After 3 years, RNG are back on the international stage. Meanwhile, DWG KIA are looking for their Worlds and MSI double. Who will win?
All the events of MSI 2021 has lead us to this moment. All the outplays, all the dodgy drafts, and all the uncompleted comebacks. The Grand Final pits the 2020 World Champions, Damwon KIA, against RNG. Both teams took out remarkable teams on their way, including the likes of Cloud9, MAD Lions, and PSG Talon.
Each roster has its own stars, capable of producing moments of brilliance when you least expect it. RNG lost Uzi, one of the greatest ADCs in the history of the game, but no one can deny Gala is on the same path. The LPL champions are back on the international stage after 3 years. On the other side, you have Damwon KIA, with Showmaker at the helm. The midlaner has been more than instrumental in their 5-game series against MAD Lions. With everything at stake, who will come out victorious?
Game 1: A knife’s edge
Game 1 is always tricky, with each team wanting to get the upper hand in the series early on. The first game can sometimes set the tone for the entire series. With teams from the LCK and LPL, the methodical and calculated playstyle is their bread and butter. This means random skirmishes are a rare sight. All building up to integral teamfights that decide the fate of the game, and that’s exactly what happened.
It started off with RNG drawing First Blood, and gifting the gold to Gala. This set up the bottom lane in prime position to have the upper hand and push for fights. The action in bottom lane didn’t stop there. In the 7th minute, the scent of blood drew in both teams’ full roster, with solo laners channeling their teleportation. As exciting as that sounds, no kills came out of this sudden 5v5 skirmish.
There was very little separating the two teams throughout the entire game. Both teams never had more than a 2-kill differential between them till the 36th minute. Every teamfight saw causalities from RNG and Damwon KIA falling victim to the other. The early bottom lane pressure from RNG was translated onto objectives, stacking dragons. The LPL champions were able to grab themselves an infernal soul.
They didn’t stop there. Once the elder dragon spawned in, it was an all-out brawl. Everyone was alive, with both junglers in the pit. However, after Wei’s smite came down, Gala’s Kaisa was able to grab it for his team. Wei’s Udyr was the sole survivor, holding the buff for his team. This flipped the entire game in RNG’s favor, utilizing the infernal dragon power buff alongside the elder to push Damwon KIA back into their base. This enabled them to take the second elder dragon and Baron for themselves. As you might expect, no matter who you are, no one can stop a team with such an advantage at that point. RNG secured Game 1 for themselves. Could MSI 2021 finally be their ticket to redemption?
Game 2: We have a series on our hands
RNG went into Game 2 with their confidence flying high. The start was almost a replica of Game 1, but with an additional death from Damwon KIA on the board. Thanks to Udyr’s strong early game, RNG’s bottom were able to grab themselves a quick double to have a permanent advantage in lane. A few minutes later, a massive fight erupted when Damwon KIA contested RNG at the rift herald. Once again the LPL team came out victorious, leaving only the LCK’s finest, Showmaker, alive.
With the score at 6-2, Damwon KIA had to sit back and play it slow. They knew they were on the backfoot. In true Worlds Champion style, they caught out RNG’s members around the map. At the third dragon, Showmaker’s Xerath was able to steal the dragon for his team. It didn’t end there. The LCK powerhouse team were able to grab two more kills in succession, tying up the score.
It was a stalemate till the next objective. It took a stereotypical flashy Lee SIn play to flip the game on its head. Damwon KIA took out RNG’s top and mid laners. The numbers advantage allowed them to stack their second dragon, and a quick baron to extend their lead. From that point onwards, it was lights out for RNG. Damwon KIA closed out the game in clean fashion, tying the MSI 2021 Grand Final series at 1-1.
Game 3: Redemption
It was finally a different story in the bottom lane. DWG KIA’s Canyon gave Ghost and BeryL some attention, and it paid off with First Blood to Jinx. It took till the 18th minute for a teamfight to happen. RNG had to contest DWG KIA’s dragon stacking, with two already to their name. An incredibly close teamfight saw Gala’s Kaisa pop off. With four members on death timers, RNG took their first dragon.
In methodical fashion, RNG tightened their grip on the game. They choked out their opponents, limiting their resources and taking everything on the map. They equalized their enemies’ dragon count. The engage tools available at their disposal was clearly much easier to execute than DWG KIA’s composition.
The combination of Nocturne’s ultimate cutting out the lights on everyone, with Gnar and Leona locking them down till they are dead. The baron taken on the 30th minute mark extended enough to allow RNG to close out the game. This puts them one game closer for the organization’s MSI 2021 redemption arc.
Game 4: PENTAKILL
For a change of sight, we saw the First Blood drawn in another lane than bottom lane. Khan’s Aatrox was able to take down Wei. A few minutes later, a random 3v3 was initiated on RNG’s red buff in the jungle. Naturally, RNG’s members were faster to respond, and took down Aatrox and Renekton.
A very well calculated attack from Ghost on Gala allowed Canyon to take down the first dragon. An early soul wasn’t really a possibility with the latter slain 10 minutes in. DWG KIA continuously tightened their grip on the game, and had three dragons at 21 minutes. The team took fights whenever they liked. A fight in RNG’s botside jungle saw Damwon KIA take out Ming.
What started off as a pick on BeryL flipped to an ace really quickly. Ghost decided to pop off, pulling out a Pentakill out of nowhere in a 4v5 teamfight. The open map allowed the team to take down baron. At this stage of the game, Damwon KIA was uncontrollable. They marched down mid and bot lanes, and ended the game effortlessly. A forced Game 5 is now on the board. We are in for a treat.
Game 5: Silverscrapes
It is all on the line. The MSI 2021 trophy to play for. A game’s length is all that separates both teams from being crowned the winners. RNG Gala slain DWG KIA Ghost for First Blood in the bottom lane. Four times out of the five games we saw the first victim fall in bottom half of the map. The LPL team continued to extend their gold lead, with two quick kills in topside river. It was followed by a beautifully coordinated dive on DWG KIA’s Khan in the top lane.
11 minutes into the game, and RNG are 2K gold ahead than their opponents. Could this be it? The moment they waited years to happen again since Uzi lifted the trophy? It might well be. A teleport from Showmaker to help out Ghost and BeryL to take down Gala and Ming was unsuccessful. The teleport was matched by Xiaohu, and Wei’s Nocturne Ultimate made it incredibly hard for DWG KIA’s players to fight.
The story continued to write itself, with almost a 4K gold lead in the 18th minute. RNG cleverly baited DWG KIA to fight them at the third dragon on the map. Once the LCK team entered their own jungle, they were deleted. Their LPL counterparts tried to desperately end the game quickly, but it was all done and dusted either way. No matter how much DWG KIA try. No matter what they do. Their opponents were too far ahead for anything to be done.
At 26 minutes, the score was 25-6 in favor of RNG. This means an average of more than a kill per minute. A bloody game, but RNG’s final push was answered by DWG KIA. It won’t end this easily. There is one final stand in them, even with both mid and bot lane inhibitors down. Fast forward a few minutes later, and this time it ended for real.
RNG crowned champions of MSI 2021
After 3 years of international absence, RNG win MSI 2021 and redeem themselves as a prestigious organization in the League of Legends scene. The redemption arc has been fulfilled.