The Mid-Season Invitationals 2022 had just concluded and after countless butt-clenching games and controversy to spice it up, Royal Never Give Up manage to defend their title as the MSI 2022 champions! Their road to the finals was smooth-sailing, but the setting at which they competed had raised a lot of concern among the community that mostly pertains to the legitimacy of their victory over the favorites in T1.
RNG’s Path to the Championship
RNG became the first team in history to win three MSI trophies after becoming the back-to-back champion. Being the MSI 2022 champion means that they have matched SKT T1 as the only other team to have secured both a 3rd international tournament title and a back-to-back tournament win. This team has won the MSI 2021 tournament with star player – Xiaohu – lane swapping to the top lane to make way for Cryin.
Royal Never Give Up faced a lot of hardships in the tournament. At one point, they had their 3-0 record nulled because of technical issues surrounding their victories during that game. That meant they had to play 3-straight unscheduled games the following day at a later time frame as compared to the rest of the tournament. Regardless, they only dropped two games at the Rumble Stage and another two games in the MSI 2022 finals. They faced difficulties both internationally and domestically.
MSI 2022: A Mickey Mouse Tournament?
League of Legends esports fans were not happy with Riot Games after they announced that the tournament will be held online to accommodate the LPL’s RNG since China was under hard lockdown, which would prevent them and all the other Chinese teams from attending the tournament. The tournament organizers decided to play under an artificial 35ping, which was met with a lot of criticism from the community.
The biggest criticism being that RNG had to play under strict circumstances, meaning no one other than the staff and players were allowed in the facility. Fans believed that RNG had many ways to cheat since there were no referees in the scene. In addition, the 35ping was something that broke the integrity of the tournament because no international tournament in any esport was played other than on LAN.
What’s The Truth?
Fans like to speculate, but there are objective truths that can’t be ignored about the tournament. Royal Never Give Up never had a moment where they were at an advantageous position or in a situation where they could cheat even after they were declared the MSI 2022 champions. Let’s take a look at some of the points that need to be understood:
- No Refs, No Cameras – Royal Never Give Up was being monitored by referees through a camera at the corner of the room. This is why viewers can see RNG’s players at the end of every match. RNG couldn’t stream each individual player because that will affect the artificial ping. However, the camera could see if RNG was doing anything suspicious.
- No Noise Cancelling Headset – This claims that RNG could receive help from coaches and staff while in-game. However, voice comms had to be submitted after every game and since the players were using earphones and standard gaming headphones, those would pickup all noise coming into the room.
- Ping Advantage For RNG – As a matter of fact, the 35ping was more of a disadvantage for RNG. At the 4th day of the Group Stage, RNG’s match history was nulled by the tournament organizers because the other teams had higher ping against them in-game. To remedy this, the Busan teams were playing on 22ping instead while RNG remained at 35ping. In addition, all teams in the tournament played at 35 ping regardless of whether they played against RNG or not.
- MSI was Scripted! – The community believes that MSI was scripted because RNG was able to lift the MSI trophy despite being under hard lockdown immediately after they won. If you think about it, there’s nothing really suspicious about a 2-time MSI champion being able to lift an MSI trophy inside their facility.
T1’s Incredible Performance
The legendary organization – T1 (formerly SKT T1) – made an epic comeback to the world stage as they were entering the tournament with an 24-1 record during the LCK Spring Season. We even placed them at the top of our MSI 2022 Tier List. Faker, accompanied by a myriad of young talent, steamrolled their way to MSI and quickly became the favorites to win the entire thing. They were expected to win and with the advantage of having the tournament in their home-soil, they had every advantage they could get.
T1 showed up strong at the beginning of the tournament, but showed signs of weakness during the rumble stage when they lost to G2 and struggles against some of the intermediate regions. Specifically, Gumayusi and Keria who were hailed as the best botlane in the world found themselves struggling constantly during the laning phase. That and drafting issues from T1 were their main downfall in a lot of their games against RNG.
Expectation For Worlds 2022
The Mid-Season Invitational is often used as a basis for the World Stage. For sure, analysts will place both RNG and T1 as the two favorites that we expect to see at Worlds and as the MSI 2022 Champions and Runner-up, these two will be regarded as favorites to win the tournament if they make it. However, there’s rarely any history where the MSI champion managed to win the grand slam by winning Worlds as well. The only exception are SKT T1 themselves.
RNG, the MSI 2022 champions are heavy favorites coming into the Summer Season and will be expected to make a grand return to worlds. However, the LPL is an extremely competitive region and even though they have enough points to at least give them the chance to play in the Qualifiers, they’ll still need to retain their form to take one of four slots to make it back to the international stage and prove to the world that their victory was well-deserved.