On the second day of this year’s League of Legends Rift Rivals, North American fans hoped for a miracle after the disastrous first day. On the other side, the European fans thought their region would sail smoothly into the relay race finals. However, the North American teams weren’t going to let that happen as they showed much better performances across the board. Let’s take a look at how North America at least partially redeemed itself on the second day of Rift Rivals.
The first match of the second Rift Rivals day gave us a rematch of the 2019 MSI finals. As a reminder of what happened, G2 Esports crushed Team Liquid in three games to secure their first MSI title. Both sides surprised us in the pick and ban phase as they opted for fairly non-standard bottom lanes. Team Liquid went for the more meta Sona and Taric while G2 Esports picked Zed and Yuumi. G2 was able to gain a slight early advantage, but Liquid wasn’t willing to let them run away with it as they kept up the entire time. G2 kept the lead throughout the entire early game.
In the mid game, Team Liquid converted a won team fight into Baron. This led to them pushing into G2’s base and evening out the gold. Odd mistakes from the Europeans meant Liquid could easily gain a lead and swiftly finish the game in just under 25 minutes, proving the bottom lane Zed wasn’t the smartest pick for the European kings.
Following TL’s earlier win, NA fans were excited for this game, to say the least. It was odd from the get-go, as Cloud9 had to make an unusual substitution. Due to illness, ADC Zach “Sneaky” Scuderi had to be replaced by their mid-laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer in the bottom lane. Their mid lane role was filled by their substitute jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang. The most early focus was once again put on the bottom lane as Origen picked the dominant Sona bot. After a successful gank from Cloud9, Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez emerged from the grave to set them up. Origen went on to pick up some crucial kills and swung the momentum in their favor. However, Cloud9 still played well around their composition, forcing important team fights in the early to mid game.
There was only one problem: Origen always had the answer as they won most of these fights. Their gold lead became more and more unbearable as it just kept escalating. Cloud9 still tried to force fights but weren’t able to get back into the game. Origen confidently closed out the game in 25 minutes.
Trying to get redemption for the earlier defeat, G2 came into the third game of Rift Rivals swinging. This time, they put their famous Pyke pick in the jungle, completing their path to playing Pyke competitively in every role. They also chose the Zoe and Bard bottom lane, which paid off tremendously as they dominated TSM in the early game. With a massive advantage in the first 15 minutes, it looked like the game was already over. This proved to be true as G2 swiftly ended the game and completed their redemption.
In the fourth match of Rift Rivals Day 2, North America’s only victorious team faced off against Origen. Tears were shed as early as in the champion select when NA Jayce’s face showed up. Furthermore, many fans’ worst nightmares came true as he got solo killed by Karma in the first few minutes of the game. However, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong flipped the switch to EU Jayce mode after that death.
Team Liquid caught Origen attempting Dragon, which led to a few kills and a secured Dragon for the Americans. The Taric pick proved huge for TL as he mitigated most of Origen’s engages and allowed TL to counter. This brought them the lead they needed to engage further fights, which they won with a superior team-fighting composition. Liquid were able to hold on to that lead, picking up neutral objectives easily. In a last-ditch attempt, Origen tried to zone Liquid with the Taliyah wall but ultimately failed. In style, Team Liquid secured NA’s second Rift Rivals win around the magical 25-minute mark.
As the last game of the day, Team SoloMid took on Fnatic. The early game was fairly even for both teams. However, Fnatic’s top laner gained a notable advantage as he acquired six kills by the 15-minute mark. Unfortunately, Fnatic forced fights they couldn’t win and made smaller mistakes that TSM took advantage of. Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau’s earlier lead proved quite useless as he wasn’t able to find good opportunities to fight. TSM played the macro game almost flawlessly as they acquired important map objectives. Even when it seemed like Fnatic finally got the pick they needed, TSM were able to hold back long enough to still make the fight favorable for them. In a desperate attempt, Fnatic tried to flank TSM by teleporting two members to a ward behind them. However, they failed as TSM aced them to finish the game.
TSM’s victory concluded the second day of this year’s Rift Rivals. The teams are now headed into a relay race finals format, which will finally decide which region is superior. Who do you think will take the Rift Rivals crown in the relay race finals? Let us know in the comments below.
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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.