LPL No. 2 seed Royal Never Give Up has at least partially redeemed China on Day 1 of 2016 Worlds. After LPL champions EDward Gaming dropped a shocking loss to INTZ e-Sports earlier in the day, RNG secured an upset of its own by taking down North American champions Team SoloMid in the final game of the day.
It was an outstanding game for RNG support Se-hyeong “Mata” Cho. The former world champion marked his return to the game’s biggest stage with one of the best Alistar performances we’ve seen in a while, securing first blood with his team with a cheeky early jungle invade and repeatedly coming up with big knock-ups in team fights.
TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen did his best to keep the game close with some nice plays on Lee Sin.
But it was not enough -- RNG played a surprisingly patient game, waiting for its composition to scale and punishing TSM in late team fights. Mata’s power was never more clear than during this mid-game team fight, knocking up three TSM members in the middle of Rumble’s Equalizer to swing a huge fight.
Mata was involved in 16 of RNG’s 17 kills in the game.
This game was actually a remake of the first attempt, after an Aurelion Sol bug was discovered. The champion has been “temporarily” disabled while Riot looks into it.
Team SoloMid is the only team to have made every single Worlds. After a dominating Summer Split and another North American title, expectations were high entering this tournament.
After winning the LPL Spring Title, Royal Never Give Up had a strong start to the Mid-Season Invitational before losing in the semifinal round. After a shaky Summer Split that included poor macro play, many questions surrounded the team entering Worlds. If Thursday is any indication, good things are to come for RNG.