Why RNG are dominating MSI 2022
RNG at MSI 2021, a year before MSI 2022
Royal Never Give Up winning MSI 2021 in Iceland

Why RNG are dominating MSI 2022

Mechanical skill helps, but strategic knowledge trumps all else

With T1 and G2 Esports having inconsistent performances across their games at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational, Royal Never Give Up are at the top of the standings with only one loss to their record. Superstar performances from players like Chen “GALA” Wei and Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-hao assist in their team’s victory, but to say RNG win their MSI 2022 games through mechanical superiority alone is a crude oversimplification.

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RNG, time and time again, proved their tactical knowledge is superior to their competitors, which was clearly exemplified during their game versus Evil Geniuses on Day 4 of 2022 MSI rumble Stage.

Kai'Sa League of Legends
GALA continues to shock the viewers with his incredible performances, especially on Kai’Sa. | Provided by Riot Games

At 9:25, RNG capture the Rift Herald as Evil Geniuses respond by controlling RNG’s red side jungle and letting their bot lane reset first. RNG understand EG will be earlier than them and thus have first access to the river. When an opposing team controls Rift Herald, the defending team needs to put themselves in a position where they control the area around mid lane so they can detect and react to the opponents potentially overloading a specific side lane. While losing plates is inevitable, this maneuver prevents catastrophic scenarios such as an entire tower being destroyed.

EG do indeed use the 9:35 wave to get first access to the top river that is still under RNG’s control. Theoretically, this is a correct maneuver. Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme already has wards placed on the bot river. As such, controlling top river with this mid lane priority would put EG in a perfect position to defend against RNG’s Rift Herald assaults.

As always, the devil is always in the details. Vulcan shows in the mid lane to get enough experience to unlock his ultimate, Depth Charge. Because of him staying in mid lane for the level up, he enters the top river with ten seconds left until the next minion wave arrives. As mentioned above, it is critical EG use their first move to constantly reclaim control over mid lane to prevent RNG from overloading their members to a side lane.

EG’s demise begins when Joseph “jojopyun” Pyun becomes the sole member prepared to contest the 10:25 mid wave. Vulcan clears the top pixel ward at the exact same time Kacper “Inspired” Słoma is still farming his camps. Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming and Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei spot EG’s lax response and punish them immediately.

With none of the EG members present to support jojopyun, RNG knows Xiaohu can easily control mid wave and support their play with Galio’s “Hero’s Entrance” ultimate. With that in mind, Ming and Wei immediately invade EG’s blue side jungle and ward every potential path an EG member could take to the bot lane.

Thanks to these wards, RNG would immediately know where EG members would be while they execute the dive in the bot lane. Due to this setup, Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki is already dead by the time Vulcan and Inspired enter the bot side river brush.

Xiaohu continues to dominate his opponents with Galio. | Provided by Riot Games.

Despite EG managing to kill Ming by expending both of their solo laners’ teleports, RNG were far from done with EG. Due to Jeong “Impact” Eon-young, teleporting away from his lane. Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin crashed the minion wave into EG’s top lane tower.

With both side lanes pushing away from their side, EG had to answer both sides or risk losing a significant amount of gold and experience. With Danny heading top to deal with the wave, Impact goes to deal with the bot wave.

This is when RNG once again show their mastery over utilizing minion waves. Wei, GALA, and Ming immediately path to the bot lane to play with the 11:35 wave while Xiaohu swiftly clears the mid wave to support his team with Hero’s Entrance. With Danny’s participation an impossibility, RNG immediately pounce on Impact and consequently kill three members of EG while taking three turret plates from EG’s bot tower.

As a result of these two sequences, RNG create a 3,000 gold lead in four minutes. And these sequences also show how the team’s collective mastery over these tactical maneuvers revolving around the minion wave constant put them in advantageous positions. Unless other teams quickly improve their strategic aptitude, RNG will be favorites to win MSI 2022 through smart plays like these.

Image of Michael "Miko" Ahn
Michael "Miko" Ahn
League of Legends and Overwatch coach and tactician. I will never stop talking about movies and literature.