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With Worlds 2022 about to begin, the League of Legends Pro League’s Royal Never Give Up (RNG) are one of the 24 teams from across the world that are making their way to the biggest event of the year. Every team entering the League of Legends World Championship have the same goal: to stand at the top uncontested and hoist the Season 12 Summoner’s Cup high.
— Royal Never Give Up (@RNG) September 16, 2022
After tearing through the entire world during the first half of 2022, RNG took a risk with a mid-season roster change out of nowhere that almost cost them a spot at Worlds 2022. But with the reigning 2022 Mid-Season Invitational champions confirmed at Worlds 2022, the team definitely has what it takes to be the second team ever to win MSI and Worlds in the same year.
Royal Never Give Up (LPL) Worlds 2022 starting roster breakdown
- Top: Chen “Breathe” Chen | Signed in December 2021. Formerly a member of Suning
- Jungle: Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei | Signed in December 2020. Formerly a member of eStar
- Mid: Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao | Signed in May 2015.
- Bot: Chen “GALA” Wei | Signed in June 2020. Formerly a member of Dominous Esports
- Support: Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming | Signed in December 2016.
How they got here
After a pretty successful 2021 campaign — especially when looking at the risks the team took in terms of their starting roster — RNG decided to make some big changes once again, but not in terms of new signings. Instead, the team made another literal roster shift. Xiaohu was put back into the mid lane after a year in the top lane to make room for former Worlds 2020 finalist Chen “Bin” Zebin who was coming over from Suning. With the roster looking even stronger heading into 2022 than it was in 2021, RNG were once against not only LPL contenders but Worlds 2022 contenders. The spring season went almost perfectly for the team as they won the spring split and then won the 2022 Mid-Season Invtiational for the second straight year.
However, heading into the summer split, things got a little weird for the team. Just days after they won MSI 2022, the team made a head-scratching announcement that they would be trading Bin over to Bilibili Gaming for top laner Breathe. Ironically, the team actually performed better in the summer split regular season with their new top laner as the team went 13-3, which was one game better than their 12-4 mark in the spring split. Unfortunately, 13-3 was only good enough for the fourth seed in the super top heavy LPL. With a two-round bye, RNG awaited their first opponent; reigning Worlds 2021 champions Edward Gaming, who were coming into playoffs hotter than they were all year. EDG defeated RNG 3-1; and just like that, RNG were out of the playoffs in a blink of an eye.
As the team awaited their Worlds 2022 fate, they found out that they would not automatically qualify through championship points and instead have to play through the LPL regional finals. But on the bright side would have two chances to secure one of the two final LPL Worlds 2022 seeds. Their first try was against EDG in a rematch. But despite RNG going up 2-0 in the best of five series, EDG roared back with three wins in a row for the reverse sweep as they punched their ticket to Worlds 2022.
RNG was now facing elimination and embarrassment when they went up against LNG Esports for the final Worlds 2022 spot. A loss here would be a historic collapse as they would be the first team ever to win MSI but not make Worlds in the same year. LNG gave everything they had to push RNG to the brink. But in Game 5, RNG clutched out the win to send themselves back to Worlds 2022 looking to become just the second team to win MSI and Worlds in the same year.
Players to watch
RNG is stacked from top to bottom. The usual suspects of Ming and Wei who both made it onto one of the three LPL All-Pro teams are of course players of interest but the other three are must-watch.
Starting with Xiaohu, as the All-LPL first-team selection during the summer split, Xiaohu has been in peak form for a majority of the year. He led all players in the region in player of the game awards and with him making his return to Worlds 2022 back in his best role, Xiaohu demands respect and attention as he is near unstoppable when playing at his best.
GALA, the pentakill king thanks to his multiple pentakills during international tournaments, is like Xiaohu when it comes to demanding respect and attention. But unlike Xiaohu, GALA isn’t in peak form. He didn’t make any of the three LPL All-Pro teams but still, lead the region in kills. Dont get it twisted, GALA is still one of the best team fighting bot laners in the world and with him always showing up on the biggest stages, keep your eyes on him.
And finally, there is Breathe. Last year was a nightmare for Breathe as he earned the unfortunate nickname “ticket seller” as a member of Team WE. On that team, Breathe was on the losing end of four consecutive best-of-five series that saw every single winning team punch their ticket to Worlds at Breathe’s expense. And heading into the summer split of this year, Breathe was tasked of making RNG, a team that just won MSI, even better. With big shoes to fill, Breathe has at times hit those peaks and his performance was good enough to send RNG to Worlds 2022. But now that he is here, eyes are on Breathe to see what he can do in his first Worlds appearance.
How RNG can succeed at Worlds 2022
RNG is weird. Despite being the LPL’s fourth seed, the team ironically has higher expectations than almost every single other team. They have the winning formula with a world championship caliber roster, it’s just about putting it all together. In RNG’s eyes, winning Worlds 2022 is their goal and it’s definitely obtainable. And because it is, anything but a finals appearance would be a failure for this squad. At the absolute minimum, if the team doesn’t make it to the knockout stage, it would be embarrassing. The knockout stage seems to be the team’s floor.
But for the team to reach their ceiling, they are going to need their always solid foundation of Wei, Ming and Xiaohu to play like they always do. But more importantly, they are going to need to rely on their two x-factors. GALA needs to play at his peak and Breathe needs to thrive in his first Worlds appearance. If these things happen, there isn’t a roster that is more stacked than RNG’s. RNG can very realistically go from play-ins to Worlds 2022 champions. But if Breathe chokes on the big stage, GALA can’t regain form and the foundation crumbles, RNG could be this year’s FPX.
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.