Heading into this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, the two teams at the top of the rankings seemed to be on a collision course to meet in the finals. After a grueling three weeks of competition, Royal Never Give Up and DWG KIA met in the finals. The two best teams at the event put on a show as RNG took down DK to win MSI 2021 but it took five games to do so.
After going up two games to one, it was the first seeded DK that needed to claw their way back against RNG. But despite DK forcing a game five, it was the team fight specializing RNG team that ended the series in an anticlimactic 27-minute stomp to cement themselves as the best team in the world.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) May 23, 2021
GALA outshines everyone, earns MVP as RNG win MSI
DK were the defending champs heading into MSI and looked unbeatable in the LCK. However DK’s one weakness is their bot lane. Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee might be a World Championship winning bot lane but compared to the rest of that team, the lane remained the weakest link. On the opposite side of the finals, RNG’s strength was in their bot lane. Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming has been a world-class support player even back in the days when the legendary Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao was RNG’s bot laner. But when Uzi retired, many questions rose on who would be able to take the reigns. In comes Chen “GALA” Wei.
GALA came into RNG in the summer of 2020 but broke out in the 2021 Spring Split. Despite EDward Gaming’s Park “Viper” Do-hyeon overshadowing him for a majority of the split, it was GALA’s playoff performance that vaulted him among the games best AD Carrys as he led RNG to their first MSI in three years and took home the Playoff MVP. When it came to fighting DK, GALA was going to have to repeat that performance. After the five game series against DK, GALA took home another MVP award.
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) May 23, 2021
Even in RNG’s two losses in the finals, GALA was the bright spot. The MVP did not register a negative Kill/Death/Assist ratio in any of his games. His worst performance was 3/3/1 KDA on Kai’Sa in Game 4. But the reason behind the MVP is due to GALA’s performance in RNG’s wins. GALA went 11/2/6 in Game 1, 8/0/5 in Game 3, and 11/1/9 in Game 5, all on Kai’Sa. Heading back to the LPL as the top ADC at MSI, GALA will set up a match with EDG Viper to see which bot laner is the best in the world.
RNG able to keep Showmaker and Canyon in check
DK has lived and died by their duo carry of Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu. Canyon and Showmaker are believed by many to be the best jungler and mid laner respectively in the world. Heading into MSI, it was expected that the duo would do the heavy lifting and they did all the way to the finals. However in the finals, both players were going to need to produce career defining performances to topple RNG. But it was RNG’s unsung heroes that were able to keep them in check.
After years as the mid lane for RNG, team captain Li “Xiahou” Yuan-Hao moved to the top lane in the Spring Split to make room for their young new mid lane star Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei. Throughout the 2021 Spring Split, Cryin played well, but not at a world class level. Four of the five members of RNG made a LPL All-Pro team. The only one who didn’t was Cryin. Just like how DK had a weakness, the glaring weakness for RNG was in their mid lane as Cryin had not adjusted to an important role on a world class team just yet. Cryin, however, picked the best time to break out of his shell.
Throughout the five-game series, Cryin was able to match the best mid laner in the world in four of the five games. The only game where Showmaker was unstoppable was Game 2 on Xerath. The other four games saw Cryin mitigate Showmaker’s impact.
With all the talk of RNG’s bot lane and team captain Xiahou, many forgot that RNG had the best jungler in the LPL in the Spring Split. Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei came over to RNG in the offseason from eStar to replace the struggling Li “XLB” Xiao-Long. In his time with eStar, Wei didn’t make a LPL All-Pro team but he did flash signs of greatness. The biggest thing going for him was his age. Wei already has big league experience and is only 18. Wei stepped up big in the Spring Split as he guided RNG to their first LPL title in three years.
— LPL (@lplenglish) May 23, 2021
In the MSI finals, Wei had to step up once again. Despite earning the title as the best jungler in the LPL, the other finals team had the best jungler in the world. Wei played Udyr in all five games. In RNG’s three wins, Canyon was a nonfactor.
The biggest thing RNG showed at this event was that the perceived weaknesses of the team were not weak at all. Cryin and Wei were tasked with stopping the best players in the worlds at their respective positions. Cryin and Wei took up the mission and succeeded. After RNG’s win at MSI, the team looks to have no real weakness. Which is grave news for the rest of the world heading into the Summer Split.
Thanks to RNG’s win at MSI, the LPL will once again have four seeds at the world championship. DK’s performance also will net the LCK with four seeds as well. The Summer Split is just around the corner. The LCS will kick off the second leg of the season starting June 4.
About the Author
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.