|SPORTSMANSHIP AT ITS FINEST: RNG's top laner Liu (Zzitai) Zhi-Hao (on black jersey) consoles the crying IG's star mid laner and former teammate Song (Rookie) Eul-jin (on white and gray jersey) after RNG's 3-2 win in the Semifinals against IG.|
By Ozzy Alaba
MANILA (UPDATED) -- Royal Never Give Up (RNG) pulled off a huge upset in the 2018 LPL Spring Semifinals after exterminating old Chinese titans Invictus Gaming (IG), 3-2 in their anticipated best-of-5 date to secure the first Grand Finals slot at the LGD Gaming C & E Center in Hangzhou, China, Saturday evening (Philippine time).
Even with their backs definitely against the wall against IG, who were directly seeded into the Semifinals through their incredible 18-1 Regular Season finish and were predicted by analysts to win the Playoffs, RNG, the former LPL champions still exemplified their ever-vintage "Protect the Puppy" strategy to utmost perfection once again, letting their star AD Carry Jian (Uzi) Zi-Hao hard carry the squad again through his brilliant performance on Kai'Sa, in which he got a Pentakill in Game 2.
But in spite of his stellar showing in the entire series, IG still showed their ever-formidable form and proved that they won't let their guards go down as easily, and they did it in the best time possible.
Despite winning in Game 1 and being stomped in Game 2, the two-time Worlds contender still managed to keep their spirits high, forcing a do-or-die Game 5 behind Korean star mid laner Song (Rookie) Eul-jin and rookie AD Carry Yu (JackeyLove) Wen-Bo's dominance, but they weren't able to channel their gained momentum as they were eventually pounded by their counterpart, only scoring a single kill against RNG's 11 in the final game, which ended in 31 minutes.
With his ever-consistent performance, Jian, also known as the "Mad Dog of the LPL" bagged two MVP points in the series through his merged 9 Kill-Death-Assist (KDA) Ratio (42/7/21 KDA) on Kai'Sa, Kog'Maw, and Varus, accentuating his combined 33/5/12 KDA on Kai'Sa alone.
Veteran mid laner Li (Xiaohu) Yuan-Hao also supported Jian in providing tons of damage and frontline presence through his Sion, Vladimir, and Galio, which let him co-lead the kills category with 16 combined kills (Jian leads with 42 kills.)
RNG's resident jungler Liu (Mlxg) Shi-Yu and sophomore support Shi (Ming) Sen-Ming also didn't fail to boost the 10-man squad's frontline, making their tanky and utility picks a thorn on the opposition, spearheading the whole team in the assists department with 106 merged assists and co-lead the kill participation (KP) side with 62.93 percent (Jian leads with 86.30 percent.)
IG, meanwhile, even though being shockingly eliminated still shined a little bit, with Song and Yu leading the kills category for the 7-man veteran-equipped squad with 36 combined kills.
Sophomore jungler Gao (Ning) Zhen-Ning also stole the spotlight in Game 1, where he got the first MVP point of the series through his 4/1/11 KDA on Gragas, which is helpful in his combined 10/17/33 KDA (2.52 KDA Ratio) and team-high 81.13 percent KP.
With the win, RNG are now assured of acquiring 70 to 90 Championship Points, and will wait on the winner of the last semifinal match between decorated LPL champions EDward Gaming (EDG) and newcomers Rogue Warriors (RW) on Sunday.
IG, on the other hand will also be assured of bagging at least 30 to 50 Championship Points, and will also wait on the loser in the said series, for they will face the said loser in the Third Place Match on Tuesday.
|The updated bracketing of the 2018 LPL Spring Playoffs. Leaguepedia|
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