Royal Never Give Up 3 -- Invictus Gaming 2
Royal Never Give Up overcame Invictus Gaming in a nail-biting 3-2 series win on Friday, taking the mantle of League of Legends Pro League Summer Split champions in Nanjing YOG Sport Park Gymnasium in Nanjing, Jiangsu.
The golden year of RNG continues to shine brightly as it took its second split title of the year, barely keeping rival IG back throughout a five-game slugfest. If Game 1 was to be any indication of things to come, both teams were ready and willing to brawl, with constant aggression from both sides being the norm for most of this match. Since both teams had already locked in spots at the 2018 World Championships, this set merely determined seeding for China's top two teams, but both sides played its respective hearts out nonetheless, despite any technical issues or other hardships they might have faced.
RNG stormed out to a quick 2-0 lead to kick things off on the back of superstar AD carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, who is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the single best, player in the world today. Having broken the curse of the ever elusive domestic title victory some time ago, Uzi played like a man possessed, amassing a combined 35/10/31 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), carrying RNG to its second Spit title of the year. Uzi played Kai'Sa for the most part and showed just why he's so revered by analysts and peers alike, using the explosive playmaker to take over teamfights and keep Invictus Gaming on the back foot. When RNG ran classic "Raise the Puppy" compositions, where it took supportive champions to enable Uzi's raw talent, it looked like IG simply didn't stand a chance as RNG exploded out to take a 2-0 lead.
Invictus Gaming wouldn't get run over for long, though, bouncing back in Game 3 through crisp teamfighting and the Zoe play of mid laner Song "Rookie" Eui-jin. With IG's back to the wall and facing a humiliating 3-0 sweep, Rookie came up clutch as the Aspect of Twilight, popping RNG's low health targets left and right. Taking Game 3 in just 30 minutes, all the momentum was on IG's side as Rookie took Vel'Koz into Game 4, pumping out massive damage as only Vel'Koz can. RNG looked discombobulated while IG shined, though RNG threatened to turn things around later in the game once Uzi's Kai'Sa got gold and levels under his belt. When playing against Uzi, it's hard for enemy AD carries to stand out, but IG's Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo managed to do just that as Ashe, teamfighting beautifully and eventually winning the game for IG in an exhilarating backdoor TP play to bring the series to Game 5.
Invictus Gaming took control of Game 5 early on, but Royal Never Give Up would bounce back after Uzi found a triple kill around 17 minutes in. From there, Invictus Gaming would go on to dominate the objective game, securing a pair of Barons and knocking down RNG's inhibitors as early as 27 minutes in, while RNG could do little more than keep clearing waves in its own base and wait for its time to strike. After IG's second Baron kill at 32 minutes, RNG managed to kill four members of Invictus but neglected to stop minions from taking out both Nexus towers, creating what seemed like an inevitable IG path to victory. In this harrowing time, though, Royal Never Give Up lived up to its name, rolling out a desperation all-out assault on IG which worked to perfection. As RNG picked up kills across the map, it had just enough time to roll through the mid lane and close out the 39-minute deciding game, showing the world that RNG is the team to beat come Worlds.
Both RNG and IG have locked in spots at Worlds, and will be joined by the winner of the LPL Regional Qualifier, which begins with JD Gaming taking on Edward Gaming at 3:35 a.m. ET on Saturday.