Royal Never Give Up and the LPL's dominance over League of Legends
This year's MSI saw plenty of different playstyles from across the different regions.
A lot went down during the last two-and-a-half weeks in Busan, South Korea with the biggest being Royal Never Give Up of the LPL claiming their third MSI title. After tying things up with T1 in last year's victory, RNG came into this year's tournament hoping to not only defend their crown but also be the first team in League of Legends history to win MSI three times. And after a back-and-forth grand finals series, RNG came out as only the second back-to-back MSI champion. They now share the record with T1, who completed the feat back in 2016 and 2017.
Speaking of T1, many were expecting the home crowd favourites to take the crown. Having not lifted an international trophy in the last five years, this was T1's best chance yet to win some much-needed silverware. This comes after placing second-best in the Rumble stage and also sweeping their arch-rivals, G2 Esports in the semifinals. But alas, their fairytale run came to a bitter ending at the hands of RNG.
Since MSI's inception back in 2015, LPL teams have won on four separate occasions. EDward Gaming was the first team to win it in its debut year before RNG's three title victories. The LPL has also won Worlds three times over the last four years with EDG, FunPlus Phoenix, and Invictus Gaming emerging as world champions. Over the past few years, it is China that has come out as the top region to beat
The LPL has steadily made a name for itself over the past couple of years by putting the LCK to the sword on multiple occasions. However, what makes RNG's victory all the much sweeter is the fact that the entire team is made up of Chinese nationals. Unlike the likes of EDG who has two South Korean nationals on the team, RNG's all-Chinese squad also features a new addition to the lineup in the form of Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin.
The young offlaner has been a pivotal cog in RNG's system while still being the newcomer to the team. His introduction has been instrumental to the team's success with his Gwen plays proving crucial in all of RNG's victories during the knockout stage. With Bin coming in to cover for the top lane, this paved the way for his teammate Yuan "Xiaohu" Hao Li to move back to the mid lane, which he did so with much gusto. Both his Lissandra and Galio were what made RNG such an unstoppable force during the knockout stage, setting the foundation for his team's success.
However, it was the team's jungler Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei who took home the tournament MVP award after his impressive and consistent showings during MSI 2022. He has the highest KDA amongst all active junglers during the tournament as well as the highest average kill count of 4.5, the lowest average death count of just 1.6, and even the highest average assist count of 7.6. While numbers don't tell the full story, his performances on Viego, Lee Sin, and Wukong are what solidified him as arguably the best jungler in the world right now.
With the mid-season transfer market about to happen, it's hard to see RNG wanting to change something that isn't broken. On the contrary; seeing as they are now the team to beat, RNG will be looking to capitalise on their recent run of form and transfer it to the LPL Summer Split. They will also be at the top of the leaderboards for championship points, putting them in a good position to qualify for Worlds 2022.
Many have them pegged to repeat their 2018 run of winning MSI as well as both the LPL splits. Of course, that would also mean they will need to have a better performance at Worlds than they did back then. Last year was a good indication of the team winning the LPL Spring Split as well as MSI 2021 before crashing and burning during the Summer Split. Thankfully, they made it through to Worlds after winning the regional finals. But given how they performed during MSI, RNG looks to be one of the leading favourites to lift the coveted Summoner's Cup.