RNG takes out DWG KIA in 5 games to become MSI 2021 champion

By Christian Vejvad


May 23, 2021

Reading time: 4 min

Royal Never Give Up is the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational champion after taking down DWG KIA in a five-game final. 

After weeks of competition, the MSI 2021 winner finally had to be crowned. The finals came down to the pre-tournament favorites DWG KIA and RNG, setting up viewers for a great show. And a great show it was, as the two teams went toe-to-toe over five intense games. For the first time since MSI in 2015, five games had to be played before RNG took the championship.   

Right from the first game, DWG KIA suffered from the skill gap in the bot lane. The bot lane of RNG has been exceptional throughout MSI and DWG KIA’s Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee got a taste of that. After just a few minutes, RNG bot laner Chen “GALA” Wei found first blood and started to snowball. 

RNG’s early lead forced DWG KIA to look for fights early. The LCK squad found kills, but RNG stayed one step ahead in gold and objectives. The dragon advantage for RNG put DWG KIA on the clock, resulting in an early Infernal Soul after just 23 minutes. Permanently buffed up, RNG had enough power to take down the first Nexus of the match, despite DWG KIA putting in a great effort to make it close. 

With a DWG KIA squad under early pressure, a turnaround had to be made in game two. After losing three games in a row to RNG, it was time that the world champions stepped up to prove themselves against the LPL. The approach from DWG KIA was rather unexpected, as the team put mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su on Xerath for the first time the tournament. 

Even though RNG was the team to get ahead early on once again, DWG KIA was ready to fight back this time. With a lot of impact from ShowMaker on Xerath, DWG KIA took control of the mid game and dragons. This gave the fighting priority that DWG KIA needed to finally pick up a win against RNG and tie up the final 1-1. 

Having both teams with one win each made the third game the closest of them all. DWG KIA got off to the better start this time around, but GALA’s Kai’Sa came back big time after a fight at the baron. One good fight was enough for RNG to take control and take the victory through strong macro play. 

With RNG on match point, DWG KIA had to win two games in a row as it did in the semifinals against MAD Lions. The pressure was huge for DWG KIA, but this is also where the team has looked best previously. To force the series into a game five, DWG KIA went with an aggressive composition that needed to gain a lead early on. 

The most important lane to get ahead was mid, where ShowMaker chose Renekton. To help him along, jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-by took Nidalee to help get the early game rolling. For RNG, the players knew they could outscale DWG and just needed to play patiently.   

Patient play sounds easier than it is, especially when playing against a DWG KIA that forces plays constantly. With everything on the line, DWG KIA went for the most aggressive play it had shown in MSI 2021 and didn’t let RNG take a break. The aggressive approach paid off big for DWG KIA, with Ghost getting a pentakill on Tristana to seal the deal and force a fifth game. 

Loading into the last match of the tournament, RNG jungler Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei set the pace and made the early game extremely hard for DWG KIA. With an early lead, RNG quickly started to run away with the game like it was still the group stage. The shining light for DWG KIA was the wombo combo from Rumble and Varus, but it required outstanding execution. 

As the game went on with a big lead for RNG, there wasn’t any room for DWG KIA to find the comeback. Even with several attempts from the Korean representatives, RNG was strong enough to hold on and secure the final win for the trophy. 

RNG wins second MSI trophy in the organization’s history

With the win at MSI 2021, RNG writes history once again by winning its second MSI trophy. The last time RNG won at MSI was in 2018, where it beat Kingzone DragonX in the final. This puts RNG neck-and-neck with T1, who is the only other team to have two MSI trophies as well. Those were won in 2016 and 2017 when the organization still played under the name SK Telecom T1.  

Going into the 2021 season, very few people would have expected RNG to win the MSI trophy. RNG as an organization has seen a big dip over recent years, but has finally proven its doubters wrong. The journey has been long but impressive for RNG, with several young players on the team and veteran Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao having swapped to the top lane. 

RNG will be back on the stage when the 2021 LPL Summer Split kicks off, where they will be fighting for yet another trophy and a spot in the 2021 World Championship.