After two weeks of some of the finest League of Legends we’re going to bear witness to all year, MSI 2021 finally has its champion. After an intense five-game series, in which Royal Never Give Up and DWG KIA traded games back and forth, it was the LPL representative that dealt the final blow to the current world champion.
RNG struck blood first, establishing the lead after a 39 minute slugfest during which eventual series MVP Chen ‘GALA’ Wei racked up 11 kills on his patented Kai’Sa pick – his first of five games on the champion. The second game saw the introduction of Xerath – a champion unseen in LoL’s top leagues since 2019 – into DWG’s draft, with Heo ‘ShowMaker’ Su piloting the Magus Ascendent to victory.
According to gol.gg, DWG banned Thresh in 85% of its games throughout the tournament. However, game three saw the Chain Warden finally unleashed by Cho ‘BeryL’ Geon-hee, partnered by Jang ‘Ghost’ Yong-jun’s Jinx. However, this was not enough to give DWG the series lead as RNG struck back.
Kim ‘Canyon’ Geon-bu shifted onto his famous Nidalee in a game four which saw Ghost pick up a pentakill on Tristana, evening up the score one final time.
However, it was Canyon’s opposing jungler, Yan ‘Wei’ Yang-Wei, who would guide his laners to victory in an absolute stomp of a final game. During the post-match interview with James ‘Dash’ Patterson, Wei showed a real admiration for Canyon, calling him a “perfect” jungler.
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Speaking to The Loadout during a press conference, Canyon himself was equally complimentary of his opponent. “I also think Wei is a perfect and a flawless jungler,” he says.
With RNG taking the MSI trophy home to China, defeating the world champion at the final hurdle, it may seem as if a gap is beginning to emerge between the region and the rest of the world. However, as Li ‘Xiaohu’ Yuan-Hao – now the first player to win an international tournament in two different roles – tells us, all four of this year’s finalists were “pretty close” in terms of skill.
But if there’s one thing that gives the LPL an edge over the other leagues, it’s “that there are a lot of teams as strong as us,” according to Xiaohu. Indeed, while the best teams in each league can all go toe-to-toe on LoL’s biggest stages, having a strong regional league, with high-quality matches each week, is crucial to elevating those teams to the next level.
Having regained the MSI title in first won in 2018, RNG will now have its sights firmly set on recreating this victory at Worlds later this year.