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Rift Rivals Blue NA vs. EU Review

eSports Predictions

North America proved they were the better region in a big way in Berlin last week. North American teams went 12-6 against European teams in the Group Stage and Team SoloMid capped it off with a sweep of Unicorns of Love in the Rift Rivals Blue Final. That’s not at all what most analysts were expecting heading into the tournament, but the meta North America favored was clearly superior. We’ll see how that affects both regions’ Summer Splits and Worlds in the coming months.

The oddsmakers and experts were very, very wrong

Two weeks ago, we told you that betting on Team SoloMid to win Rift Rivals Blue at +500. The oddsmakers were way too confident in a European victory, believing that all three European teams had a better chance at winning then reigning North American champs TSM.

TSM showed them that jet lag would have no effect on their performance, going 5-1 in the Group Stage before routing UoL in the finals. Svenskeren was an absolute powerhouse in the jungle throughout the tournament, proving he is not the weak link on the team like some believe.

Svenskeren had the second-highest KDA of any jungler in the Group Stage, but was a superstar in the Finals. Many expected the jungle to be the one area where UoL had a decisive advantage with Xerxe on the prowl. Svenskeren had a 15 KDA in three games against UoL and his play in the early game led to TSM snowballing Games 1 and 2. He was masterful on both Kha’Zix and Lee Sin and showed that MikeYeung wasn’t the only jungler to fear.

Perhaps a bigger story than TSM winning was Phoenix1’s performance. Phoenix1 was a longshot to win it all at +2200, but went 4-2 in the Group Stage. P1 had only won one game in Summer Split in North America, but their performance here showed that Europe’s best just aren’t that good.

European mid-laners had a terrible showing

This was not a great tournament for European mid-laners. None of the three that represented Europe managed to have a KDA of over 2.

Exileh eventually turned it around, but he was awful in the early going. He was caught out of position way too many times and was trying to play champions he could carry on. Once he started playing more team-based selections, the Unicorns of Love fared better, but it was touch and go after an 0-2 start on Day 1.

Fnatic may end up winning the Summer Split this season, but Caps didn’t look good at all. Caps is an up and coming talent, but just couldn’t seem to get it going.

The most disappointing performance in the tournament was that of Perkz and G2. Perkz was a no-show during the tournament, making some pretty poor plays and G2 really struggled to adapt to the changing meta.

Aftermath

North America’s style of supporting your mid-laner with jungler and support help really paid off throughout the tournament and is one of the big takeaways. Traditionally, European teams don’t provide much support for their mid-laners and they were unable to come up with successful counters when they were getting ganked in the mid-lane.

The NA teams were able to use that to build advantages over their counterparts and it will be interesting to see if certain EU teams adopt that mentality.

Perhaps the most interesting Group Stage match came on Day 3 when TSM took on Fnatic for a second time. TSM let Fnatic do exactly what they wanted to do in the draft. Fnatic was able to play Shen, Syndra, Kennen, and Camille and still got absolutely destroyed. Over in Europe, Shen and Kennen are consistently banned out against Fnatic, but with TSM providing a blueprint for how to defeat them, things might be changing.

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