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The climb back: Can RNG rebuild their international reputation at MSI 2021?

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It’s been a long time since Royal Never Give Up, one of the LPL’s most storied organizations, has tasted blood on the international stage. 

In 2018, they were considered one of the greatest League of Legends teams in the world. RNG looked unbeatable, winning the Mid-Season Invitational to bring the LPL its first international victory in three years. Superstar AD carry Uzi was at the top of his game—boasting the highest of many stats at MSI 2018, including KDA (8.6), total kills (104), CS per minute (12), and damage per minute (742)—and was widely considered by many to be the best player in the world that year. Everything was coming up roses for RNG. All they needed was a victory at the World Championship and they’d have a neat capstone on the organization’s most successful competitive year of all time. 

In the run-up to the 2018 World Championship, the community watched RNG’s every move with the utmost attention. They faltered for just a moment in the regular season of the LPL, finishing in second place behind Invictus Gaming. But they quickly found their footing again, losing only four games in their playoff run. Two of those games came in a nail-biting five-game series in the finals against Invictus Gaming, but RNG secured their spot as China’s No. 1 seed with the expectations of their region resting firmly on their shoulders. 

But it was at that World Championship where they crumbled, taken out by G2 Esports in the semifinals in what is widely considered one of the most historic upsets of all time. 

Since that moment, RNG have struggled tirelessly to find their identity once again. They’ve toiled through years of underperformance, barely qualifying for the 2019 World Championship and failing to even make an appearance in 2020. It looked as though the abrupt end to their 2018 dream had broken the roster’s spirit. 

And now, after three years, the team has qualified for MSI 2021. Their roster looks a lot different than the group of players that stormed MSI in 2018, but their goal is the same. This team wants to win, but can they break their international curse?

The changing face of RNG

It’s a huge loss for any team to lose their franchise player—even more so when that franchise player is one of the most iconic faces in League history. Last June, RNG’s AD carry Uzi retired due to severe health issues that plagued his career. Of his eight years competing in the LPL, four had been spent at the helm of RNG. The team’s identity had been built around his hard-carry style, with RNG’s laners famously serving as secondary supports for picks like Vayne and Kog’Maw. 

He’d been taking frequent breaks from the RNG starting roster to try and manage his myriad of medical conditions, relying on substitute Betty to fill in for him. After his retirement, RNG chose to bring in ADC Gala from Dominus Esports rather than continuing to use Betty in the starting lineup. Gala was set to replace one of the greatest players of all time and he’d be doing so with barely three years of major region competitive experience under his belt.

After Uzi’s departure, the team’s identity had to change. During the 2021 offseason, the team acquired jungler Wei and moved substitute mid laner Cryin into a spot on the team’s starting roster. He took the place of veteran Xiaohu, who surprised the competitive world with a role swap to the top lane. Ming and Xiaohu were now the only two players left from that fated MSI roster.

Although responses to the changes were mixed, especially with Cryin and Xiaohu being such untested elements in their respective lanes, RNG quickly proved they meant business this spring. They lost only two games throughout the course of the 2021 LPL Spring Split regular season to Bilibili Gaming and JD Gaming and it looked as though it’d be smooth sailing through the playoffs and into their MSI spot. 

As is always the case, though, it wasn’t that simple. RNG faced FunPlus Phoenix in the fourth round of the playoffs, where they lost 3-0 and were catapulted into the losers bracket. It took two incredibly close five-game series to land them their finals spot, where they faced off against FPX once again. This time, the cards fell in RNG’s favor and they took the series 3-1. 

Top lane flexibility and security in mid: RNG’s drafting signature

Nobody does diversity in the top lane quite like an off-role mid laner. Throughout the course of the spring, Xiaohu played 15 unique champions and fulfilled multiple styles for his team. His most-played champ has been Gnar with 14 total games and the duality of Gnar’s playstyle is a perfect metaphor for Xiaohu. He can be both the carry and the support, the engage and the follow-up. He’s played everything from Syndra and Ornn to Tristana and Malphite—and his champion pool shows no signs of shrinking. 

