Once per year, rival regions within the League of Legends scene see their top teams pitted against each other to prove once and for all which region is superior
Once per year, rival regions within the League of Legends scene see their top teams pitted against each other to prove once and for all which region is superior. No regions’ rivalry is perhaps quite as fierce as that between North America and Europe, where holders EU will be looking to gain victory over their neighbours across the pond for a second consecutive year.
This year’s tournament will once again be held in Riot’s Los Angeles LCS Studio, spanning for 3 days from Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th June. The top 3 teams from each region will compete, with these places determined by Spring split performance. For NA, LCS winners Team Liquid, 2nd place Team SoloMid, and 3rd place Cloud9 will represent. For EU, MSI champions G2 Esports, LEC runners-up Origen, and 3rd place Fnatic will make the journey to California.
For the first 2 days of the competition, each NA team will play a single match against each EU team, with this forming a group placement across both regions. On the final day, each team will play at least one best-of-5 series whereby matchups are decided by placing the top teams and bottom teams from opposing regions (based on the group stage finishes). Once the best-of-5 series are complete, the region with the most series victories is crowned the Rift Rivals winner and will go home with bragging rights as the best Western region.
Across the years, Europe has generally been considered the higher level region ahead of North America and this is somewhat confirmed by the differences in international results. Europe has seen 2 international champions (including G2 conquering this year’s Mid-Season Invitational) as well as 2 Worlds finalist and a World champion in Fnatic in Season 1, while North America is yet to produce an international trophy, despite recent improvements in results which saw Cloud9 reach the semi-final of Worlds 2018 and Team Liquid reach the final of MSI last month.
Each team’s rosters are set to stay as they are this Summer split, though Riot’s international events only allow 6 players to be registered meaning teams will need to choose which of their substitutes will provide the greatest benefit for the tournament.
Looking at the top teams from each region, Team Liquid will hope that Impact’s impressive form continues since proving doubters wrong at MSI by thriving on carry champions. LCS Spring MVP CoreJJ will also prove vital to the NA champions as the focal point and key shot-caller for the team.
For G2, much of their fortune relies on Caps’ performance on the day. The Claps/Craps meme is arguably more prevalent than ever, coined from Cap’s tendencies to either show his brilliance by pushing his limits or push too far and instead be a liability to his team. G2 will also have a keen eye on Mikyx’s wrist situation, with a prominent injury limiting his practice time this year and having the potential to drastically change G2’s structure.
Though the tournament’s patch is not yet confirmed, this will more than likely be on the current patch 9.12. This means that new support Yuumi will continue to be the most sought after champion and will be a pick/ban shoo-in. Other high-priority picks this patch include Aatrox, Kennen, Jarvan, Skarner, Akali, Irelia, Azir, Sivir, Xayah, Ezreal, Lux, Tahm Kench and Rakan.