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A surging Royal Never Give Up proved to be in playoff form, taking an easy 2-0 win over a struggling JD Gaming in Sunday's Week 8, Day 4 League of Legends Pro League match in Shanghai.
"Power picks be damned" was RNG's drafting strategy against JDG as the victors allowed the opponents to build strong compositions in both games of the series. In Game 1, JDG secured four champions near the top of the priority list in Caitlyn, Maokai, Braum and Jarvan IV but it had little effect on the game's outcome. After an early kill lead of 3-2 in favor of JDG, RNG exploded in the midgame to take 7-3 lead on the back of a teamfight in the top lane. RNG negated the individual strengths of the enemy champions through fantastic macro play, taking all three of the dragons that entered the Rift as well as the only Baron. The man who truly unlocked his teammates in the dominating Game 1 victory was Li "Xiaohu" Yuan Hao as he participated in 13 of his team's 15 kills on Orianna with a 1/1/12 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). The accuracy of his Shockwave ultimates truly shined in late game when he routinely hit multiple members of JDG allowing his teammates to finish kills.
Game 2 can be summarized by proactive impatience on the side of RNG. At the four-minute mark, RNG had a 4-0 kill lead with deaths distributed to all three lanes. At such an early disadvantage, JDG was helpless in defending turrets as the team faced pressure all over the map, once again giving up all neutral objectives and all outer turrets by midgame. The definitive play of the series came during a Baron by RNG 28 minutes in. After securing Baron with Rend, Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao aggressively flashed the wall into four members of JDG and escaped with his life as the team took a 3-for-2 kill trade. The team got Uzi's message about wanting to end immediately, charging down bot lane to ace JDG for the 30-minute win.
RNG will continue its push for first place in its group versus current leaders OMG on Friday at 8:00 a.m. ET, while JDG looks to find some momentum versus LGD Gaming at 5:00 a.m. ET, also on Friday.