Mid laner Cryin’s champion pool is the perfect complement to an aggressive top laner. He’s the master of wave clear, zone control mages like Orianna and Viktor. The ability these champions possess to create space in teamfights perfectly sets up his team for advantageous engages. 

The greatest strength of RNG, and perhaps the biggest stylistic change on the team, is that they don’t rely on a single player as their carry. Every role is able to step up and take on the responsibility of the game when necessary and the kill participation of each player is at least over 65 percent, according to Games of Legends. No one player takes an overwhelming amount of the team’s resources and top, mid, and bot have all had their fair share of pop-off games. After playing through Xiaohu for most of the regular season, RNG made a shift in the playoffs to a bottom-lane-focused style and found just as much success with an alternate carry in Gala. 

It’s not just the carries who are proving their worth on RNG, however. The pairing of jungler Wei and support Ming has been terrifying when it comes to seeking out fights. Ming favors tanky, engage champions like Rell and Alistar and he’s a terrifying sight when barrelling toward you on the Rift. Wei’s creative pathing allows him to be consistently present for objective fights and his preference for Chemtank champions like Udyr and Hecarim allows him to speed into teamfights right alongside Ming. 

How will they match up against the world’s best?

The LPL as a league is so wildly variable that it’s often difficult to know how LPL teams will match up against specific playstyles at international events. Although it’s an unfair stereotype that all the LPL’s games are constant fiestas of teamfighting with no macro decision-making, it’s undeniable that the LPL is one of the bloodiest regions in the world. It’s a region famous for incredible comebacks from ridiculous gold deficits and a region in which a game is truly 50/50 until the Nexus finally explodes. 

That being said, RNG had the most kills of any team in the LPL playoffs at 276 and they got those kills despite being, on average, at a gold deficit to their opponents, according to Oracle’s Elixir. That’s the only statistic in which they topped the charts in the LPL playoffs.

Their dragon control is average and their Baron control is good, but with their games averaging 31.8 minutes, they don’t have much opportunity to use Baron buffs. Their strength clearly comes from their teamfighting, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that their macro is sloppy. The way in which they manipulate their side lanes to maximize Xiaohu’s potential is stellar and the early map movement of Wei and Ming together is a fantastic example of support/jungle cohesion.

It’s almost a complete certainty that RNG will make it out of their group. With VCS representatives Gigabyte Marines unable to attend MSI due to COVID-19 restrictions, RNG will have one less team to beat to make it out of Group A. If they can take down the Unicorns of Love and Pentanet.GG, they’ll have the chance to face off against the best teams in the world right now. But those teams are a set of organizations that they have very little experience playing against. 

A lot has changed during RNG’s hiatus from the international stage. Their famous nemesis G2, the team that put a stop to their 2018 miracle run, is no longer the de facto representative of the LEC. But MAD Lions are their younger, wilder cousins and will be a fascinating matchup for the LPL’s representatives. Purely based on player experience, the matchup against MAD should, in theory, be in RNG’s favor. The only possible area in which RNG could fall would be the mid lane and Cryin’s resilience on safe laning champions should be able to hold out against any number of ganks that Elyoya throws his way.

The LCK’s old guard is dead and gone, but in their place wait DWG KIA, the methodical menaces who will undoubtedly be RNG’s most challenging matchup at this tournament. Khan’s top lane champion pool is just as deep as Xiaohu’s and DAMWON’s bottom lane are almost completely unexploitable. RNG’s only option will be to create a little chaos: Think early lane swaps, creative pathing into unpredictable ganks by Wei, or some good old-fashioned flex-pick shenanigans in the draft. 

