With Rift Rivals commencing this week, there is likely no match-up that inspires more emotion than that of North America and Europe.
With a back in forth history where both sides stake their case to be on top, Riot Games addition of regional competitions in their new Rift Rivals series should add an additional chapter.
The Rift Rivals series sends both of the top three finishers from the 2017 Spring Split to a Berlin for a four-day event that begins with a cross-regional double round robin and culminates in a best of five between the two top teams. While both teams are sending three teams to Rift Rivals, the regional storylines couldn’t be further apart.
North America saw its three representatives (Team SoloMid, Cloud9, and Phoenix1) all struggle to open the Summer Split, with a combined 1-5 record in the opening week. While TSM and C9 have seemingly steadied the ship and reasserted themselves as two of the top three teams in NA, Phoenix1 has continued to struggle.
With the addition of new jungler Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung, Phoenix1 seems to have finally begun to find a groove, but whether they are able to translate that to any success at Rift Rivals still feels like a long shot.
On the other hand, Europe has followed closely to the expected script. The top tier of teams in the EU LCS have held firm onto their position, with Fnatic rising to the top of the league at G2 eSports’ expense. Unlike North America, where it feels any team could win any match, Europe has established a clear hierarchy that is rarely deviated from.
Entering Rift Rivals, the Europeans are the clear favorites. With many feeling Europe was already the stronger region after the Mid-Season Invitational, the chaotic NA LCS has only served to further these assumptions.
Still, if the history of NA vs EU has taught us anything, it’s that no outcome is certain. With Rift Rivals about to kick off, CLICKON eSports predicts the tournament’s final standings.
CLICKON eSports EU vs NA Rift Rivals Predictions
CLICKON eSport’s Rift Rivals Predicitions
With Rift Rivals approaching, CLICKON makes our predictions for how the tournament will play out.
While Phoenix1 seem to be making strides after the addition of their new jungler MikeYeung, unfortunately it is not enough to be able to compete with three of Europe's best. Still, Phoenix1 enters Rift Rivals as the biggest wild card at the event, a dangerous team who could pull a timely upset, ultimately determining who advances and who does not for Europe. With one of the worst records in NA, a loss to Phoenix1 should be an embarrassment for any European team with title aspirations.
5th: Unicorns of Love
If Unicorns of Love's most recent series against the previously winless Ninjas in Pyjamas had been a best of one, they would have lost. This is a troubling sign for the team as they enter a double round robin first stage where each match will play out like a best of one. Still, Unicorns of Love can not be discounted, as they continue to display excellent team fighting and creative strategies. If mid laner Exileh is able to hold his own against a stacked field at the tournament, Unicorns could easily shoot up the standings.
Riding the back of a 2-1 series victory over TSM in the previous week, Cloud9 seems to have significantly improved upon many of the issues that plagued them in their sluggish start. Two key pieces to their rise has been the dominance of mid laner Jensen who appears to be in MVP form, and the growth of jungler Contractz as he develops greater consistency in his play. While they could easily be NA's best team at Rift Rivals, we predict Cloud9 will fall just short of claiming NA's place in the finals, finishing near the middle of the pack as a team.
3rd: G2 eSports
Following their second place finish at MSI, G2 have stumbled in the EU LCS Summer Split. With more losses than they have ever had in a split just halfway through it, many may consider G2 the weakest European team at Rift Rivals despite being the 'Kings of Europe' for so long. While G2 may not make the final best of five, their experience at international events and veteran roster gives them the edge over many of the other teams at Rift Rivals. They may no longer be the best European squad, but expect a strong showing from G2.
2nd: Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid enter Rift Rivals looking for redemption after their fifth place finish at MSI. While there have been some hiccups reconnecting with ADC Doublelift, TSM enter Rift Rivals with a 13-2 record in their last 15 games. If TSM can claim NA's top spot in the round robin and advance to the best of five, they have a legitimate chance of upsetting Fnatic in the Finals. Still, TSM may need to wait until Worlds to finally gain the redemption and international success they so deeply crave.
After earning their place at the top of the European standings, Fnatic deservedly enter Rift Rivals as the clear favorites. Led by a veteran ADC and team captain Rekkles, Fnatic have been able to properly develop their talented newcomers into a team that should be a force on the international stage. While they may drop a game or two, it is hard to foresee any NA team being able to conquer Fnatic in a best of five, making Rift Rivals Fnatic's tournament to lose.