Will Hanabi start the dream run? – RNG vs PSG Talon Match Preview #MSI2022

Royal Never Give Up are one of four teams that return to the MSI this year, having won the LPL Spring Split two years running. PSG Talon had an incredible 2021, highlighted by a mind-boggling 35-1 win-loss record across the spring and summer splits, including a fabulous run at last year’s MSI where they not only made the final four but also took a game off eventual champions RNG.

At the time, it seemed quite unrealistic that they’d managed to achieve that, but a year on, it sets up a tantalizing rematch between two fiercely competitive sides that have developed a competitive streak and a rivalry, so to speak. This adds a fascinating subplot to Wednesday’s clash at MSI 2022.

PSG MSI 2022

RNG vs PSG Talon Matchup Breakdown

RNG suffered a bit of a form slump right after MSI 2021, thanks to player fatigue. A continuous stream of matches in highly competitive environments sapped their players of energy and intensity. The last straw, like it was for so many teams around the world, was Covid-19. Players being struck down by the illness that forced them into quarantine, travel rules that mandated isolation and a general sense of uneasiness around the situation led to them going in with makeshift squads for the remainder of the year. This may have played a hand in their early elimination from the 2021 Summer Split Playoffs.

Great teams are known to rebound from setbacks and RNG sure bounced back in style, as they surged to the regional final and got an entry into the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, where they lost 3-2 to eventual champions Edward Gaming.

RNG star player Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao returns to the mid-lane in 2022, where he’s had a lot go success over the years. The team also signed worlds-finalist top laner Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin. AS a duo they played a key role in taking down Top Esports in the 2022 LPL Spring Final to return as the incumbent champions. Form is with them, and so it’s no wonder the punters place them as overwhelming favorites going into this clash.

That said, Talon aren’t the same side they were in 2021. Last year, they were like bridesmaids. This year, they’re in a position from where they can shed that status. This is a team that isn’t so much focused on just trying to win, but actually winning. That can’t be a bad place to be in.

Top laner Hanabi’s excellent form has given them added heft. Experience is a massive currency on the big stage, sometimes as important as skill. In a high stakes event such as the MSI, these factors can’t be understated. Hanabi haș three World Championships and three MSI appearances under him. At 21, he may be a youngster but the experience has made him a battle-hardened veteran who adds a new dimension to an already explosive outfit. The critics may argue he hasn’t achieved the same level of success at the International level, but his improving numbers – at the World 2021 mains, he was the best top laner in terms of KDA – point to plenty of promise.

It was his dominating presence through the PCS 2022 Spring Split that made the side a formidable force to begin the year. That confidence is now beginning to resonate across the rest of the side, not just their core group but also the back-up players and support staffers. And their improved showing last year against RNG will stand them in good stead this time around too.

Overall, the sides have played each other five times, three of them have come at MSI 2021 and the other two were at the Worlds 2021. RNG have won four of the five games. But that PSG have been a tough team to get over will mean RNG ain’t taking them lightly any more.