Credit: @lplenglish / Twitter

MSI Preview: Incumbent champions Royal Never Give Up are back to defend the belt

Royal Never Give Up are back on the international stage as the current MSI title holders. The team has the heavy task of defending their status as a champion, but that doesn’t seem worrying considering the history of the competition. 

Historically, LPL teams have dominated the Mid-Season Invitational as they are the most crowned region with three titles out of six. The LCK is a close second with two titles, and the LEC can be happy with G2 Esports’ 2019 MSI trophy. 

Furthermore, whenever an LPL team has reached the MSI final, it always won the tournament—a good hint at what to expect from RNG. Just get to the final, and history will repeat itself. 

Both RNG and T1 have two titles, and the odds are very high that they will meet in the finals to decide who the ultimate MSI Champion is. 

Path to MSI

Compared to every other region, the LPL’s path to MSI is the hardest. LPL teams play the highest amount of games during a season, making RNG’s success even more astonishing. Especially when considering that they are “game fivers.”

The team had a stellar regular split, finishing second in the standings and securing a much easier playoff road. Three bo5’s is all RNG needed as no team could beat them. 

However, it was not as easy as it sounded: RNG almost fell early against JD Gaming, but they dug deep to perform the 3-2 reverse sweep. 

The story was almost reversed in the finals as RNG nearly endured a reverse sweep on the wrong end. However, their consistency and mental fortitude proved vital for their 3-2 win against TOP Esports, disallowing the comeback and lifting yet another LPL title. 

Source: Leaguepedia

Players to watch: top laner Chen “Bin” Ze-bin 

As easy as it would be to say “all of them,” especially given how stacked RNG’s roster is, Bin stands out as the team’s silent carry. The player justified RNG’s faith in him when they signed him and swapped Xiaohu back to the mid lane to replace Cryin.

Bin has been one of the best solo laners in the LPL as his approach to the game is both smart and phenomenal. Facing him in lane is akin to facing an Elden Ring boss for the first time in a blind walkthrough—except that you don’t get better, the boss does. 

If that is not enough, he is a great team fighter—queue his Gangplank barrels against G2 Esports (and every European fan dying inside). 

Jaxon’s prediction: MSI finalist

The prediction is simple: RNG will be in the Mid-Season Invitational Final. And then, they might win it.

Yohan Markov is among the most prolific of all analysts and writers covering League of Legends esports. A long-time veteran of the scene, Yohan has the in-depth knowledge of LoL required to break down the biggest pro games, combined with the lengthy experience covering Riot Games and its many regional leagues needed to break down what's happening and why in the LoL esports world.