Royal Never Give Up defeated defending world champion DWG KIA 3-2 on Sunday in the grand finals to win the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
RNG, from the Legends Pro League in China, started off strong in Game 1, taking control early. RNG took two Rift Heralds, an Ocean Drake, a Mountain Drake, two Infernal Drakes for Infernal Soul, two Elder Dragons and two Baron Nashors for a whopping 13,700 gold lead by the time the game was over in 39 minutes.
DK of League Champions Korea responded quickly in Game 2, with star mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su breaking out a surprise Xerath pick. ShowMaker was untouchable on the artillery mage, posting a 3/0/13 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) while assailing RNG with deadly accuracy. DK cruised to a 29-minute win to tie the series up at 1-1.
In Game 3, RNG started to fully exert their dominance through bottom laner Chen “GALA” Wei, who stood out as Kai’Sa. RNG’s game plan revolved around GALA hammering DK’s tank-less composition, which GALA did with impunity. GALA finished with a KDA of 8/0/5 as RNG took Game 3 in 34 minutes, setting up the match game.
With their backs against the wall, DK came out swinging in Game 4. Though the kills went back and forth in the early game, DK was well in control of objectives, thanks to jungler Geon-bu “Canyon” Kim’s Nidalee. With objectives in their pocket, DK exploded to a 5,600 gold lead at 20 minutes. Shortly after that, DK bottom laner Yong-jun “Ghost” Jang picked up a pentakill as Tristana at 24 minutes, ensuring DK’s victory and taking the MSI Finals to a Game 5.
DK fought hard to force match point, but Game 5 was all RNG. RNG drafted a hard engage dive composition, so DK put support Geon-hee “BeryL” Cho on Tahm Kench to try to keep the carries safe. Unfortunately for DK, BeryL had a very poor performance on Tahm Kench, failing to use his Devour on RNG’s dive targets or else positioning too far away from the characters he was supposed to be defending.
RNG got started with three quick kills before six minutes, leading to an unstoppable snowball effect. DK grabbed occasional kills but, with top laner Yuan-Hao “Xiaohu” Li’s Gragas finding spectacular Explosive Cask engagements, this game was never in DK’s reach. RNG made quick work of Game 5 in 27 minutes, making Xiaohu the first player in League of Legends history to win multiple international events at different positions (top and mid) and claim victory for MSI 2021.
The 11-team Mid-Season Invitational was held between the first and second splits of all regions. With the finishes of RNG and DK, their leagues each earned a fourth spot in the 2021 World Championships.
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media