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With the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational on the horizon, the League of Legends Pro League’s Royal Never Give Up are one of 11 regional champions from around the world that are getting ready for the biggest League of Legends international event of the spring. While MSI 2022 isn’t the final stop for the season, the tournament is key for seeing where each region stands in the global hierarchy.

RNG are coming into this year’s MSI as the reigning champions. After losing to the eventual Worlds 2021 champions, Edward Gaming, in the Worlds 2021 quarterfinals, RNG made important changes to their roster as they look to repeat as MSI champions in May.

RNG (LPL) MSI 2022 starting roster breakdown:

  • Top: Chen “Bin”  Ze-Bin | Signed in December 2021. Formerly a member of Suning
  • Jungle: Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei | Signed in December 2020. Formerly a member of eStar
  • Mid: Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao | Signed in May 2015.
  • Bot: Chen “GALA” Wei | Signed in June 2020. Formerly a member of Dominous Esports
  • Support: Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming | Signed in December 2016.

How they got here

After a successful 2021 campaign, RNG decided to only make two changes to their roster, which only resulted in one new player. They picked up Bin from Suning as their the new top laner, releasing Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei during the off-season. This opened up room for Xiaohu to come back to his home in the mid-lane. Although it wasn’t the most eye-opening move, Xiaohu’s pivot back to the mid lane was one of the biggest changes of any team in the 2022 off-season.

With the team stacked on paper, RNG came into 2022 with an even better roster than they had at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. And at the start of the LPL 2022 spring season, RNG were among the teams heralded as favorites. After all, this team won last year’s 2021 LPL spring split and are still the reigning MSI champions.

The season started off as expected for RNG with a 6-1 record after Week 4, good enough for second place. After a bumpy Week 5 and 6, RNG came roaring back in the final weeks of the spring season, finishing with a 12-4 record that locked in the second seed.

In the playoffs, RNG played against a red-hot JD Gaming squad in the winner’s bracket semifinals. After falling behind 2-0 in the series, RNG came back with three straight wins to pull of the reverse sweep and put them in the winner’s finals.

Awaiting them were the pre-season champions, Top Esports. After TES took Game 1 of the series, RNG showed up and won three straight to put them alone in the grand finals.

TES would get a chance at revenge as RNG and TES ran it back in the LPL 2022 spring final. But this time, RNG jumped out to a 2-0 lead before TES swayed the series into their favor with two straight wins of their own. Pushed to a Game 5, RNG staved off the reverse sweeps, shutting the door on TES’ comeback and locking up their second, straight LPL spring title. Now they’re set to defend their MSI title, too.

Players to watch

Despite being 12-4 during the regular season and having the second seed heading into playoffs, RNG only managed to place two players onto any of the three LPL All-Pro teams. One of those players was, of course, Xiaohu.

Xiaohu is the heart of RNG, and he is as dangerous as ever. Back in his mid lane home, Xiaohu has not skipped a beat despite not playing the role in a year. He was second in the LPL in player of the game honors during the regular season. He was also tied for the team lead in player of the game honors during the playoffs.

Besides him, the usual suspects are all here. GALA and Ming have made names themselves on the international stage after they destroyed everyone at MSI 2021. Wei is obviously no slouch. either.

However, if there is one player to watch aside from Xiaohu, it has to be Bin. As the newcomer to this team, Bin was on the Suning roster that finished second to DWG KIA at Worlds 2020, so he has been in high-pressure situations before.

He didn’t play the best during the LPL 2022 regular season, but when RNG needed him the most, he showed up. He was the MVP in Game 5 of the LPL 2022 spring finals. Only time will tell if he can keep it up at MSI 2022.

How RNG can succeed at MSI 2022

For the reigning champions, nothing short of first place is acceptable. RNG are expected to reach the finals, but are likely underdogs coming into the tournament. For RNG to win the event over T1, they will need their team to play cleanly. Still, every member on this team has been in high-pressure games before, and they also have shown the capability of being called the best in the world. The team has been good enough to play

If RNG can play at their peak, there isn’t a team in the tournament that can really beat them. The scary part about RNG is that they have room to improve and to play better. But its going to need to be a collective effort of everyone involved to secure their second straight MSI title.