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MSI Recap: RNG Defend MSI Championship in 3:2 Battle with T1

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RNG fans in Busan were few, but they came out happy | © Riot Games

Royal Never Give Up defeated T1 in a five-game match to retain their 2021 MSI title. The series went back and forth but in the end, RNG’s strong early game allowed them to triumph.

The Mid-Season Invitational culminated on Sunday with a clash of titans as LPL champion Royal Never Give Up faced off against a rejuvenated T1. Both teams had been dominant throughout the tournament, going undefeated through the groups and taking the first two spots in the Rumble. In the semifinals, RNG swept NA champions Evil Geniuses while T1 got their revenge on G2 Esports with a just as decisive 3-0. It was time to see which powerhouse team would triumph in the end - would RNG take their third MSI title or would T1 finally lift the cup of an international event on home soil?

RNG came out in a very clean game one. Despite T1’s early objective pressure, the LPL champions retained a kill lead and amassed big leads on their AD carry and top laner. 27 minutes in, T1 had to concede an ocean soul and went for the Baron, only for RNG to steal it. With this, the LPL team were unstoppable and soon took the first game.

Now they had the measure of their opponents,the teams went out for a scrappy game two. It went back and forth before a great engage by T1 23 minutes in saw them defeat RNG 3v5. With Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong’s Jinx fully online, the LCK team monstered through the next fight, pushed down the mid lane and secured their first win of the series.

As the teams returned for game 3, RNG were out for blood and T1 had an uncharacteristic early game deficit. By the 20-minute mark, the LPL champions were well ahead in gold and boasted a 5-1 tower lead. Two minutes later, T1 got a close fight, but they were too far behind. The Chinese squad powered on through for an ace, taking the first Baron shortly afterwards for another quick win.


T1 fought back, however, and the next game saw them once more with the gold lead. Gumayusi’s Jinx was the key to their success yet again, backed by an impressive performance by Ryu "Keria" Min-seok on Tahm Kench. RNG’s attempts to slow down the T1 juggernaut failed time and again, ensuring that we would see a fifth game.

Busan’s audience fell silent as RNG delivered a stellar performance in the fifth game, targeting Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok early on. Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei led his team on with a very active early game to give them both a kill lead and several early dragons. The game was decided by a fight near the dragon pit 22 minutes in where Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming set uphis team for a 4-0 with a great Rakan ultimate. RNG secured Mountain Soul and Baron, ending the game soon after the win their first Bo5 victory against T1 and defend their 2021 title.

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The MSI concluded with a celebration for the winners and the nomination of Wei as the MVP of the tournament. Now, the best teams of the world go on a short break before the Summer Split kicks off.