In the most anticipated quarterfinals match of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship, T1 soundly swept Royal Never Give Up (RNG) 3-0 on Saturday (22 October) to secure their spot in the semifinals.
T1 and RNG have a long history of rivalry on the international stage. Both teams have three back-to-back championship titles under their belts, with T1 winning Worlds from 2015 to 2017 as well as two Mid Season Invitational (MSI) titles while RNG won their third MSI title this year against T1.
The World Championship title, however, was an achievement that had eluded RNG.
They have always been beaten by the South Korean juggernauts in any Worlds matchup, and this year's quarterfinals match was their chance to finally get ahead.
T1, on the other hand, were hungry for revenge and redemption. Last Spring, they were hyped to be the strongest team at the MSI. However, as fate would have it, RNG swept the South Korean team in front of their home crowd.
This shook T1's confidence and resolve in the Summer, leading to them losing to Gen.G in a 3-0 sweep in the LCK Summer Finals. After a bit of internal restructuring and rest from the burnout, T1 came into Worlds swinging.
T1 came into Worlds as the second seed of the League of Legends Korea Championship (LCK). In Groups, T1 dropped a game to Fnatic and ended up tied with EDward Gaming and Fnatic in the first round before dominating the second round of Groups to make it to the Knockout Stage.
Reigning MSI champions RNG was the League of Legends Pro League (LPL)’s fourth seed, but they’ve shown that they were a force to reckon with at every stage of the competition.
In the play-ins, they finished 4-1 before securing a slot into Groups through the qualifier. They then demolished the competition in Group D, only falling to Gen.G in a tiebreaker to settle for second seed.
In game of T1 and RNG's highly-anticipated showdown, the South Korean team's Mun "Oner" Hyeon-jun took advantage of Yan "Wei" Yang-Wei's jungle and helped set up Choi "Zeus" Woo-je for success in the top lane. Despite this, Wei was still able to turn a team fight around for RNG and take a Triple Kill.
T1, however, continued to push their top lane advantage, cautiously rotating around the map and even ignoring the first Baron to avoid a mistake they previously made at MSI.
T1 methodically took objectives off the map and pushed all lanes, preventing RNG from making a comeback.
And after a 38-minute encounter and an over 10,000 gold lead, T1 destroyed the RNG Nexus and won the first game with a 15-10 kill lead.
RNG drafted for more agency in the second game, picking Sejuani in the jungle for Wei and Fiora for Chen "Breathe" Chen.
The LPL fourth seed mirrored what T1 had done in the first game, bullying T1’s top laner Zeus on every turn and setting him back despite being on his signature Jayce pick.
Meanwhile, T1’s bot lane duo, Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok kept a comfortable lead against Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming and Chen "GALA" Wei.
The Chinese team had full control of the map, with Sejuani’s tankiness preventing the South Korean juggernauts from making any plays across the map.
T1 slowed down their team’s bleeding by taking the Baron and allowing their buffed minions to push lanes for them.
The tides turned in T1’s favour in a fight for the Elder Drake, when they found an opportunity to take out four out of five RNG’s members and take the drake for themselves, followed by the Baron.
Gumayusi, on his comfort Xayah pick, stepped up and carried the team, killing any members of RNG on sight.
T1 marched down RNG’s base and pushed to destroy the Nexus, and despite the Chinese team’s valiant attempt to defend, the Nexus fell in 41 minutes, allowing T1 to win the second game and take their team to matchpoint.
The third game was a bloodbath from the start, with both teams going in aggressive in the laning phase. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok on Akali managed to prevent RNG from taking first blood in a gank at the mid lane and masterfully escaped death repeatedly.
Both teams took map objectives and traded kills evenly while trying to find opportunities to outplay each other.
T1 then played mind games on the map that allowed them to ace RNG. The Yone-Akali combination of Zeus and Faker slaughtered the LPL fourth seed, again and again, denying RNG any comeback.
And after just 26 minutes, T1 ended their opponent’s hopes, crushed RNG’s base, and won the third game.
Gumayusi was notably named player of the game after showing up strong in this matchup and carrying his team for most of the games. This win also allowed Faker to maintain his record of never missing a semifinal at Worlds.
Meanwhile, RNG bow out of Worlds 2022 in 5th-8th place, taking home US$100,125 in consolation.
T1 is moving on to the semifinals, where they will go against LPL Champions JD Gaming next week.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.