This MSI will be a challenging one for RNG. Many fans were expecting the LPL’s representative to be ex-world champions FPX. Instead, it’s Royal Never Give Up, the once-great kings, sitting in the ruins of an empire that many thought they could never rebuild. Uzi’s retirement left a gaping hole in the heart of the organization and a domestic victory this split has begun to stitch that wound back together. A victory here, on this international stage, could truly bring RNG’s legacy into the new age of League—an age in which the LPL has crowned itself the upstart king of the competitive world.

MSI 2021 begins on Thursday, May 6.


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Source: https://dotesports.com/league-of-legends/news/the-climb-back-can-rng-rebuild-their-international-reputation-at-msi-2021

Esports

Playbase offers an instant solution to organizing simple and cost-effective competitive gaming platforms

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This article is proudly sponsored by Playbase


The number of tournaments being run across all gaming platforms continues to grow every year, leading tournament organizers to look for the most efficient ways to put together, host, and run their competitions. 

Playbase is working to be the instant solution for those TOs, offering a simple and cost effective way to host competitive gaming platforms, with easy to use tools that will save you on resources and grant you cool features.

As a product, Playbase aims to let TOs build out the platform they want, whether it be hosting tournaments or leagues, by giving them everything they would need to micromanage their community and enable a competitive environment. 

“We want to make the process of creating an Esports platform instant, 100 times cheaper, and available to everyone,” Playbase founder and CEO Boris Batocanin said. “We want to be a modern day custom solution to anybody in dire need of a way to instantly host competitions at a reasonable price point.”

When using Playbase, players can individually register with their own accounts that will have a player profile housing all data generated by them on the platform. 

Tools are in place that will let you engage with your community, host tournaments, organize leagues, and more, including options like premium memberships and internal merch sales that will offer your playerbase ways to directly support you. This will let Playbase customers independently grow their platform and brand with fewer limitations than other service providers.

The Playbase team is hard at work on the platform, with a planned release date set for Q4, including an MVP release in November that more than 100 users are already signed up for. 

Image via Playbase

In the lead up to the product’s launch, you can sign up for access to the early bird program, news updates, and other lifetime perks like discounts for the Playbase ecosystem. You can also join the platform’s Discord community to interact with the developers and other TOs. 

The product is being developed by Ragebite, a studio with more than five years of experience in the esports industry that has worked with leading companies such as Twitch, Logitech, and UCG Esports. 

You can learn more about Playbase on the product’s official website, Instagram, and LinkedIn page.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/news/playbase-offers-an-instant-solution-to-organizing-simple-and-cost-effective-competitive-gaming-platforms

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Team Heretics signs Johnta as head coach of VALORANT team

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Team Heretics has appointed Ivan “Johnta” Shevtsov as the new head coach of its VALORANT division, the Spanish organization announced today.

The 33-year-old Ukrainian will be working alongside Noel Garberi, the esports coach of Heretics. Johnta was released from FunPlus Phoenix on Tuesday, May 11 after the team’s early exit from the VCT 2021 EMEA Stage Two Challengers Finals, which was their chance to qualify for the VCT Masters Reykjavík. It was his first opportunity in VALORANT after spending over five years as a CS:GO coach with organizations such as HellRaisers, TYLOO, Flipsid3 Tactics, and Winstrike.

Heretics is hoping that Johnta will be capable of bringing them back to the top. They were one of the best VALORANT teams at the beginning of the European competitive scene, winning multiple tournaments, most notably the First Strike Europe in December 2020. Their best result this year was a runner-up finish to Acend at VCT Masters Europe Stage One in March.

Since then, Heretics has failed to produce good results and ended up not qualifying for the VCT Masters Reykjavík. This is the second team change they’ll undergo this month since Ruben “RUBINO” Villarroel was benched on May 4. The European team is now down to four players: Christian “lowel” Garcia, Žygimantas “nukkye” Chmieliauskas, Melih “pAura” Karaduran, and Auni “AvovA” Chahade.

