Tom B. July 6, 2019
The 2019 Rift Rivals NA vs. EU tournament was a forgettable one for North American fans, but there are still lessons that can be learned from it.
With the dust still settling from the event, Team SoloMid mid laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg opened up on the tournament and the LCS’s rough outing. Though many were doom and gloom about the state of the LCS, Bjergsen stated that important lessons were learned by the North American teams and that there is hope yet for the region.
“There’s always something to learn from it, I think Team Liquid were only team to show much good play,” Bjergsen said. “There are many things that we can improve on from scrimming against them and the feeling of playing against the European teams, how they pull NA teams around the map and pressure you to react.”
Bjergsen said that getting beaten by better teams is always a valuable learning experience but issued an apology to fans, promising he will do all he can to help the LCS regain its honor at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship while adding "I dont think theres an excuse. I think NA needs to step it up as a whole to do better at future tournaments.”
The interview was briefly hijacked by Team Liquid rival Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, who asked some questions about specific moments in TSM’s tough loss to Fnatic. Bjergsen brushed him off however, and refused to be drawn into a discussion on the issues of that particular game.
At Rift Rivals, LCS representatives Cloud9, TSM, and Team Liquid found themselves woefully overmatched against LEC rivals G2 Esports, Origen, and Fnatic. As a region, NA was only able to win four games against EU teams at the event, with three coming from Team Liquid. TSM took the other, while Cloud9 went winless.
Though some have suggested that EU teams were not taking Rift Rivals seriously, Bjergsen suggested that the LEC was actually using the tournament to experiment with new strategies. He said that NA teams are perhaps too caught up in securing a comfortable draft for themselves, while European teams were picking things that threw them off balance.
While winning Rift Rivals certainly gives some bragging rights, the most important international tournament of the year is Worlds. Bjergsen ended the interview by saying his focus is on the final weeks of the split to make sure TSM has the chance to exact some revenge on the LEC there.