Royal Never Give Up had a timid start to the LPL. Lacking their star ADC Uzi, the perhaps best team in 2018 almost started their Spring Split campaign 0-2.
But now Uzi is back and so are RNG, proving it against the strongest team in the LPL: FunPlus Phoenix.
FPX came into the match undefeated, 8-0 in series. Although most of their wins came against the lower ranked teams, a 2-1 victory over Invictus Gaming on Sunday shut down some of the naysayers. If FPX were to establish their stranglehold of the LPL, they had to slay RNG too.
And after game 1, they were well on the way.
Game 1: FPX lead 1-0
RNG brought a fast-tempo game to FPX, shutting down mid and bot immediately and taking firm control of the macro game. While GimGoon was left alone top on Vladimir — a dangerous late game prospect — RNG had eveyrthing else going for them. They had dragon control, took the first Baron and were confidently pushing towards FPX’s base.
This is where they ran into a well-equipped Vladimir and things went very wrong. Great synergy between Tian and GimGoon secured an ace for FPX and erased the Baron buff from RNG. A couple of minutes later, the Phoenix took another full team fight — and another ace.
Against all odds, RNG were losing the game, and this series.
Games 2 & 3: RNG win 2-1
RNG returned for game 2 fresh, and hungry. They did the same thing as in game 1, only better. The jungle/mid duo of RNG ruled the early game. About 5 minutes into the game, Tian was already 30cs behind. Doinb was also struggling, 20cs behind and having died twice.
And when the time came to contest Baron, RNG made none of the mistakes from game 1.
RNG’s ace snowballed into a game-winning lead. With the series tied, RNG were even hungrier to end FPX’s 8-0 streak and they threw everything they had at the head of the Phoenix.
Doinb had another rough series, being ganked over and over again. RNG showed they could play around Xiaohu as easily as they do around Uzi. The Syndra was FPX’s worst nightmare. Xiaohu entered the match as MVP with 6/1/9 KDA — an 88% kill participation ration. The only other player who came close to Xiaohu’s dominance that game was, of course, Uzi on a 4/0/7 Kai’Sa.
With this win, RNG tied with Bilibili Gaming for the #3 spot in the rankings and look towards climbing even further by the end of the week. On Sunday, RNG play the low-ranked Snake Esports ad are likely to increase their score to 7-2. On the other hand, FPX meet Topsports, another high-ranked team and will have to play better than they did against RNG if they want to stay at the top.