MSI 2022 Semifinal 1 Recap: RNG Speedruns EG & Marches On To The Finals
The first semi-final of the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022 held in Busan, South Korea was a complete whitewash for the North American (NA) squad of Evil Geniuses (EG). The star studded NA team was swept by China’s Royal Never Give Up (RNG) with a score of 3-0. Although this was the expected outcome, many had hoped that EG would at least take a game off of RNG.
The best team at MSI 2022 so far, showed up big time and did not play around or experiment. It was a valiant effort from the side of Evil Geniuses, nonetheless, given that this was the first MSI for the young, homegrown squad.
The series was over in just three hours with the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) team showing complete domination and prowess on the Summoner’s Rift. Match 1 of the best-of-five (BO5) series had an interesting draft with RNG opting for the classic Galio and Jarvan IV combo and Evil Geniuses leaning toward a more solo carry-style comp with Gangplank and Nocturne.
Three minutes into the game, three members of RNG – Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin, Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei, and Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao – tower dived Jeong "Impact" Eon-young under his top turret and killed him.
Following this, RNG collected the first Rift Herald, which is always very valuable since it could fetch vital tower platings, and mounted a significant gold lead. In response, Evil Geniuses secured the first dragon and had decent control of the bottom side of the map.
Party in the top-lane
At around 9.30 minutes, RNG had a stellar outplay in the top lane yet again. Wei was swift with his Jarvan IV moves as he killed Kacper "Inspired" Słoma hovering right around with his teammates underneath the tower.
Things went from bad to worse for the North American squad as Joseph Joon "jojopyun" Pyun and Impact also died a similar death under the same tower, which eventually fell at 12 minutes.
RNG immediately moved its focus to the bottom side of the map, collecting the second dragon and collapsing on Impact, who had also swapped lanes. Thankfully for EG, its first kill of the game came from this extended play by RNG. It seemed like the game was very one-sided as EG could not answer any of RNG’s plays and they were losing out on all fronts.
Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme died in the mid-lane, which meant that the LPL squad could knock down two towers and open up the map even more.
After a triple kill for Chen "GALA" Wei near the Baron pit, RNG burst it down and collected the buff. Thanks to the engages of Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming and Xiaohu, the match was over in under 28 minutes. Notably, Evil Geniuses had only secured one kill and did not knock down any of RNG’s structures.
RNG pushed for series point
In the second match of the BO5, Evil Geniuses went for its comfort picks all across the board. Danny got his hands on his infamous Jinx while Vulcan played Tahm Kench, and Inspired was put on his Viego. Ahri's pick for jojopyun also made sense since the young player had previously popped off with her. On the other side of the Rift, Bin locked in his devastating Gangplank and Xiaohu played Lissandra. The Rakan and Xayah pick for RNG’s bot lane found value as it picked up first-blood and shut down Danny in the laning phase.
RNG secured the dragon but gave away a few kills in the process. The first of the game was taken down by RNG in the bot lane after Lissandra stacked kills and pressed on the team’s advantages. It was a game of hide-and-seek with players making outplays from the fog of war. However, the name of the game for RNG was “dragon stacking.” Soon after this, EG turned to Baron Nashor and started the big monster and the Chinese squad was quick to answer. Sadly for EG, Wei on the Wukong picked up a crucial kill on the enemy jungler and also stole the Baron from under EG’s nose. In this process, however, multiple members of RNG died and the Baron power play was actually in the negative. EG’s base was cracked open at 30 minutes and RNG quickly picked up the Cloud Dragon soul, won a major team fight, and cleanly swept EG.
Do or die match for Evil Geniuses
The third match of the series started with multiple kills in the bottom lane where Ming picked up a double kill even after GALA died early on.
It was unfortunate timing for Evil Geniuses since Danny and Vulcan fought in a big minion wave and took maximum damage. After missing the Ahri charm on Xiaohu, jojopyun was forced to burn his summoner spells. Minutes after this, the Ahri was caught inside RNG’s jungle and was punished for it. The first dragon was secured at around 11 minutes in-game by RNG which had both mid-lane and bot lane priority. The Rift Herald was summoned in the mid-lane and the gold was shared by Wei and Xiaohu. It was a rampage at 14 minutes where kills fell left and right and EG turned to Herald right after. But RNG was quick to react and pick it up yet again.
Bin who played Gangplank once again collected the first tower on the top lane and extended RNG’s gold lead by 3K. It seemed like Xiaohu was unstoppable on Lissandra as he was omnipresent on the map, completely shutting down the side lanes of Evil Geniuses.
Evil Geniuses set the stage and the Busan crowd on fire as it aced RNG and secured Baron Nashor, cementing the start of a comeback.
RNG answered back by getting a few isolated kills and collected the Hextech soul. Once again, it was a match of inches with EG going toe to toe with the heavyweight of the tournament. With the kind of momentum on the side of the NA squad, everyone was expecting the series to go to the fourth match.
Near the Elder dragon, EG’s attack-damage carry (ADC) Danny was one-shotted by Bin’s Gangplank and the game was once again turned in the favor of RNG. Though RNG pried open the base, it could not stay and push. It had to recall to reset health bars and marched right back onto the Nashor and secured it.
The defending MSI champion, RNG, aced Evil Geniuses at around 43 minutes and ended the game in a swift three-game series. It announced loud and clear that it is going to take something special to stop the team.
Two weeks back, Royal Never Give Up (RNG)’s League of Legends head coach Zhu “KenZhu” Kai released a lengthy statement explaining his thoughts on what transpired after Riot Games discovered the ping discrepancy and how the team has been coping with the pandemic.
He added that RNG will not back down from challenges and that it will finish MSI. At this juncture, the team looks like it shall comfortably bring home the glory once again in 2022 as the champion of MSI.
The west’s hopes now entirely rests in the hands of G2 Esports which takes on Korea’s T1 tomorrow (28th May) in the second semi-final match of MSI 2022.