The LoL Pro League 2017 Summer Split regular season came to an end late Sunday night when Royal Never Give Up earned its final win of the season by taking down Newbee at the end of a 2-1 series, securing its spot at the top of Group B.
The match was, surprisingly, a close affair up until the very end, as Newbee managed to tussle with Royal Never Give Up up until the very end -- something of a miracle considering the relative skill level between the two. What makes Newbee's near-success even more interesting is that it was earned not by its starting roster, but by a roster formed almost entirely of its second string players. Rather than the familiar lineup headlined by veterans such as top laner Bao "V" Bo and jungler Baek "Swift" Dae Hoon, Newbee instead chose to field a roster of some of its younger players. Swift was replaced by Zhu "Quan" Yong-quan, while both AD carry Yu "HappyY" Rui and Li "Vasilii" Wei-jun took a backseat to Lin "Lwx" Weixiang, both of whom composed themselves well on the Rift. Standing up to Uzi is a hard task for any LPL ADC, but Lwx managed himself with aplomb, despite being faced with poor lane matchups. Losing a close game to Uzi's famous Caitlyn is nothing to be a ashamed of for some of the more veteran players in the LPL, so it's practically a mark of honor that Lwx managed to hang in there against the LPL's titan in the bottom lane.
While the top team in the LPL might not be terribly thrilled to have dropped a game against a team mostly composed of second string players, its victory does assure them the top seed from Group B coming into the playoffs. Now there's nothing for Royal Never Give Up to do but watch and wait for the next couple weeks, as the LPL playoff structure heavily favors top seed teams by giving them a full two rounds of byes. Newbee won't be so fortunate, and will instead have to fight its way to the finals from about as far down as possible -- though they will start off its first match with a one game lead against Snake Esports thanks to superior seeding.
The series MVP was the Royal Never Give Up midlaner, Li "Xiaohu" Yuan Ho, who seemed to be channeling a version of himself from early 2016, when RNG was one of the top teams in the world, not just the LPL. His Taliyah play in Game 3 was of special note, as he managed a task that many have failed to accomplish in recent weeks when he met Lei "Corn" Wen's Lucian head on in the mid lane and not only survived, but got the better of his opposite. It's no wonder that he managed to take over the game after enduring one of the worst lane matchups in the current metagame, and it was his efforts that helped Royal Never Give Up snowball its way to a victory at the end of Game 3.