After losing their spot to Korea as the best region in the world, China reclaimed their place after seeing their representative Royal Never Give Up win the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational by taking down DWG KIA in five games in the MSI 2021 finals.
Relative to China’s lack of success from the past year, for RNG, in particular, it had been three years since they last hosted an international trophy in glee. Back in 2018, they were led by their legendary ADC Uzi as he broke their glaring curse of failing to win silverware on the international stage. His teammates included Xiaohu and Ming, the mid laner and support who would ultimately lend a hand in winning the MSI 2021 finals.
However, for the two players involved, they had to rebuild their roster before laying waste to their competition in Iceland. RNG picked up talented but unproven players such as GALA, Wei, and Cryin for the 2021 season after delivering a lacklustre 2020 where they missed out on the LPL summer playoffs and a possible ticket to Worlds. As for Xiaohu, he even switched positions from mid lane to the top as the team couldn’t find a suitable player in time to occupy the top.
Various questions came about regarding the makeup of RNG’s lineup, but they eventually silenced those doubts to conquer the LPL, and soon enough, the world.
Here are the highlights of each game in the MSI 2021 finals.
The grand finals started off with RNG continuing to exhibit its seemingly untameable strategy of aggressive play and precise objective control. As a result of winning a few fights in the early game, RNG built its lead to where they reached Soul Dragon point by the 22nd-minute mark. That allowed RNG to overtake the scaling of DWG’s draft which notably included Akali for ShowMaker and snowball their advantage.
Try as DWG might with their own victories during Game 1, their cause was ultimately smitten as GALA’s patented Kai’Sa, Xiaohu’s Gragas, and Cryin’s Lucian trampled their nexus to gain an early series lead.
As DWG was looking to tie the series, their mid-laner ShowMaker decided to bust out the off-meta pocket pick against RNG with his selection of Xerath, a champion which hadn’t seen competition in any of the 12 major regions all year and whose prowess was showcased in team fights with his superior range compared to Orianna.
Though DWG struggled in the beginning of the match to RNG’s trademark aggressiveness, shortly after gaining the Infernal drake, they overtook RNG off the back of ShowMaker’s potency with his ultimate and Ghost’s Tristana fighting on the frontline, tying with the LPL champions in drakes and being in front by 7k gold at 26 minutes.
Worst of all for the Chinese, should they retreat, Khan can kick them back to DWG with his Lee Sin, creating a hopeless situation altogether.
Although the series’ third game was played in a stalemate for the first 23 minutes, the breakaway came in the 25th minute following DWG’s killing of RNG jungler Wei and their quick move to take Baron. When the Korean team dashed for the neutral objective, RNG followed suit and, after support Ming’s engagement with Leona in the pit, GALA used his Kai’Sa ultimate at the right moment to notch a triple kill. That play built RNG’s gold lead to 3k as the game reached the 30-minute mark.
Later, with both teams sandwiching the bottom Tier-2 tower of red side, GALA dashed with the Killer Instinct to kill Jinx and deal the finishing blow to DWG’s chances in this game. It was yet another riveting performer for the 20-year-old ADC with his signature champion of this split, but with his 11-3 record while playing her in MSI 2021, was anyone surprised in seeing this showing come about?
For the draft, DWG opted for an early-game centric composition, situating Renekton for ShowMaker and Aatrox for Khan to repel RNG’s Gragas and Ryze power scaling by not giving them a chance to do so.
Not only that, with Canyon’s superiority in the jungle from the outset, his maneuvering with Nidalee utterly trounced Wei’s potential of laying any stake in the game with Udyr. A champion on Level 16 vs another on Level 11? It’s not that hard to see who will win in a fight between those two.
While RNG’s GALA shone brightly in Game 3 to continue consolidating his stardom as the next big Chinese ADC, DWG’s Ghost reminded him and the rest of the world why he is among the best team in League today. Nothing best exemplified his claim to the throne of his position than his Penta kill at the top lane in the red side.
Taking that into account, DWG subsequently marched into RNG’s base to trounce the latter’s hopes for another MSI title for one more game and deliver the first Game 5 in the competition’s history since 2015.
RNG opened the series’ final game in grand style as their quick ganks shot them to a sizeable 2k gold lead in addition to the destruction of DWG’s first outer turret in the top lane. Headed by GALA’s Kai’Sa, Cryin’s Nocturne and his paralyzing Paranoia ultimate that separated DWG’s players from each other during fights, RNG’s dominance, particularly in the kill column, continued with the game transitioning to the middle portion at 17-3 by the 22-minute mark.
DWG upended RNG’s initial advance to destroy their nexus and prolong their wait for a few minutes, but their attempts to turn the game were futile as the strength RNG gained throughout the game proved to be too much for them to neutralize. With no pushback from DWG, RNG went ahead and ended the game by destroying that nexus to win their second international tournament in the franchise’s history and restore the LPL’s pole position in competitive League of Legends.