So far, we don’t know who Heretics will sign to complete its VALORANT roster. Apart from RUBINO, Dustyn “niesoW” Durnas has also been sitting on the team’s bench since March because he’s taking a break due to personal reasons.


Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/valorant/news/team-heretics-signs-johnta-as-head-coach-of-valorant-team

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Nintendo CEO confirms Switch production is struggling to meet demand

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Nintendo CEO Shuntaro Furukawa’s predictions came true. In a recent Q&A with investors, he confirmed that the company is unable to meet the current demand on the market, leading to a shortage of Switch consoles. 

This is due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage that’s impacting every modern console and a lot of prominent technology on the market. 

Originally, Furukawa thought Nintendo had secured the necessary materials to meet demand, but that has since changed. Now, the company faces the same issue that has left both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles scarce on shelves. 

“Demand for hardware continues to exceed our expectations even after the beginning of this calendar year, and production has currently not caught up to this high demand due to the tight supply and demand situation for semiconductor materials worldwide,” Furukawa said. “Although we are currently striving to produce as many units as possible, the fact is that our production plans are more uncertain than they were at the beginning of previous fiscal years.”

Furukawa also said Nintendo’s originally forecasted 25.50 million units of hardware shipments for the new fiscal year might be in danger unless the company can “secure the materials necessary for production.”

This semiconductor shortage impacts several other industries too, including the manufacturing of cars, phones, computers, TVs, and many other electronics. 

Sony recently said the company is prepared for the PS5 to remain in short supply for the remainder of the year and into 2022. Similar shortages will likely impact Xbox consoles and other high-end GPUs from companies like Nvidia and AMD, preventing its RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT graphics cards from reaching consumers. 

Furukawa confirmed that demand for Switch hardware remains consistent throughout most regions, specifically noting that sales in the U.S. were high in March and “the supply of hardware is currently not keeping up with the strong demand.”

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Source: https://dotesports.com/news/nintendo-ceo-confirms-switch-production-is-struggling-to-meet-demand

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Apex Legends Dev Claims Loba is ‘Crazy Strong’ Despite Fan Pushback

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Apex Legends

Does Loba need a buff? One Apex Legends dev doesn't think so
Does Loba need a buff? One Apex Legends dev doesn’t think so | Photo by Respawn Entertainment

The Legacy update in Apex Legends has brought about a number of changes to the popular battle royale game, but on a post in the Apex Legends subreddit, one developer received a negative response to his claim regarding Loba, one of the many Legends in the game.

The post explored a tweak to Loba’s passive, in which players are able to see specific items with her passive ability, as opposed to just their rarity level. Daniel Klein, the lead game designer from Apex Legends, replied, saying, “Why do you want to buff Loba? Loba’s CRAZY strong now.”

The response received downvotes from numerous Apex Legends fans, with many insisting that the proposed change wasn’t a buff, but rather a quality of life change to the Legend, hoping it would promote her use in the game. Others agreed with Klein, that the proposed idea would indeed be a buff, and perhaps influence the current game’s meta in a direction that the developers would rather not support.

Beyond the actual argument of the proposed change, some users chose to engage in direct attacks against Klein, with replies that belittled and insulted the developer, as well as bringing up his past comments regarding game balance.

Some responses saw the negative response to Klein’s reply and wondered why it drew such backlash from the community. One user, u/lappyy, replied, “The poor guy is just trying to start a discussion with the community on Loba’s balance and we proceed to downvote him to oblivion. It’s frustrating. Direct communication from developers is incredibly important and valuable to gamers.”

If Klein’s thoughts are aligned with the rest of the development team, then it would seem that there won’t be any major buffs to Loba as it currently stands. How the Apex Legends subreddit, and the community as a whole, will respond to this remains to be seen.

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Source: https://www.dbltap.com/posts/apex-legends-dev-claims-loba-is-crazy-strong-despite-fan-pushback-01f5kh8m5ren?utm_source=RSS

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