Royal Never Give Up successfully defends their title at MSI 2022

MSI 2022 is over and after an unforgettable series, Royal Never Give Up won the third MSI title in their history. Defeating T1 3-2 in a back and forth best-of-five, RNG also won two MSI's in a row, being the second team to ever achieve that and the first team to ever win three MSI titles.

For RNG, their MSI 2022 journey was mostly free of obstacles with a single enemy worth mentioning: T1, a team that followed RNG all through their history and defeated them or eliminated them several times. T1 was able to defeat them once during the Rumble Stage and proceeded to push them to the edge in the grand finals, but RNG managed to win both the draft and the game to take their nemesis down for the first time. Watch our tribute for RNG's victory below:

RNG’s journey to MSI 2022 finals

Surely, Royal Never Give Up had a great roster but they weren’t even the favourite for LPL at the start of the year. Victory Five and LNG Esports created more hype, the Worlds 2021 winners EDG too. However, RNG emerged victorious in China by taking down all those teams that were considered better than them and secured the ticket to MSI.

But, the quarantine measures would’ve stopped RNG or basically any other Chinese team from attending MSI 2022 on-site. This time, Riot Games stepped in to include the best region in LoL esports in MSI 2022, they moved the tournament to Busan, South Korea and introduced artificial ping to ensure fair competition.

Even though there were problems at first, Riot managed to take things under control. Still, most argue that the 35 ping affected teams that are used to play at offline settings poorly, such as South Korean players who compete with pings as low as 6 not only in professional leagues but also in SoloQ.

Image via Riot Games

RNG faced PCS’ PSG Talon, Brazil’s RED Canids and Turkey’s Istanbul Wildcats on the first round. Just like last year, the Chinese champions didn’t drop a single game against these minor region representatives. The real MSI 2022 for Royal Never Give Up started on Rumble Stage.

T1’s 20-0 record (26-0 after group stage), RNG being such a strong LPL champion and G2 Esports managing to win their first game against RNG and T1 to get fans to believe in them made them the MSI 2022 favourites already. After their defeat against G2, RNG wouldn’t take another loss until the final game against T1. They were the favourite until then but that single win made everyone question their strength.

RNG’s first opponent in a best of five was Evil Geniuses, the North American representatives. While everyone was expecting a fast 3-0, EG proved they aren’t here to let RNG bully them. After a pretty bad first game, EG managed to give answers to RNG, even though they couldn’t steal one, they walked out with their pride intact. However, RNG looked bad before their finals against T1, and the Korean fans were even more confident after their strong victory against G2 Esports.

Royal Never Give Up vs T1: MSI 2022 Grand Final

One team attending from their home and one team actually playing in their home, in their country. RNG would have the side-picking advantage for the first game as they are the higher seed, which may have affected the fate of the series.

In the first game, RNG took two of the most played champions of MSI 2022: Gwen and Viego. Managing to stop T1’s bot lane from affecting the game, playing team fights better than T1 and getting Gwen immensely fed, RNG found their first victory. Fed means a 13-0-3 Gwen performance from Bin by the way, it was a nightmare.

Getting the blue side, Jinx - Tahm Kench and Lissandra, T1 looked much more better for the second game, with Zeus also on Gangplank, a champion he looked very comfortable with. Especially thanks to their bot lane popping off, Gumayusi’s 6-0-2 Jinx and Keria’s genius Tahm Kench, T1 tied the series.

However, they forgot to ban Gwen for the third game, after such a stomp in the first one.You would expect them to ban the champion and take a different route but they once again believed they could take down Gwen. Blind picking Ahri and give Xiaohu Lissandra definitely didn’t help either. Even if they won some team fights, the game was in a place that’s unrepairable: RNG closed out the game in 28 minutes, with a 24-8 score.

T1 got Zeus on Gnar duty for the fourth game, Oner on Wukong once again, Faker on LeBlanc and managed to get Jinx - Tahm Kench bot lane also. For the first 27 minutes, the only two kills in the game were taken by RNG, but the gold difference was around 3000 in favour of T1. T1 won one team fight and that was enough to make it official: they slowly boiled RNG and they finished the game before 30-minute mark.

The fifth game, T1 once again didn’t ban Gwen, gave away Lissandra after blind picking Ahri and Wei, the star of the first four games, got his hands on Lee Sin. Although some thought it was playable, for many T1 fans, the game was doomed. RNG won every single lane while T1’s superstar Keria played Yuumi, every play they tried blew up on their face and they looked helpless. RNG won the last game 15-3 in 26 minutes, an anti-climactic end for such a great series.

Wei, with his MVP award - Image via Riot Games

RNG had to lift the trophy in their homes for this time, but we will be looking forward to seeing them back at Worlds. T1 suffered a loss that they didn’t for a long time this year, and watching them trying to get back up and make it to Worlds to be a contender will definitely be an amazing story as well.

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