Europe triumphant at Rift Rivals
Despite a back and forth group stage that saw only a single game’s difference between North America and Europe, the EU LCS representatives defeated their North American hosts in convincing fashion.
The start of the final series was all stars and stripes, with Echo Fox taking the first game off Europe’s G2 Esports. But two Fnatic wins combined with a shocking upset of Team Liquid by Splyce was enough to close out the series 3-1.
After 100 Thieves’ experimental roster came up short against Fnatic, it was Team Liquid and Splyce taking to the stage. With NA’s best squad matching up against the worst performing team at Rift Rivals, Team Liquid looked poised to keep North America in the running.
Splyce had other plans, flattening Liquid in a steamroll that lasted fewer than 30 minutes. While the victory was a surprise, Splyce’s dominance of Team Liquid highlighted the North American teams’ inability to adapt to new strategies.
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung were flummoxed by Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup’s Heimerdinger, and the resulting loss put North America at an 0-4 mark against Heimerdinger. In spite of his success for the European squads, no NA team drafted Heimerdinger.
https://twitter.com/TLDoublelift/status/1015724014633828352 [should show up in wordpress]
The newly reworked Aatrox was also a big gamechanger on the rift, with G2 top laner and Group Stage MVP Martin “Wunder” Hansen picking up two wins with Aatrox and Fnatic’s Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau also nabbing a win with the champion. As was the case with Heimerdinger, North America did not select Aatrox in any games during the tournament.
North America’s next international appearance will be at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, where its representatives will attempt to make the region’s first ever Worlds Semifinals appearance.
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