Royal Never Give Up (RNG) appears to have recovered from their disastrous showings in the first two days of The International 2019 Group Stage.
The Chinese team managed to upset CIS squad Na’Vi, who had earlier lost to Fnatic. Na’Vi had gone for an unusual late game-oriented draft for them in game one as Vladislav “Crystallize” Krystanek was put on Spectre, with Idan “MagicaL” Vardanian on Viper and Bakyt “Zayac” Emilzhanov on his signature Earth Spirit to hold out until the lategame.
RNG countered by going for a lot of teamfight power with a mid Invoker for Gao “Setsu” Zhenxiong and Gyrocopter for Du “Monet” Peng.
RNG repeatedly went on the offensive against Na’Vi once they had their heavy teamfight abilities up and running in the midgame, putting more and more pressure on a Crystallize Spectre that had yet to come online.
With RNG’s chokehold on Na’Vi’s base tightening, they could do little agains the relentless assault on their base. A desperate assault by Na’Vi on RNG’s mid tower to relieve the pressure ended in disaster and the CIS team conceded the first game of the series.
RNG pulled out a pocket strat for game two by putting Setsu on a mid Underlord to headline a tanky tri-core alongside Monet on Gyrocopter and Flyby on Tidehunter. Na’Vi countered with Crystallize on Juggernaut, magical on Templar Assassin, and Evgeniy “Blizzy” Ree on Axe.
While Underlord dominated Templar Assassin mid and RNG got multiple kills on Blizzy’s Axe in the early game, they recovered when Blizzy stole Aegis from under RNG’s noses.
Na’Vi seemed to have gotten ahead of themselves from there, as they were punished by RNG when they attempted to push up to their high ground. The Chinese squad took the advantage from there, with their opponents finding it harder and harder to fight back effectively — even after Blizzy managed a second Aegis steal.
RNG’s carry Underlord strat proved its worth in the subsequent fights, as Setsu would just teleport his team to safety just as Na’Vi was about to turn the tables on them multiple times. The Chinese squad would eventually break into their opponent’s base and secure the much-needed sweep.
With the sweep, RNG finish Day 3 of the group stage with four wins and improve their overall record to 5-7 — enough to stave off early elimination once the Group Stage ends. Meanwhile, Na’Vi falter with four losses in the day after they exceeded expectations through the first two days of groups. Their 7-7 overall record keeps them in contention for an Upper Bracket berth at the Main Event however.
Be sure to check out our coverage of The International 2019 Group Stage for more TI9 action.