were kicking, screaming, and clawing their way all throughout the series, and making the defending champions work hard for that grand finals slot.
Here’s a breakdown of the series between RNG and EG:
RNG dominated game one, starting things off by winning in all lanes. EG were unable to defend themselves against the siege from the defending champions as their attempts for a comeback were easily shut down by their Chinese opponents.
With an 8,000 gold deficit against RNG, EG attempted a flank at the Baron pit in an attempt to get the bounty on Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin’s Gwen. However, RNG pulled off a masterful defence, turning the teamfight around to secure the Baron.
And after a 27-minute siege, RNG took the first game with an overwhelming 22-1 kill lead in a statement win to open the semifinals.
EG fought back in the second game by finding plenty of opportunities to outplay the Chinese juggernauts in the laning phase, like shutting down Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-hao in the mid lane and taking a kill in the top lane.
The North American challengers continued to find plays in the river by the Dragon pit and even successfully won a teamfight against their Chinese opponents.
However, RNG used their teleport advantage to even up the gold and kill count after EG took out two of their members.
EG’s youngest player, Joseph Joon "jojopyun" Pyun with his Ahri pick, was the game-changer in teamfights, where the North American squad always found a win condition that kept them alive in the game.
As EG tried to close off the game by taking the Baron buff, RNG’s Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei stole the Baron, but the Chinese squad lost the ensuing teamfight.
RNG found a way to secure the upper hand, however, after taking down EG’s main damage-dealer, Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki, in the mid lane. That allowed the defending champions to bulldoze their way through EG’s mid lane.
With few options left, EG were able to clear the wave that nearly finished the game. But RNG’s gold advantage started to show as EG struggled to keep map control.
RNG finally sealed the deal as they aced EG to finally push mid one last time. After destroying EG's Nexus after 35 minutes and with a 19-15 kill lead, the defending champions got themselves to match point.
In a do-or-die third game, EG once again took the aggressive route, making plays and trading kills with their opponents. Jojopyun and Danny’s counterplays made it difficult for their opponents to simply cruise through.
The more experienced RNG continued to route the rookies across the map, further establishing their dominance.
EG would not go down without a fight though, surprising everyone with an ace on RNG in the Baron pit and taking the Baron immediately after.
This game of cat and mouse continued as RNG kept shooting down EG’s win conditions. But the young guns pulled off one miracle play after another to delay the game.
With a flank led by Kacper "Inspired" Słoma and Jojopyun, the North Americans found yet another miracle fight in the mid lane where they swept all of RNG except Wei, allowing them to freely take the Baron once again and pushing RNG’s lanes closer to their Nexus.
RNG tried to re-establish themselves in the mid lane in a lengthy, bloody encounter that allowed them to rush back to EG's base.
Just as it seemed like RNG was about to take the win with only Jojopyun left to defend the Nexus, he found another kill again at the Nexus, keeping his team in the game yet again.
EG chased down low-health RNG members out of their base and took the Elder Drake for themselves. In response, as soon as all members of RNG respawned, the Chinese team took the Baron to prevent EG from pushing further.
Both teams kept looking for ways to end the game, but after Xiaohu deleted Jojopyun in a final team fight, RNG finally had the upper hand and ended the game after a bloody 43-minute encounter with a 27-16 kill lead, securing their MSI grand finals slot in the process.
Meanwhile, EG bow out of the competition with their heads high in 3rd-4th place and with US%25,000 in consolation.
For a very young North American team’s first time on the international stage, EG have proven that they are a team that deserved international recognition.
And with the team's perfect mix of talented prodigies and experienced veterans who can mentor and share their expertise, who knows what other surprises they can pull off this year?
The next semifinal match will be on Saturday (28 May), featuring a showdown between long-time international rivals G2 Esports and T1.
RNG will be facing the victors of the G2-T1 semifinals match in the 2022 MSI best-of-five grand finals series on Sunday (29 May).
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.