Making history as the first ever team to win three MSI titles, RNG have shown, for the second year in a row, that they are the international standard. Although T1 put up an incredible fight, while also looking for their third MSI title, the Korean favorites fell short. Their final records from the tournament are as follows:
- Group: 6-0
- Rumble: 7-3
- Knockout: 5-3
- Total: 18-6
- Group: 6-0
- Rumble: 8-2
- Knockout: 6-2
- Total: 20-4
Back and Forth
Throughout this series, RNG were clearly the more dominant early game team. Despite T1 being known for their “robot-like” openings, RNG were more dynamic and found themselves more dominant in the opening minutes.
In fact, in every single match RNG found first blood. Even more shocking, four of these first bloods happened within the opening five minutes, and three within three minutes and fifteen seconds. Although game four remains an outlier, with no action until the eighth minute, RNG made an impact before T1 every game.
In three of these matchups, T1 immediately responded, or traded back, to mitigate RNG’s gains; however, there was no relation between their responses and whether or not they won the match as they went 1-1 when there wasn’t an immediate response.
While neither team managed to win back-to-back, RNG struck first, sealing the first match in just over 33 minutes. T1 responded with a much faster 26 minute victory, but not after giving up Game 3 in 28 minutes.
Game 4, while almost equal in length, was significantly more competitive. Although T1 held a roughly 4000 gold lead, the game came down to a single fight over the third drake. Obviously, T1 won the fight, but a victory for RNG was not out of reach.
Game 5 Domination
Despite appearing to be even, the matches did follow an interesting pattern. With some fans arguing the matchup came down to a coin flip, the winning team from each match played on the blue side. With RNG winning the coin toss and getting to choose their side first, they selected the blue side for match one.
Following the pattern, they won, and T1 subsequently selected the blue side and won after as well. With RNG getting first selection, this meant that they got to select which side they would play for Game 5. Unsurprisingly, they selected the blue side and won the series 3-2.
While it may seem like coincidence, this pattern is not. Historical precedence favors the blue side in the finals, with the 2021 MSI Finals between RNG and DAMWON KIA ending in the exact same fashion: RNG won the coin toss in Game 1, and the winner of each match in the series chose the blue side.
Despite this blue side correlation, RNG seemed to dominate the match regardless of where they played. Following the first blood, T1 never once held a gold lead. With RNG securing first blood, the counterplay from T1 was practically nonexistent.
With a total of three kills by the end of the game, T1 didn’t find their second kill until the 15 minute mark. They did, however, find their final kill of the match at just under 21 minutes. Unfortunately for fans of the LCK, T1 were quiet for the rest of the 25:33 match.
Eager to hoist their record-setting third MSI trophy, RNG finished T1 off in the fastest match of the series. RNG’s jungler, and the initiator of all but one his team’s first bloods, Wei was named finals MVP.
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