RNG wins their second MSI trophy but not without K-drama

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League of Legends Pro League (LPL) champion Royal Never Give Up (RNG) claimed the Mid-Season Invitational title after a nail-biting 3-2 win over League of Legends Champions Korea’s (LCK) Damwon Kia (DK) in Sunday’s Grand Finals. But the finals was only half the story of the drama that unfolded in Reykjavík, Iceland over the past few weeks. 

May be an image of 6 people and people standing

Credit: Riot Games

The back-and-forth series showcased the regional rivals battling it out for global supremacy. And while it was RNG which emerged tops in the end, the events leading to the finals left a bitter taste in DK’s mouth. 

Scheduling Woes

While the rulebook states that the first seed of the Rumble stage earns the right to compete first in the Friday slot, RNG’s mandated COVID-19 tests saw the Chinese side be bumped up from their original Saturday slot to take top seed DK’s Friday session.  

This has led to several pitchfork threads on Inven crying foul over alleged favouritism shown by Riot Games. Eventually an appeal was sent to the Riot Games headquarters, leaving them with no choice but to respond with a statement addressing the uncharacteristic schedule change.

Did that extra one day really make a difference?

Many argue that the change in schedule gave RNG an extra day to prepare for the finals despite being the lower seed. If anyone should have an advantage, it should have been DK, who were the top seed. Instead, they had to play their semi-final on Saturday and the final the next day. DK coach Kkoma echoed a similar sentiment, citing the lack of time to prepare for the final.

Yet, the other side of the argument is that by playing first, RNG showed their playstyle and weaknesses, useful information which DK had two days to digest and plan a response. Furthermore, even if RNG had an extra day to prepare, they were unable to find any scrim partners since all the other teams had already flown home. But perhaps their biggest disadvantage going into the final was that their head coach was not physically present at MSI.

What are your thoughts on this? Which side are you on?

Round 2 in October?

So did the scheduling conflict sully the integrity of the tournament? Well, I guess it depends on which side of the fence you sit on. For now, we will be left wondering if the crucial change in schedule would have made the difference. We look forward to hopefully seeing RNG and DK again later this year in Shenzhen for Worlds 2021. With recent news of cVmax returning to DK, it looks like DK might be out for blood this October. But RNG would have homeground advantage. Either way, the neutrals will be licking their lips at this match up. 

Round 2: FIGHT!

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