Steven R. January 12, 2020
Royal Never Give Up has reached the grand finals of the WePlay! Bukovel Minor.
The Chinese team has looked incredible throughout the event and haven't slowed down in the playoffs. RNG started its day with a win over Nigma, but have now earned a spot in the grand finals with a win over Geek Fam.
Game one started in uncharacteristically sloppy fashion for Royal Never Give Up. The laning phase saw the two teams trade kills back and forth, with Geek Fam eventually gaining the upper hand heading into the mid game.
But as time went on, Royal Never Give Up returned to form. Du "Monet" Peng maintained his spot atop the net worth chart for much of the game on Phantom Lancer, while Gao "Setsu" Zhenxiong produced enormous amounts of damage on Kunkka. When Geek Fam couldn’t find a way to shut down their cores, it allowed RNG to blow past them to open the series with a comeback win.
Game two started in shocking fashion as Monet locked in a carry Riki. Though the invisible backstabber is a staple of low MMR pub games, the hero has rarely been seen at the pro level and has been used even more scarcely as a carry.
For a long while, it seemed like there was a clear reason why. Monet had little impact in team fights and struggled to make his presence felt. Even as skirmishes broke out around the map, he quietly farmed away hoping to make an impact later.
But he did eventually come online. A late Battlefury eventually set him up to get big farm and deal huge damage with Tricks of the Trade. As he started getting kitted further, the game swung around in a big way, with Monet eventually leading the game in hero damage.
Though Geek Fam had a 10,000 gold lead at one point, the game turned around. RNG had the gold lead and was knocking down Geek Fam’s base. Until they weren’t.
Setsu and Monet died during a team fight, but managed to clear out two lanes of barracks. While that was still an advantageous position, the two bought back for no apparent reason. This gave Geek Fam a clear path to victory with one successful team fight. They forced a battle mid and came out on top, allowing them to steal away the victory.
Royal Never Give Up clapped back early in game three, racking up kills in the laning phase. Though they were dragged into ugly back-and-forths in the first two games, they gave Geek Fam no opportunity for a comeback in game three and locked up the series 2-1.
Royal Never Give Up looking good in WePlay! Bukovel Minor
The WePlay! Bukovel Minor was supposed to be a fairly cut and dry affair. Nigma was supposed to cruise to a fairly easy victory and punch their ticket to the DreamLeague Season 13 major. Nigma struggled to live up to that billing on their own, but Royal Never Give Up has done more than its part in establishing itself as the new favorite to win the event.
The team sprinted through the group stage and debuted in the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Nigma. Outside of their blunder in game two, they’ve played a largely flawless tournament to this point.
It remains to be seen if any of these teams have a serious chance to defeat them. Geek Fam and Nigma are foes that can’t be taken lightly. Still, Royal Never Give Up just seem to be on another level right now.