The 2021 LPL Summer Split playoffs continue to surprise as the defending MId-Season Invitational champion RNG has just been knocked out of contention by LNG Esports.
After four intense games, LNG managed to take down RNG in what was another big upset for the young roster. This is the third win for LNG in this playoffs, who continue to make upsets and keep the miracle run for the title alive. With this loss, RNG will be knocked out of the playoffs despite getting a direct bye to the third round because of its fourth place in the regular season. The loss also means that RNG will have to go through the regional finals to secure a spot at the 2021 World Championship against all odds.
Even though LNG was full of confidence going into this series after knocking both Suning and TOP Esports out of the playoffs, there was no doubt that RNG was the big favorite. This was seemingly fine for LNG, who has been thriving in the underdog role so far this split.
Right off the bat, LNG made it clear that this series wouldn’t be anywhere near an easy task for RNG. Despite playing against the MSI champion, LNG played to its strengths like previously in the playoffs and succeeded. The first win was picked up after a great showing from star jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong who had a big impact on the map throughout the whole game on Volibear.
With a fairly convincing win in the bag, the LNG train had been started and wasn’t looking to slow down. In game two, LNG put on a clinic and secured the victory in just 27 minutes. Looking back a few months, this would have seemed like an impossible task for almost any team in the world when facing RNG.
In the third game, RNG finally started to wake up with a quick win on its own. In this match, RNG top laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao got to show off his famous Lucian to the best of his ability. This turned into a big snowball for RNG, who managed to close out the game in 27 minutes and keep the reverse-sweep hopes alive.
Just as it seemed like RNG had finally found a way to work around the dominance of LNG, it all turned on its head. LNG was back at it in game four, ready to bite back at any time. This resulted in a very close brawl between the two teams, with no one wanting to let the other run with the win. After 45 minutes, LNG found some crucial picks which turned into a Baron buff. Shortly after, the team found another couple of picks that led directly to RNG’s Nexus.
In the last game, RNG seemed to have the win with bot laner Chen “GALA” Wei making one highlight play after the other and securing the Ocean Soul. But in the end, LNG’s team play was too strong and sent RNG packing.
It might come as a surprise to many that LNG is performing this well in the playoffs, but the team has in fact been doing well for the majority of this split. LNG was one of the best teams during the first weeks of the regular split, putting itself at the top of the leaderboard to many’s surprises. Later on, in the regular split, LNG started to lose the grip but managed to stay in contention for the playoffs. LNG ultimately ended the split in eighth seed but has only improved since moving to the best-of-five format in the playoffs.
LNG’s next opponent will be none other than the first seed FunPlus Phoenix, a team that looks to be the hardest opponent yet for LNG. This hasn’t been enough to throw off the confident team yet, so fans might be looking at another potential surprise.