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The 2022 MSI’s Three-Way Race Between T1, RNG, & G2

Nikhil Kalro

T1 are yet to win an international trophy in South Korea. RNG, the current defending champions, and G2 have both proven to be in terrific form lately. Does that mean we’re going to be in for a three-way race to the finish line at the League of Legends 2022 Mid-Season Invitational? It could well be the case.

msi 2022 race between t1 rng g2 targamas

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 18: Raphael "Targamas" Crabbe of G2 Esports poses at the League of Legends - Mid-Season Invitational Rumble Features Day on May 18, 2022 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Lee Aiksoon/Riot Games)

T1’s style has revolved around Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong, their global superstar. During the LCK, he led the way with 218 kills during the Spring Split. No other player had more than 200 – a sign of complete map control.

It underlines the level of domination and the effect he’s had over record-breaking T1 as they went through the entire split unscathed. With just 1.9 deaths per game on an average, he has proven to be among the most effective players on Summoners Rift. 

Having won more games for T1 in his first four months of 2022 than he did in the entire 2021 season, he has come into MSI 2022 with the kind of domination expected of T1. That they have had a sprightly start to the tournament augurs well for them, as well as those who have them nailed down as champion material. 

Then there’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, who is now synonymous with T1. No one has more loyalty to a team than Faker, having enjoyed the longest career with a single team out of anyone in history. He’ll be playing for them until at least 2023, marking 10 years with the team. This loyalty has had a massive effect on the rest of the pack.

His record speaks for itself, as do those of his teammates. That said, it’s not as if T1 doesn’t have flaws. It’s just that a lot of the flaws have been kept in check because of their collective qualities. Their bot lane and support duo are nearly unbreachable; they are the best in the pack, with Choi “Zeus” Woo-je performing admirably as a jungler. Expecting them to continue shining and blazing maps the world over isn’t too far-fetched.

Their 18-0 record at the LCK is credited to their squad building. Even as others were rebuilding their rosters after 2021, T1 focused on strengthening theirs. All members of the side who featured in the LCK finals and Worlds only picked up from where they left off.

This meant in terms of gameplay, there was continuity and their strategies were an option at a step ahead of the rest. This allowed them to make a mockery of pre-game predictions, with even highly-skilled outfits made to look far worse than they actually were. If T1 found an inch, they’d open it up to an acre. They can be an intimidating outfit at the best of times.

Take, for instance, the 2022 Spring Finals, where Gen.G had to decide whether or not to burst down the Rift Herald or turn on T1 to take the fight. Gen.G couldn’t make a unified call, so T1 decided to give up the Rift Herald and play the front-to-back team fight. That moment’s indecision cost them. This is the strength of the outfit. They spot a weakness and they’ll soon be over the opponents like a bad rash. Against T1, there is no room for error.

RNG Proves Dominance Despite Ping Issue Setback

RNG, meanwhile, have had a few administrative hassles to overcome following a number of complaints raised regarding ping issues in the ongoing tournament. Riot Games, the organizers, will be holding three replacement matches for RNG. This means their wonderful start – they won three in a row to become the early pace-setters – is now null and void, as they’ve been erased due to discrepancies.

As such, competing remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions was always meant to be a challenge. Special network latency tools were used to maintain competitive integrity to keep the ping between China and Korea at about 35 milliseconds to ensure a level-playing field to the maximum extent possible.

However, technical evaluations that discovered discrepancies in game logs as compared to what was being played out in the Esports Arena at Busan led to the rescheduling. 

Evil Geniuses’ support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme believes they felt “unstable” on stage, while AD carry Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki felt increased latency affected micro-dependent champs. The organisers have had to dig deep to make some ‘configuration changes” as a result.

In many ways, they had to go back to the drawing board. Such a situation can elicit either frustration or can spur the team further. They seem to have put the setback behind them by getting the better of Istanbul Wildcats to get on board. The win was set up by AD carry Chen “GALA” Wei, who had played a key role in each of the three wins that were wiped away. 

Within the first six minutes, he landed three kills and from there on, there was no looking back. The MVP of MSI 2021 ended up with 8 kills, 3 deaths and 12 assists. RNG showed there aren’t any after-effects of the initial week. Despite the misfortune of needing to replay their first games, it appears to have been only a minor inconvenience, as RNG advanced from the Group Stage with a flawless 6-0 record. However, that record was easily matched by both T1 and G2 in their own groups.

These three undefeated teams, the best sides in League of Legends today, will collide in the Rumble Stage this weekend. Sit back and enjoy.