In the banning phase Killzone quickly locked Irelia for themselves, but it wasn’t certain until the end, on which lane will she be playing. When it became clear, that RNG wants to play Sion mid, Khan got his hands on Fiora and BDD got himself another chance to show if he’s a real Blade Dancer. Facing triple Korean threat, Chinese team decided to bet everything on Uzi’s Ezreal, who was going to be supported by Janna and a ton of tanks.
Previous tournament’s history shows, that if RNG has a gold lead at the 15. Minute mark and, what’s more, they destroy the first tower, they win every game. This time it wasn't different. In the beginning, Peanut was greedy, which led him to give up the First Blood. BDD did all he could on mid, by killing Xiaohu in 1v1 and helping top with his ganks, but on the bottom lane, Uzi was relentlessly gaining more and more lead over the Pray’s Caitlyn. It was clear, that in the mid game his champion is stronger, and as Kingzone put everything into the physical damage, RNG’s tanks had an easier task when it came to the itemization.
In the 23. minute the gold difference wasn’t so dramatic, but Pray and Gorilla got themselves ambushed near the Baron. RNG rushed on them without a hesitation, chasing them down to the tower. Five Kingzone’s players killed later, the only thing that didn’t allow the Chinese to take the Baron, was their low hp, which didn’t allow them to wait for Ezreal to deal with the monster.
This, however, sealed the RNG’s advantage. 1:0 for the Chinese team!
RNG again went with Ezreal, Skarner, and Orn, but in the second ban phase, KZ didn’t allow them to complete their roster with Sion and Janna. Instead they had to manage with Galio and Morgana, again betting everything on their card called “Uzi”. Kingzone this time chose duo Varus and Tahm Kench, and then Irelia and Sejuani. Khan got his hands on Cho’gath, which sow such a terror in Semi-Finals.
Kingzone opened the game by setting a trap for Ezreal even before the first wave showed up. With the help of Khan, Pray took the First Blood. They had to pay for it with three burnt Flashes. Thanks to that, Kars’s later gank on top was merely a formality – Cho’gath had nowhere to go. After KZ took the first tower, for the next 20 minutes nothing much happened. When Varus and Tahm got themselves caught, it cost their team two middle towers. After the second time, RNG destroyed the inhibitor.
It seemed that Chinese team has everything under control when it turned out that lone Ezreal can’t break through the giant wall of hp Cho’gath and Sejuani have become. After the explosive fight in the KZ’s north jungle, it became clear, that Korean team has the initiative in this match. By losing the Baron, RNG gave up its finger and their opponents took the whole hand.
With a several-thousand gold advantage masters of the LCK forced a decisive fight near the RNG’s inhibitor and simply steamrolled through their base, evening up to 1:1!
The third game was a story about a midlaner, who finally got a real mage in his hands and didn’t have to support his AD carry. Xiahou’s Vladimir sow dread from the first moments, when he managed to survive Peanut’s gank and get the First Blood. KZ again concentrated on attempts to stop Uzi, but the Crimson Reaper was their demise.
RNG confidently kept capturing next objectives on the map, from the hands of clearly demoralized Koreans. Khan and Peanut kept getting caught and gave up more gold to the enemies. Xiahou and company quickly closed the game and got the second point today.
In their match for survival KZ not only again reached for Illaoi for Khan, but they also put Vel’koz against Malazahar…! Uzi hasn’t got Ezreal, but that meant, that he can play Kai’sa, which he recently used against the Korean team. However, thanks to that, Pray and Gorilla chose Xayah and Rakan. It was going to be an exciting, and possibly the last game of the day.
Royal Never Give Up approached the early game twofold. On the one side gank after gank on the top lane slowed down Khan, on the other, constant Skarner’s presence on bottom didn’t allow KZ to play aggressively. Illaoi in the role of the team’s punching bag gave the Chinese team a lot of gold, but Koreans in exchange for her sacrifice kept capturing dragons.
However, at some point, there had to be a situation where Khan had to join his team. It came in the 28. minute, where Kingzone managed to force a Baron teamfight. The combined force of AoE spells blew RNG off the map.
KZ, Buffed by the Baron, demolished two lanes with their inhibitors and it seemed, that they could force a fifth game. However, before the “Silver Scrapes” could be turned on, Koreans had to win at least another fight. And they did, but not completely. There were two players in each team and Illaoi with Vel’koz couldn’t destroy the Nexus towers.
When it seemed, that it was enough for KZ to just regroup, Pray got caught by Malzahar’s and Orn’s initiation. Illaoi wasn’t around, so there were no chances to start the combo and slow Vel’koz also fell a prey to RNG. And so, the fate of the match has magically turned. Without the playmakers, Korean team wasn’t able to defend its base and Royal Never Give Up quickly picked up the victory they deserved.
For the first time in 1106 days, Korean team couldn’t manage to win the international event. It’s the fifth time in history when a Korean team got beaten in a best-of-5 game by a foreign group. Uzi waited six years, two times scoring the second place, to finally lift the trophy. Thus Royal Never Give Up is the third team in history, next to SKT and Edward Gaming, who managed to win Mid-Season International.
European fans surely feel unsatisfied. If Fnatic played in the first phase just like in Semi-Finals with Royal Never Give Up, would they have a chance to choose a weaker opponent? Although their match with RNG ended in a defeat of 0:3, the aggressive playstyle they presented gives a hope for a revenge during the World Championships.
Is this the beginning of the Chinese domination on such events? We will find out in July when during the Rift Rivals, teams from the Chinese league will face crews from the LCK and Taiwan.