The relay finals of Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU took place earlier today in Los Angeles as the squads from EU LCS took on the teams from NA LCS, with EU coming out on top in the end with a crushing 3-1 score against their competition from North America.
All throughout the Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU, it was evident that the teams from Europe — Fnatic, G2 Esports, and Splyce — were significantly better. They had better control and out-smarted their NA counterparts every chance they could. You could even argue that they were mechanically better as a whole. But, this isn’t to say that Echo Fix, Team Liquid, and 100 thieves, were pushovers. It’s just that, at the of the day, the better teams came out ahead of Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU.
North America’s Good Start
Game 1 of the finals was between NA’s Echo Fox versus EU’s G2 Esports, with the North Americans taking a quick and clean win against one of Europe’s finest in just 24 minutes!
Because G2 Esports drafted with four supports resulting in a funnel composition, Echo Fox answered by putting a bot laner carry with Johnny “Altec” Ru on Lucian. They also drafted around the funnel composition by assigning Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett as a jungler with Kindred. This allowed them to punish the lack of jungle attention that G2 was having. From there, Echo Fox played around Altec in team fights, all while keeping away G2’s only source of reliable damage. The mid-laner Luca “Perkz” Perkovic’s Kai’Sa was being constantly isolated from the rest of his team.
Little did Echo Fox know, however, was that Fnatic took notes from G2 Esports’ mistakes.
Fnatic’s Show of Strength Against 100 Thieves
NA’s fans high, coming from the Echo Fox victory and the starting pickoffs from 100 Thieves, was quickly shut down by last split’s winners, Fnatic.
Having already seemingly adjusted to the meta, Fnatic won team fights and made laning near-impossible for their opponents. As a result, Fnatic read 100 Thieves like a book, outmanoeuvring them in every corner, and showing that EU’s squads mean business and want to take revenge after last year’s loss.
Europe’s Dark Horse Emerge Victorious
Perhaps it is poetic justice that EU’s dark horse team, Splyce, took out the presumed best team playing in the NA LCS, Team Liquid.
What was supposed to be a matchup heavily favouring Team Liquid ended up being a one-sided affair, much to the shock of many. Led by mid-laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer on Zoe, who finished the game with a K/D/A of 8/0/3, Splyce, had free reign and did whatever they wanted. All the while team Liquid, the top team in North America, seemed confused.
Mid-laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park, from Team Liquid, struggled with his Irelia, especially against Nisqy. This allowed the Zoe player to roam around the map find pickoffs safely. All the while Splyce’s bot laner Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup with his Heimerdinger, presented a massive team fight threat. And since nobody on Team Liquid was in a position to fight for themselves, EU’s Splyce took the victory on the 28-minute mark, causing a huge upset.
Even though Splyce enter Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU as its region’s weakest link, they ended up besting North America’s best team.
Fnatic Secures the Rift Rivals Crown for EU
While Echo Fox looked like they had prepared ahead, it was Fnatic who were always one step ahead. This resulted in a crushing loss for the North American team, having been outplayed by the Fnatic via their better understanding of the current state of the game. Case in point, their top lane, Aatrox.
Echo Fox just had no answer to Fnatic. The Europeans won one team fight after another, pushing, and shutting down any attempts of retaliation by Echo Fox.
By the 24-minute mark, Fnatic had secured the victory for Europe, lifting the Rift Rivals cup up high.
The Biggest Takeaways from Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU
All and all, the European teams showed a better understanding of both how drafting and how to play in the current meta.
The shining example of this is the overall MVP of the Rift Rivals event: Martin “Wunder” Hansen. The top laner from G2 Esports won the MVP honors with his 7.0 tournament KDA and the way he dominated every NA top laner, with little help from his team most of the times.
Most North American top laners seemed stymied by the European teams use of Aatrox. The NA teams repeatedly answered by taking Dr. Mundo to the top lane, which Europe’s teams easily answered. In addition, EU’s priority and understanding of how bottom lane with Heimerdinger prevented their opponent’s bottom lanes from making an impact easily gave them the upper hand.
In the end, the teams from EU LCS were just better. They adapted quicker and caught their opponents off guard. This allowed them to take the lead without giving up so much as an inch.
Taking the trophy from North America on their home turf is a great sign for what’s to come next, Worlds 2018.
What do you think were the biggest takeaways from Rift Rivals 2018 NA-EU? Do you think Europe will fare better this year Worlds 2018? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.