In the end, the Mid-Season Invitational came to a clash of titans. South Korea's T1 and China's Royal Never Give Up had a perfect record in their groups, won the first two spots in the Rumble and monstered through their opponents in the semifinals - G2 Esports and Evil Geniuses, respectively - to face off in the grand final. For both teams, this was a chance to write history by becoming the first three-time MSI winner. Would RNG finally defeat their Korean rivals to defend their 2021 cup, or would T1 continue their undefeated playoff run and finally lift the cup on home soil?
The LCK champions came out with their signature early pressure in game 1, but RNG were able to amass a kill lead and set their top and bot laners for success. They proved clutch 27 in when the LPL team first secured ocean soul and then contested the T1 Baron. Yan "Wei" Yang-We once more came up with a clutch steal to secure the buff and soon, RNG were bearing down on T1's Nexus.
Both teams started game two very aggressively, trading blows back and forth. A 2-0 for RNG led them to start the Baron 23 minutes only for T1 to get a great teamfight where Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong’s Jinx and Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's Lissandra demolished their opponents in the Baron pit. Now sporting a big lead, the LCK champions were unstoppable and soon they tied the series.
The loss seemed to only motivate RNG further, however, and they came back with a vengeance in the third game, putting T1 uncharacteristically behind in gold early on. The deficit slowly kept growing and 22 minutes in, what looked like a close fight at first was decided by RNG's item and level lead. The LPL champions got an ace before securing the Baron and getting to match point soon afterwards.
T1 would not bow down either, however, and they delivered a standout performance in the fourth game. Once more, Gumayusi's Jinx was the star of the show, but he was also backed by a great Tahm Kench play by his lane partner Ryu "Keria" Min-seok. An ace 26 minutes in gave T1 the first Baron and with it, they were unstoppable.
It was time for Silver Scrapes and putting it all on the lane as the two teams faced off in the decisive game. Much to Busan's dismay, Wei delivered an early game clinic, catapulting his team in the lead and setting Faker's Ahri behind. In the decisive fight 22 minutes in, support Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming hit a huge Rakan Ult to hold T1 in place for his team to get four kills, freeing them to take the Mountain Soul and the Baron. T1 were left scrambling, but they found no way to slow down the RNG juggernaut as the LPL champions secured their first Bo5 win against their famous rivals and, for a second year in a row, lifted the MSI trophy.
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With this, the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational is at an end. After nearly three weeks of games featuring the best teams from 11 regions, the LPL once more stands on top of the League of Legends pro play world. For now, the teams return home for a break, but soon, the summer split will kick off - and then, Worlds is on the horizon, with the promise of rematch.