Anyone that has been paying attention over the last few months knows that Rift Rivals is G2’s to lose. A resounding MSI victory is sandwiched between two splits where they have looked just as good. Undefeated in the Summer Split until the recent loss to fellow RR participant Fnatic, they have shown the teamwork, mechanics and pressure needed to be successful against all comers.
Cloud9 will likely be the toughest game for G2 during this tournament. Though Team Liquid may be the better team, their recent one-sided defeats by G2 are strong evidence that the European team knows exactly how to beat them. Cloud9 will have a bit more mystery around them, which could make things interesting if G2 underestimates them.
Though there was some doubt surrounding the decision to go with Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer as their starting Mid Laner, he has proven over and over again that he can lead this team to victory. With the rest of the team looking solid, he just needs to avoid repeating one of the few bad performances he has had this summer, and they could be a real threat.
Team Liquid are the best team coming from the LCS overall. That being said, they are 1-4 in their recent matches against G2, and no real reason why this game will be any different. Slight meta changes since MSI have not slowed G2 down at all, while TL faltered in the first weeks of the season.
Though they seem to have recovered, the fact is that not only are G2 the better team, but they have recent experience against this lineup, which should work in their favor. Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng should never completely be counted out, but he will first need to overcome the weight of their recent losses to G2, which could be easier said than done. Team Liquid could pull out some strange champions and try to throw G2 off since it is a Bo1, but G2 are such a versatile team that even this will likely be unsuccessful.
TSM are having a strange start to the split. With two junglers, they look like two completely different teams. With Jonathan “Grig” Armao they are 4-0, but with Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham they are only 1-3. Yet for some reason, they are still choosing to start Akaadian in recent matches. When things are going well, they look solid, and there is little doubt that they will be a playoff team in the LCS. That being said, even when Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is ready to carry, they look a step below other international competitors. They might pick up a win at Rift Rivals, but it will probably not be against G2.
The Kings of Europe
If they take things somewhat seriously, this should be an undefeated tournament for G2. Their strongest opponent is the same team that they crushed at MSI just over a month ago, and while their other opponents are looking strong domestically, they are just not on the same level that G2 are currently playing at.
Martin “Wunder” Hansen has been a cornerstone to this team’s success. His versatility is unmatched, which he proved by bringing out Pyke Top Lane in MSI and going 3-0 on the traditionally support champion. His unpredictability has continued throughout the regular season, as he has played six different champions through as many games. He has looked equally good on the likes of Neeko and Yorick, and while he is clearly a threat, he has made himself nearly impossible to prepare against.
The Jungles of the LEC have been dominated by G2 for a long time now, thanks to Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski. The “First Blood King” has proved equally successful in carrying his team as he is enabling his laners, getting them early advantages. NA Junglers will have their work cut out for them, even if they are the best in their region.
The Bot Lane duo of Luka “Perkz” Perković and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle continue to impress despite any hurdles they may face. Mikyx faced some health issues leading into MSI, but returned for the tournament without missing a beat, looking as strong as ever. Perkz is one of the most successful stories in recent years of a player switching roles, being near the top in Europe at Mid and ADC. Their synergy has been obvious, and Perkz has rarely died more than once a game.
That leaves only Rasmus “Caps” Winther. The former Worlds finalist with Fnatic is the undisputed best Mid Laner in Europe. Long dubbed “Baby Faker” until he defeated the legend head to head at MSI this year, his aggression and mechanics continue to grow and push his team to new heights. With an incredibly skilled team around him, enemies can’t completely focus him, so he is able to get ahead and terrorize opponents in most matchups. With the hype and low pressure that comes from a fun tournament like Rift Rivals, the potential for some peak Caps play is high.