The second 2021 LoL Worlds quarterfinal match-up has all the hallmarks of a barnburner — Royal Never Give Up vs. EDward Gaming has fireworks written all over it, so let’s do a somewhat quick preview as this particular clash is more than worthy of our undivided attention!
Both of which happen to hail from the LPL, one of the most competitive and entertaining regions in the world. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing else will!
— LoL Esports (@lolesports) October 18, 2021
That aside, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say that both RNG and EDG have looked rather exploitable throughout their Group Stage runs. They got the job done — that is a fact — but most folks thought they’d be a lot more dominant and commanding in their wins. And sure, there were a few of those, but by no means did their games instill us with awe and admiration.
And, well, that’s not what you want to see from the only two remaining LPL representatives, both of whom were deemed (somewhat) unassailable coming into Worlds. Throughout the last two weeks, we’ve been both impressed beyond measure and wholly underwhelmed. It really depends on the day — sometimes they’ll step foot on stage and dominate like there’s no tomorrow, and other times they’ll just meander their way through the Rift, get a few kills, and barely close things out, with a host of egregious mistakes in the rearview mirror.
Still, even a flawed, inconsistent RNG/EDG is more than capable enough to run circles around the vast majority of their peers and opponents, so this might just be nit-picking.
A Most Interesting Clash of Styles
The most fascinating thing about this particular match-up is the fact that both teams employ vastly different playstyles and win conditions: RNG is all about playing through Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao and always invests as many resources as it takes to get him ahead.
It might be a relatively one-dimensional way of playing the game, but they have it down to a science, and Xiaohu, being one of the best top laners in the world, always sticks the landing.
EDG, on the other hand, play almost exclusively through bottom lane and a bit through mid. They have arguably the best marksman in the world, so it’s pretty much the exact same approach as with RNG but mirrored. The big difference, however, is in the mid-lane. Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei simply isn’t all that impressive, and often finds a way to fumble and fail no matter whom he’s up against. He’s a flawed player with champion pool issues, and when he isn’t given enough priority in the draft (and a pick on which he can roam), he tends to fall back and become a non-factor. Mechanical mistakes and misplays are also a frequent sight; he’ll have to step up big time if he wants to stand a chance of winning a Best of 5 against Edward Gaming.
His opponent, however, has been nothing short of spectacular ever since his utter dominance in the LPL Summer Split finals — Lee “Scout” Ye-chan has made the world take notice and his play throughout the last two weeks attests to the fact as well. He’s one of those players who can easily 1v9 and has flourished beyond measure in today’s meta. He’s far from infallible, of course, but he’s done more than enough to warrant our respect and admiration, and will no doubt put on a clinic against RNG should he be given at least some priority in the draft.
We’re going to give RNG a slight edge on this one, but both teams have a shot regardless of what the oddsmakers have to say. Most games will probably be decided in the pick and ban phase, and that’s definitely something that RNG have struggled with; then again, it’s hard to criticize them for it given their spectacular showing in Spring and subsequent 2021 Mid-Season Invitational run — they make it work, mostly thanks to astounding individual skill and certain bespoke strats and tendencies that only they can pull off.