Chinese titan: Royal Never Give Up

They are one of the oldest esports organizations in China, a titan in League of Legends and one of the most successful Chinese teams in the international arena. However, they have never won a Worlds trophy. Let’s have a look at Royal Never Give Up's history, predominantly in LoL and partly in other games like Dota 2 or VALORANT.

RNG has been a part of the most legendary stories of League of Legends esports, one of which is definitely Uzi’s. The legendary ADC was a brand himself and his story of pursuing international success, together with RNG, made the whole thing even more magical. They reached the climax at MSI 2018, but that story contained conflicts and problems as well. Let's get into detail.

League of Legends team is formed

RNG’s LoL history started with the name Royal Club. LoL esports was a fairly new discipline in 2012, and China was no different. Royal Club secured their first LPL qualification in 2013 after a chaotic spring season. The team managed to win the LPL through the losers bracket and became China’s first seed in Worlds 2013.

Although they were the underdogs in that tournament, Royal Club took down both OMG and Fnatic, two strong teams, but they failed to repeat the same against SKT T1. That was Uzi’s first loss against Faker, a rivalry that could have gone a different direction if that series didn’t end 3-0 in favor of SKT.

Royal Club rebranded to Star Horn Royal Club in 2014, where they brought in the first Korean imports, inSec and Zero. Once again, SHRC and Uzi’s story was ended by a Korean team, after making it to finals. They faced one of the most dominating teams in the League of Legends esports history, Samsung White. Uzi’s dreams were crushed once again, leaving the team and joining their rivals Oh My God.

2015 was chaotic for the team, they couldn’t field their new promising ADC, InSec got injured and for the first time in their history, they would have to play promotion games to stay in the LPL. Even though InSec recovered just in time, Star Horn Royal Club failed to defeat Gamtee in the final game, and got relegated to the secondary league.

After a complex buyout, Royal Club formed a new team, Royal Never Give Up, leaving the old Star Horn Royal Club in the secondary league LSPL. After a poor result in LPL 2015 Summer, RNG once again went through the pain of playing promotion games, but managed to stay in the LPL.

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A new era starts

After years of success, these unfortunate situations hurt the team a lot. However, winning the NESO 2015, World Cyber Arena 2015 and making semifinals at IEM Season 10 World Championship, RNG came back stronger in 2016. Looper, LetMe, inSec, Mlxg, xiaohu, NaMei, wuxx and Mata were playing for the team, with the final six man roster leaving out inSec.

They easily destroyed their respective group in the LPL, won spring playoffs 3-1 against EDG and moved on to MSI 2016. After such a poor 2015, making it to semifinals and losing against SKT T1 was acceptable. However, SKT T1 continued to haunt the team.

Bringing back Uzi for the summer, RNG finished second and made it to Worlds 2016. Once again, a Korean team outpowered RNG in the groups, they finished 3-3 in second place after Samsung Galaxy. They had the same record as TSM, but on the last game of the day, RNG dismantled TSM with a 10-2-8 Ezreal performance from Uzi.

They once again played against SKT T1 during the quarterfinals, and once again, SKT bested them. Faker was on his all-time form during Worlds 2016, and even while they were struggling, SKT managed to get results. Once again, Uzi was the losing side of this rivalry between a mid laner and an ADC.

RNG lost LPL 2017 Spring against Team WE, but made it to Worlds 2017 as the second place once again, after losing the LPL against EDG this time. SKT T1 defeated them for the fourth time in a row during international tournaments, killing their hopes in the semifinals with a 3-2 score. Faker was once again praised by everyone for carrying his team to finals, while Uzi couldn’t take him down yet another time.

The international success arrives: MSI 2018

A great Chinese support Ming already joined the team in 2017 to replace Mata, but Mlxg was also getting old, memed as mlXD. Taiwanese prodigy Karsa joined the team, he was bullying major region teams with the sensational Flash Wolves roster for a long time now. Mlxg was still in the team, but with this new roster, consisting of Letme, Mlxg, Karsa, Xiaohu, Uzi and Ming, RNG destroyed LPL 2018 Spring Playoffs.

