In a tournament defined by dominant performances, RNG clutched out a 3-2 victory over SKT T1 in a back and forth duel for the $75,000 first-place prize. Playing remotely from China over a stabilized ping system devised by Riot Games in order to keep matches consistent, RNG reached the grand finals with a strong 3-0 victory over North America’s Evil Geniuses in the Knockout stage’s semifinals.
SKT T1, meanwhile, defeated Europe’s G2, who appeared to be on a tear before meeting the two East Asian powerhouses in the Rumble stage. G2 was a tournament favorite for many Western fans after they routed EG in the group stages, but T1 knocked them out with ease in the semifinals.With the competition taking place in Korea this year, SKT turned up the heat, dropping only the three games played against RNG as well as a single game against G2 in the entire tournament. This showing from Faker’s LCK team came in front of the first real crowd of fans for a League of Legends event since 2020 – many of whom were rooting for T1.
Unfortunately for the home team, RNG came out swinging too, putting up their own dominant performance, dropping only a single game each against G2 and T1 in Rumble and going flawless through group stages. China’s RNG secured a hard fought grand final series with all 5 games going in favor of the team that selected side for that game. As the respective regions return home and prepare for the latter half of the season and North America’s hosting of the World Championships later this year, the top 3 teams (RNG, SKT, and G2) look posed to make deep runs in their regional leagues and perhaps Worlds. While EG performed admirably for a North American team on the world stage and is expected to once again place first in NA next season, hopes are low for international performance from the perennially subpar North American scene. Lesser known regions also showed some fight too. Vietnam’s Saigon Buffalo only dropped matches to T1 in group stage and took games off of G2 and PSG Talon in the Rumble stage.
While there’s clear favorites, the hunt for Worlds is on and every team in every region is vying for their shot at the Summoner’s Cup.
Words by Nathan Burke