RNG Won The 2021 MSI Finals Over DWG KIA - And Here's How They Did It
China’s Royal Never Give Up have won their second League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) as an organisation (and the third for the region), after they took series that went the distance versus Korea’s DAMWON KIA. The teams traded games up until the fifth and final game, in which RNG decisively took control from the start and never let go.
RNG and DK opened up their best-of-series with a highly contested game one, in which RNG had the upper hand for the duration. By the 10-minute mark, RNG had First Blood from earlier in the game and had accrued a gold lead passively. This prompted them to start the first Rift Herald of the game in which DK decided to contest. RNG’s positioning in the team fight was stellar, with their AD Carries getting to deal damage from the back — they separated DK’s members and focused them down accordingly. This netted RNG a team fight win and the first Herald of the game.
Nothing would happen for the next eight minutes until Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu decided to play the waiting game in the top lane for a gank. This long-awaited gank did net them a kill, but it was to the detriment of the Korean representatives as RNG took Infernal Soul point and mid-lane tier one tower. Shortly after this, at 20 minutes, DK once again find a play in the top lane after Heo “ShowMaker” Su solo kills Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao. This gives DK the green light to utilise their numbers advantage in the mid lane and look for a fight. This goes poorly, as RNG turned it around.
Nearly three minutes later, Xiaohu finds the picture-perfect Gragas engage onto Canyon. A body slam plus cask combo was all that was needed to get RNG a two for zero and an Infernal buff. DK would later punch back at the 25-minute mark; although this fight started with no team biting the bullet, it ultimately concluded with DK getting a three for one team fight win. This meant that Baron was on the menu for DK, but a crucial pick from RNG’s Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei stopped that in its tracks.
The closeness continued in the next team fight at 30 minutes for Elder Dragon. It had RNG’s Chen “GALA” Wei jump into the dragon pit and steal the buff. But in the end, Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Kim “Khan” Dong-ha lived to clean up the fight in DK’s favour. This didn’t discourage RNG, though, as they made the call to decisively take down Baron before DK could even act; this nets RNG the mid-lane inhibitor and eventually the game.
RNG took the lead early on in game two after a botched Herald attempt from DK. Although it seemed like a good start to the fight for DK, RNG still turned it around. RNG dogpiled onto a flashless Ghost, eventually cleaning up the fight and took the buff. This put DK down early.
Even in a big hole early in the game, DK managed to slowly claw back into the game with a number of plays. This all culminated with DK coming back to parody. Past this, RNG went for the third dragon, but ShowMaker steals it. This prompted a forced engagement from RNG with Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming, but DK had a great disengage. It ended up in a two for zero in favour of DK as well as a mid lane tower take.
A few minutes later, with the lead that RNG had built up gone, DK went on the offensive. At the fourth dragon fight, DK get the perfect fight getting two kills and their second dragon of the game. This was quickly followed up by a Baron take in which RNG went to contest but ultimately conga lined to their deaths.
This just broke the game wide open for DK; an insurmountable lead, a Baron buff, and a fed Tristana was all that DK needed to win the game.
Slower paced gameplay for game three, devoid of a huge explosive start. ShowMaker set the tone early, preventing a gank onto himself as well as preventing a gank onto Khan right after. Following this, DK get their first First Blood of the series with a gank from Canyon onto the bottom lane -- for the first time in the series, DK had a comfortable lead.
At 17 minutes, RNG start the third dragon, and DK respond with a contest. The fight started off with GALA being sectioned off by a Khan Nocturne ultimate, but RNG’s superb team fighting came to the forefront. A good layering of CC from the Gnar and Leona helped them win the fight and get them their first dragon.
Then at the 24-minute mark, DK find the fight that gets them a pick onto Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei. With that pick in hand, they go for Baron. Even with a numbers advantage, DK was still refusing to turn on RNG’s contest; they stacked up behind the Baron. This sort of funnel created from Baron’s back spikes as well as RNG’s damage costed DK greatly. This gave a huge team fight win over to RNG as well as the Baron buff. After a reset, they went and got their second dragon.
What was once a DK game for the first time this series, was turned on its head in favour of RNG.
At 31 minutes, RNG find an engage onto DK that gets them a pick onto Canyon while having Wei narrowly live — this gives them Baron. In return for the Baron take, DK get soul point. Finally, with Baron buff in hand a huge play from GALA, RNG put themselves on match point after taking the base.
For game four, DK decided to heavily favour the top side while RNG went for a slow slowball. This was DK’s most dominant game in all of the series, full control from start to finish. All to be topped off by a Ghost pentakill on the Tristana.
Lastly, in game five, RNG respond to DK’s dominating game four with a dominant game of their own. This time around, it was even more dominant. It took just three unanswered kills in the early game for them to take complete control of the game. A ten thousand gold lead 24 minutes in, and the dominant team fight win after team fight win; RNG came to play, and they had the wallets to do it.
RNG crowned themselves this year's MSI champions.
Images via Riot Games