Both these regions participated in the finals featuring a relay race format once the Rift Rivals of this year came to a conclusion. Europe had been the better region during the initial 2 days, and they had the advantage of selecting matchups. It did not matter a lot since it seemed that it was possible for any EU team to defeat an NA team out there. However, let us not cross our limits. Instead, let us have a look at exactly how the games were played.
Fnatic vs Cloud9
In the inaugural match, Fnatic was pitted against Cloud9 who were yet to register any victory. Once more Fnatic selected their team in a peculiar manner by choosing Karma as their marksman and Soraka as the support. Unfortunately, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi was unable to take part in the game because of sickness. In place of him, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsenni (the jungler of Cloud9) was assigned the task of playing Gragas.
Fnatic dominated in the early part of the game both as a team and also individually. Although Cloud9 tried very hard and performed several team plays that deserve mention, it was Fnatic who was always the superior side. Cloud9 was able to catch up with their rivals in the middle part of the game and secured several vital kills. Nevertheless, Fnatic was far ahead in gold during this period.
Both these teams found team fights to be quite difficult since they were lacking from sustained damage due to the absence of an ADC. Fnatic was able to secure most of the neutral objectives which included a baron that enabled them to push into the base of Cloud9. Although C9 tried every bit to come back in the game, they were simply not that strong. The game was won by Fnatic in only 26 minutes that helped to bring Europe the first victory of the finals.
Origen vs Team SoloMid
This particular match evoked a lot of interest with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen playing against his previous lane partner and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez playing against his previous team.
At the beginning of the match, TSM attacked quite strongly against the rivals although it did not succeed in the long run as Origen were able to find their mark. Both these teams traded kills with both marksmen falling in the bottom lane. Although the gold remained constant during the early part of the game, the momentum tilted in the favor of TSM thanks to the map presence of Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. Nevertheless, Origen was still able to lead in towers token; consequently, they had the gold lead. Origen likewise was able to control each and every neutral objective, outplaying their rivals completely in the macro section.
Origen did not have anything to be scared of in case they fell behind their rivals thanks to a scaling delayed game composition. TSM made use of their ambush options along with teleports plus Tahm Kench for securing some picks; however, Origen responded smartly. They succeeded in completing the game on a confident note, thus bringing EU to match point in the finals of the Rift Rivals.
G2 Esports vs Team Liquid
Another rematch of the MSI finals saw G2 Esports looking for vengeance. After all, they were beaten by Team Liquid one day earlier at Rift Rivals. Both these sites stuck to their regular compositions with the intention of securing a victory for their respective regions. They played in the typical G2 style around the mid lane during the early phase of the game. However, it was Team Liquid who made the majority of the attacks with their Yasuo evading the ganks quickly.
Moreover, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong depicted us his top-class Gankplank as the solo kill was picked up by him on Martin “Wunder” Hansen. During the early phase of the game, it was Team Liquid who enjoyed a slight gold lead which was mainly due to the massive lead of Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen in the mid lane. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and Jensen both roamed the map while they picked up lots of kills my making use of the Yasuo and Gragas combination. G2 tried to engage a few times without any success whatsoever.
It was quite difficult to counter the wombo combo of Team Liquid, and any type of crowd control typically implied the demise of a G2 member. Nevertheless, G2 was capable of finding a vital initiation when the game was about 28 minutes old which provided them with a ray of hope for emerging victorious eventually. However, it did not work at all for G2. After a baron was secured by Team Liquid, they succeeded in reaching G2's base thanks to a team fight. Team Liquid succeeded in getting their revenge for their MSI defeat by securing the first victory of NA in the relay competition.
Fnatic vs Team SoloMid
In the subsequent game, two legacy teams, Team SoloMid was combating against Fnatic. This was a second match point of EU and the first match where the matchup could not be counter picked by them. Fnatic was unable to hold themselves back as they again tried to go for unconventional picks by selecting the Veigar in the mid lane. This provided them with good results as a couple of early kills were picked up by Veigar who was capable of snowballing his lead. Furthermore, they enjoyed a scaling delayed game composition which was becoming stronger with the advancement of the game.
Nevertheless, it was Fnatic who were superior in the early part of the game. Here, the important player who deserves mention happens to Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau and he was able to secure a 1v2 kill after getting ganked apart from obtaining a solo kill as well. Shifting his lead from the top lane, Bwipo was able to influence other lanes too by roaming down the map. An uncontested baron was grabbed by Fnatic following that, and it was pushed into the base of TSM. The rival structures were demolished by them effortlessly which helped them to secure the 2nd Rift Rivals title of Europe.
With this, we come to the conclusion of the Rift Rivals this year: NA vs EU. I had the intention of writing a brief conclusion to this event; however, the tweet of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng already described it flawlessly.