Royal Never Give Up win 2018 League of Legends MSI Championship
” Ive been trying to win this title for 6 years now. I cant imagine that Im standing here winning this trophy, super excited for this moment.”
– RNG UZI
The Mid Season Invitational Tournament took place in Europe this 2018 season, where teams battled to become the next champions of the rift. Fourteen teams are invited based on their individual placement in their respected region. Ten teams participate in a play-in stage where only two will advance. These teams were ‘SuperMassive eSports’ from the TCL region and ‘Gambit Esports’ from the CIS region. Both teams were then knocked out in the qualifier by ‘EVOS Esports’ a team from Vietnam and ‘Flash Wolves’ from the LMS region respectively.
During the Group Stage, taking place in Berlin, Germany six remaining teams battled to make playoffs. Only the top four teams would advance to the final stage of the tournament. Of these four teams, Royal Never Give Up from the LPL region in China took the top spot after taking down Flash Wolves in a tiebreaker match. Kingzone DragonX from LCK in Korea, and home region heroes Fnatic from the EULCS would advance after taking down North America’s Team Liquid in a tiebreaker match, to round out the final spots.
MSI is a tournament which historically has only been won by China or Korea. Team Liquid, the North American representatives, had high hopes for this year as they were seen as a top four team, but a surprising run by Flash Wolves leading to a second place finish meant that Team Liquid would not qualify in the fifth position.
As teams settled down in Paris, France the stage was set for playoffs. All matches would take place in a best of five game format and the winners would advance in a stage of three rounds. The prize pool for the event was set at a minimum of $1,000,000 USD where the winners take home 38.5% ($385,000) of the total.
In one bracket RNG took on Fnatic, where quirk work was made, sweeping them in just three victories. On the other side, KZ would only drop one game to the Flash Wolves with a lack of dominance that Korea is known for. The final day of MSI would conclude with RNG taking down KZ in four games. Korea had not lost a best of five to a non-Korean team since MSI 2015.
It was an arduous journey for the Chinese roster. Game four was looking rough for RNG as it looked as though the KZ would even up the series and head to a game five. After a clutch baron fight to keep RNG in the game the LPL superstars knew they would need to make a do-or-die play to win this game. RNG Midlaner Li ‘Xiaohu’ Yuan-Hao would flash Nether Grasp to suppress KZ Botlaner Kim ‘PraY’ Jong-in to create enough space for RNG Botlaner Jian ‘Uzi’ Zi-Hao to dominate the fight on his tournament signature champion ‘Kai’Sa’.
Uzi has finally won his first championship in his six-year career. As widely regarded as one of the greatest players in League of Legends history there isn’t a more well-deserved player to win a trophy. Uzi captivated the hearts of fans as he gave an emotional interview following the win. As the summer split inches closer it will be interesting to see how each team places going back to their respective regions.