The first day of this year’s League of Legends Rift Rivals was memorable, to say the least. After an NA vs EU MSI finals, the hopes for this international event were high. However, to the disappointment of many, one region showed up for the first day and the other let its fans down. Let’s take a look at how the games (or, should I say, speedruns) went.
The opener of this year’s Rift Rivals pitted the reigning MSI champions, G2 Esports, against Cloud9. G2 surprised everyone with their draft, as they picked champions quite unusual for them. On the other side, Cloud9 opted for the Sona and Taric bottom lane, which horribly backfired. G2 completely took over the early game with a combination of team and individual outplays, as well as some odd mistakes from the side of Cloud9. Their lead only escalated as they broke into C9’s base as early as in the 18th minute. Decisively, G2 managed to finish this bloodbath of a game in just over 23 minutes, after securing baron.
Fnatic started the game off with a cheese strategy as they tried to surround Team Liquid’s bottom lane. However, TL was able to turn it around as Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in secured the first kill of the game. Unfortunately, the early action led to two early deaths for the former World champion support. The bottom lane received the most focus from both sides in the early game.
After CoreJJ’s second death, TL quickly collapsed on the Fnatic bottom lane and secured two early kills. Fnatic did the same slightly later, resulting in some kills and a dragon for the Europeans. The early game was full of action, with both sides staying fairly even throughout it. Kills were traded back and forth as momentum swung from one side to the other.
In the mid game, Fnatic’s superior macro play led to them amassing a noticeable gold lead. Using the momentum in their favor, they swiftly pushed through Team Liquid’s structures with the recently acquired baron buff. Liquid tried hard but simply couldn’t find an engage. And so, Fnatic slowly but surely destroyed the hopes of NA’s fans at Rift Rivals.
Rift Rivals served us another speedrun with Origen’s matchup against Team SoloMid. Once again, the early game revolved around the bottom lane. Origen’s bot completely dominated that of TSM and gained a sizable lead. Other lanes weren’t much different, as Origen took over the game with some good team play. TSM tried hard to catch out some Origen members, but the team was always there to help. Origen diving TSM’s entire team at the 16-minute mark was only a confirmation of their earlier dominance. Keeping the winning streak alive, Origen killed TSM in spectacular fashion.
In the last game of the day, we saw Fnatic play against Cloud9. The European third seeds already played earlier that day, with Fnatic winning their matchup. Here, Fnatic was able to gain an early lead, once again showing the power of European team play. Cloud9 fought hard, but Fnatic reacted perfectly to their plays. Many team fights emerged, but Cloud9 once again had no answer for the Twisted Fate. In a last-ditch effort, Cloud9 tried to engage on Fnatic but weren’t successful. Fnatic put the final nail in the hearts of North American fans as they concluded Day 1 of Rift Rivals.
Do you think North America can come back after such a devastating first day for the region? Let us know in the comments below. And for more League of Legends news, stay in touch with Daily Esports!
Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.