MSI 2021 Champions Royal Never Give Up Lock in a Worlds Spot
After a perilous path through the League of Legends Summer Split and subsequent Playoffs, MSI 2021 Champions Royal Never Give Up have officially qualified for Worlds. They got dropped early in the Playoffs, falling 3-1 at the hands of LNG. Make no mistake, RNG is still a strong team. Their 3-0 victory over Team WE kicked off the Regional Finals today, and RNG made their qualification look easy. However, despite their status as MSI Champions, RNG haven’t always had a clear and easy road to international events. What was RNG’s path to Worlds, and how do they stack up against the other strong Chinese teams?
The Spring Champions That Almost Didn’t Make It to MSI
RNG may have gained a lot of clout on the global stage after a dominant performance against the vast majority of Western teams. For many reading this, you may have been surprised that RNG didn’t already qualify. However, what most people don’t know is that RNG had to fight tooth and nail to win the Spring LPL Playoffs, and they were one very close game away from dropping out of the finals.
In their loser’s bracket match against Top Esports, the LPL’s Spring Champions and subsequent MSI Champions were unbelievably close to losing their spot at MSI despite taking first place in the Spring Split. TES had the Dragon Soul and a better teamfight comp overall, but RNG managed to find a backdoor and scrape out the victory. RNG had a similarly close 3-2 win against EDward Gaming (the 2021 Summer Playoff Champions), and then fired back against FPX, the team that sent them to the loser’s bracket, with a 3-1 win. Sure, Royal Never Give Up ended up being the MSI 2021 Champions, but their path to the event was made up of narrow victories and clutch moments from GALA and Xiaohu.
MSI Burnout Hits Hard
Like all the other teams that went to MSI from major regions, RNG had a bit of a slump going into the Summer Split. RNG still ended with a very respectable 4th place in the LPL’s Summer Split, but tragedy struck for the MSI Champions during Playoffs. RNG got knocked out in their very first set against LNG in one of the year’s biggest upsets. Ultimately, this loss landed RNG in 5-6th place for the Summer Playoffs.
All that said, RNG isn’t even close to dead yet. Their 3-0 win against Team WE this morning felt like a return to form. GALA, RNG’s star player and the MSI MVP, was known for picking Kai’Sa in the vast majority of games. His biggest wins were on this champion, and an MVP award with 16 out of 27 games on Kai’Sa doesn’t lie. However, despite Kai’Sa’s poor position in the current meta, GALA is still making big plays.
Ultimately, RNG looks weaker than FPX and EDG this time around if we’re going purely off of the Summer Split’s final results. However, RNG doesn’t seem like a washed-up team. Rather, the competition in China is just that close. No one can take the MSI 2021 Champion status away from Royal Never Give Up. The LPL is one of the most unpredictable regions in the World, and every team that comes out of the LPL has potential to make it far on the world stage.