Today was the final installment of the epic battle between EU and NA. This year’s Rift Rivals has been fairly lopsided so far, with EU dominating day one but NA making some upsets on day two. Today, the teams fought in a best-of-five relay race series. Essentially, each team will play at least one game in the series, and the first region with three wins takes home the trophy. Because the EU representative won more group stage games, NA had to blindly declare who would play the first three games. EU, in turn, was able to counter pick and match their teams in whatever matchups they favored. But in game four both teams were blind picked. The games had some crazy compositions and certainly delivered the excitement fans wanted in the end!
Round 1: Fnatic vs Cloud9
Fnatic (“FNC”) chose to play against Cloud9 (“C9”) in the first match of the day. It worked out very well for them as they devastated the C9 roster without their main ADC player. Broxah, as he is known to do, dominated the early game to get his solo lanes far ahead of their opponents. He first ganked for Nemesis mid, picking himself up First Blood in the process. Soon after, Bwipo solo killed Licorice’s Jax in the top lane, and though he paid his life for it, a Broxah gank got him a second kill. From here, FNC took the Rift Herald, the First Tower bonus and two skirmish victories.
C9 showed a couple of glimmers of hope in the mid-game though. They turned around a mid lane play to get two kills and found two more from a bottom lane play. It was good to see them fight back, but FNC shut them back down. Bwipo solo killed Nisqy in the top lane, then won a big team fight at 23 minutes. After winning the fight, FNC went to Baron and claimed the buff. FNC, empowered with the Baron, first sieged the bottom lane. They knocked down the Inhibitor Tower then engaged onto C9. A long fight resulted in an Ace for FNC, a Nexus kill and the first win in the series for EU.
- Time: 26:17
- Kills: 19-11
- Turrets: 9-1
- Gold: 54.3k-41.0k
- Dragons: 1-1
- Barons: 1-0
Round 2: Team SoloMid vs Origen
Origen (“OG”) decided to play Team SoloMid (“TSM”) in the second match of the day. They achieved success too, defeating the NA representatives rather handily. TSM practically donated First Blood over to Patrik when they invaded at level one and were collapsed on. This game wasn’t explosive, but OG was able to take towers and neutral objectives to build a lead. Through pressure, they took the First Tower bonus in the bottom lane, stole a Rift Herald and killed a few dragons. There were a few kills for both teams, but not too many overall.
This was until 17 minutes. At this point, TSM tried to make a play in the bottom lane but OG was ready. OG killed three and lost none of their own, and took two towers and a Mountain Dragon. TSM managed to play defensively in the proceeding minutes, but eventually OG picked off Grig and took the Baron buff. This Baron was used very effectively by OG and they knocked down multiple towers and even some Inhibitors. TSM tried to defend with spread out fights but they couldn’t stop EU from claiming their second Nexus and bringing NA to match point.
- Time: 29:17
- Kills: 7-8
- Turrets: 1-11
- Gold: 47.4k-56.0k
- Dragons: 0-4
- Barons: 0-1
Round 3: G2 Esports vs Team Liquid
This third match was a rematch of the MSI Finals, but unlike that series Team Liquid (“TL”) took the win over G2 Esports (“G2”). They did so by repeatedly attacking the middle lane and utilizing the synergy between Gragas and Yasuo. Jensen did die twice in the first few minutes due to Jankos ganks, but then Xmithie decided to gank mid. It was a great decision. He made a ton of plays around Jensen and got him very fed. While this was happening, Impact was winning his lane against Wunder and even solo killed him at one point. TL’s bottom lane was scaling and was in a strong spot in the mid-game.
At 25 minutes TL furthered their lead by killing the bottom lane of G2. This allowed them to secure the Baron for themselves, which they used to take the middle Inhibitor in the next few minutes. After the buff expired there was a bit of a lull as TL sieged and G2 defended their base. TL used their advantageous position to put a good deal of pressure on G2’s base and jungle, which they used to take another Baron buff. This time TL focused on the top lane. Soon a team fight erupted and TL absolutely smashed G2. They killed four members before retaking the middle Inhibitor and claiming the first Nexus for NA in the series.
- Time: 34:12
- Kills: 11-18
- Turrets: 2-10
- Gold: 58.6k-68.9k
- Dragons: 1-3
- Barons: 0-2
Round 4: Team SoloMid vs Fnatic
FNC defeated TSM to win this series, and the entire Rift Rivals tournament, for EU. It was a convincing win and started in the middle lane. A 2v2 mid resulted in First Blood for Nemesis’ Veigar and he applied a decent amount of pressure from that. There were a couple more skirmishes that were quite close, but FNC pulled ahead most of the time. Though Broken Blade was commanding the top lane, Bwipo solo killed him at 12 minutes and instantly became a menace. FNC furthered their lead with a Dragon take and the First Tower bonus as well.
The game was desperate for TSM moving into the mid-game. It showed how doomed they were at 15 minutes, as Bwipo killed Grig in a 1v2, though he did still fall to Broken Blade in the end. There were a couple more objectives takes before FNC seriously started looking for Baron. At 22 minutes FNC engaged onto TSM and killed three members and this gave them access to the buff. After backing and regrouping FNC pushed down mid. They destroyed multiple TSM members as they rampaged through their base and finally blasted their Nexus to win bragging rights for EU. So, with that, EU >NA.
- Time: 25:24
- Kills: 4-13
- Turrets: 2-7
- Gold: 38.5k-49.1k
- Dragons: 1-1
- Barons: 0-1
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