Following that, RNG marked the start of Chinese dominance in League of Legends. Taking down the widely-hyped Kingzone DragonX side in the MSI 2018 finals, Uzi and RNG finally reached the international achievement they were pursuing. This success was followed by an even better regular season in summer and another LPL championship. However, their story was cut short, when G2 Esports did the unthinkable, taking them down 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

Image via Riot Games

RNG was shadowed by Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix during 2018 and 2019, even teams like JD Gaming or Top Esports created more hype globally and Doinb and Rookie were looking so much stronger than Xiaohu. After a disappointing group stage elimination at Worlds 2019, Uzi decided to take a break due to his injured wrist, and RNG went through a rough patch in 2020.

Although he was a promising ADC, Betty wasn’t able to fill Uzi’s absence, especially as the team was built around the idea of having such a skilled and leading ADC. In 2020, they finished LPL ninth place, failing to make the playoffs.

Xiaohu reborn

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At the start of 2021, RNG failed to replace Langx with the top laners they tried last year, New or 705. Thus, Xiaohu announced that he would swap to top lane, and Cryin would join the team from the academy roster as the new mid laner. Karsa left his place to another young player, Wei. Although not as strong as Uzi, a young ADC with a similar style joined the team, GALA. With this new roster, RNG didn’t look like they had much chance against names like JDG, TES, FPX or EDG.

They crushed LPL. RNG went 14-2 during the spring season, dismantled FPX in the grand final, coming from the losers bracket, and after a year of absence from international stage and two years of missing MSI, they would represent China in Iceland. Their fiercest opponent was however the DWG KIA side, looking unstoppable.

During MSI 2021 and LPL 2021 Spring Season, Xiaohu was on an amazing form. He was the main carry, found his place in the meta, and got help from GALA. The only problem was they had very little impact and help from their inexperienced mid laner Cryin. Still, the team was able to take down DWG KIA and win the MSI 2021.

Probably because of burnout, after the MSI 2021 championship, RNG was on the brink of missing playoffs. Improving their form during the middle of the split, they managed to finish fourth place and make playoffs, where they were eliminated early. They still made Worlds through the regional finals, but EDward Gaming bested them 3-2 during the quarterfinals, repeating 2018 for RNG.

This year, RNG brought in a top laner who’s already among the best and who has the potential of being the actual best: Bin. They had a great result in the regular season, finishing second place with 12-4. RNG is one of the championship contenders for the season after Victory Five, and their chances got higher as V5 lost against TES, getting lowered to the losers bracket.

RNG in other games

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Royal Never Give Up also hosts a Dota 2 roster, another MOBA. Their biggest achievement is making The International 2019. RNG is generally a mediocre team from China, they qualify for most majors aside from TI but they don’t generally succeed.

A mobile MOBA game, Arena of Valor is one of the esports disciplines where RNG compete in, but they aren’t really successful there either. Another mobile MOBA where RNG competes is Wild Rift from Riot Games, they are currently fighting in the Chinese league. RNG isn’t one of the best teams there too, stuck at the middle of the league.

They had a PUBG team since 2016, but the team was disbanded in December 2020. The PUBG Mobile team was founded in 2019 but they decided to disband that roster in February this year as well. Another disbanded team of theirs was playing Rocket League before 2019. RNG’s Hearthstone branch doesn’t have much history either.

The organization was running the Chengdu representation in the Overwatch League of China, together with HUYA, but the partnership was dissolved in 2020. RNG VALORANT team is having very poor results locally, showing their presence in very low level tournaments only. All these teams show that RNG’s main focus has been on League of Legends for a long time now, and they don’t plan on changing that.

Some stats from RNG League of Legends team

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Since their rebranding as Royal Never Give Up, the team played 898 games, using 138 different champions. Through these years, five champions were played by them the most: Alistar, Gragas, Lee Sin, Nautilus and Braum. Most incredible win rates are Swain’s 80% in 25 games, Lucian’s 75% in 80 games, Gragas’ 69% in 126 games and Kai’Sa’s 66.7% in 96 games.

Xiaohu was present 885 times in the 898 games in RNG history, he is the player who has played the most games for the organization. He has tried 62 different champions, and has a 63.1% win rate with the team. The best KDA for a regularly playing player was Uzi’s 5.58 in 373 games, followed by GALA’s 5.1 in 220 games.

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