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 Team RNG Celebrating Victory

RNG Wins 2018 LoL Mid-Season Invitational

By: Roger Li, Chinese Marketing Specialist and Teemo Main 

On the evening of May 20th, the 2018 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational Championship (MSI) came to a close at the Zenit Stadium in Paris, France. After four rounds of world-class competition, the Tencent League of Legends Pro League (LPL) champion RNG finally defeated the long-standing League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) team KZ with a score of 3-1, won the championship of the MSI.

This is a hard-earned and worthy victory for RNG. I have been following the League of Legends pro tournaments for nearly six years now, and I have never been happier. “RNG” and “Uzi” are the only things I could think about since that evening. I’m from China, so I feel particularly proud of this victory. It had been over three years since a non-South Korean team defeated a South Korean team at a major international League of Legends tournament.

Uzi's six-year-efforts have finally paid off

Uzi began his career in 2012 at the age of 15. He quickly grew from an unsuspecting player to the most popular AD Carry in the LPL. In 2013 and 2014, he led the Royal Club into World Championship Finals. Unfortunately, they were unable to cross the big mountain of SKT T1 and got second place two years in a row. In his six-year career, Uzi has won countless second places and has been hailed as “the king of innocence”. His dream is to win the championship in a major global tournament. Despite the arm injuries caused by long period of training, his play style and micro-mechanisms has constantly been improving. We watched Uzi grow step by step from an irritable talented teenager to a mature, and strong all-around AD Carry. This MSI, he and his support Ming dominated the bot lane, and no matter what AD Carry he picked, Uzi was always able to have a crazy lead in CS and overall damage over the opponents. His growth was unquestionable. SKT T1's legendary player Faker was once the world's strongest player, aka “The Devil”, Uzi is catching up, If he is not yet the best player yet, he is at least, no doubt, the best Ad Carry in the World. Even though this is already his 6th year as a pro player, this year’s MSI is the first time Uzi won a major global tournament. He said he will not retire until winning the World Championship series. Well, he is very likely to make his dream come true, after all, he is only 21.

Uzi_lol.png#asset:1969

Here are some comments from the Reddit post-game discussion

  • “Uzi is my only GOD.”
  • “Do you guys know Uzi's nickname is doggy in LPL? 2018 happens to be the Year of Dog.”
  • “Uzi outplayed everyone else in MSI 2018. He is on a tier of his own.”
  • “Big congrats to RNG and Uzi - very well deserved for him after all these years of really solid ADC performance.”
  • “Top of Form.”
  • “Damn, good to see China stepping their game up. They deserve this win.”

To help you understand how incredibly strong Uzi & RNG are, check out  this clip that highlights their top plays throughout MSI.

The Importance of Coaching for RNG

Most people tend to underestimate the importance of the coach to the victory. In professional tournaments, every team has their strengths and weaknesses, and the coach has to analyze hundreds of games and come up with the best strategies to take down rival teams. Right after RNG’s victory, I started wondering how an LPL team became so strong over the last year. After all, the LCK. Later I found out to prepare MSI, all the top coaches from other LPL teams started a coach team. Their primary goal was to share work closely and find the best strategy against every opponent in the tournament. Many people were wondering why Karsa, the RNG jungler, played all four games against KZ in the finals instead of MLXG, who was always in RNG’s starting line-up. In fact, Karsa was the secret weapon the coach team had prepared for KZ. KZ was very familiar with MLXG’s aggressive and all-in play style and was ready to use his aggressiveness as a break-through point to defeat RNG. They had to face Karsa, whom they had little knowledge about. The result was obvious, the world’s “best” jungler Peanut got wholly outperformed by Karsa – the counter ganks and constantly two levels behind Karsa. At one point I thought Karsa must be cheating – how could he always know exactly where Peanut was? What a victory for the smart brains behind the scene.

Many teams from other regions have their own think tanks as well. This type of coaching is very unique; it’s hard to imagine other kinds of sports would share coaches from different clubs when it comes to international tournaments. This is why I love e-sports – it’s competitive like traditional sports, yet there are always pleasant surprises.

SKT T1 has been dominating the LoL world since 2013, and the entire LCK has been considered the best division in the world. Throughout the entire MSI, we can clearly tell that the gap between LCK and other divisions are closing. I can’t imagine what will happen on the 2018 World Championship series; I look forward to more amazing team fights and world-class plays by all teams from all over the world.

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