League of Legends’ biggest grudge match is on the horizon, with three of Europe’s best teams coming together to take down North America. Rift Rivals NA vs. EU begins Thursday, June 27. G2, Fnatic and Origen are in Los Angeles to take on Team Liquid, TSM and Cloud9. With G2 winning MSI, Fnatic being 6-0 in the LEC and both of them finishing top four last year at Worlds, the LEC come in as the favorites.
Origen are the one team that stands out against this recent success. The third-place team in Spring Split, OG currently sits in a three-way tie for fourth with a 3-3 record. They have already lost to Fnatic, G2 and Splyce, while beating Schalke, Misfits and Vitality. OG comes into Rift Rivals to show that all of Europe’s teams are strong, not just G2 and FNC. How might they play into the LCS’ best?
Match 1 – TSM
TSM is OG’s first opponent at Rift Rivals 2019. These two teams should match up fairly well, with similar gold distributions across players and only small variance across most statistics. The largest differences come from champion preferences in the solo lanes and objective control.
Because OG tends to draft physical damage champions for Nukeduck, Alphari gets stuck on magic damage duty. Irelia, Aatrox and Jayce have only gone mid lane for OG, while Kennen and Viktor have been their preferred top laners. TSM, on the other hand, have only played mages mid and almost exclusively AD champions top. As a by-product of these champion assignments, Alphari averages 28.2 percent of OG’s damage and Nukeduck averages 18 percent, while Bjergsen makes up 28.7 percent of TSM’s damage and Broken Blade 21.3 percent.
TSM tend to have better objective control than OG, with higher Dragon, Rift Herald, and Baron control rates. OG have better CS control, while TSM gets First Blood much more frequently, but they both generally start close to even in the early game. TSM prioritizes Ocean Drakes and gives more Infernal Drakes. OG gives many more Ocean Drakes and secures a higher portion of Infernals. These teams might actually be happy trading CS for kills and Oceans for Infernals.
OG pretty much plays it close for the first 25 minutes of the game, then either win (VIT, S04) or lose (G2, SPY) within five to ten minutes. TSM’s games tend to vary a bit more–slowly losing to Team Liquid, losing early then swinging back later against Counter Logic Gaming and gaining a lead then throwing then winning against Echo Fox and Golden Guardians. When they match up, they will probably fall back to scaling teamfight compositions. TSM will lead the charge to objectives, and OG will sacrifice early neutrals for lane pressure. After 25 minutes, both teams will look for fights near Baron. In other words, this could go either way very easily.
Player to Watch: Patrik
OG’s bottom laner could be the difference-maker in their match against TSM. Not only has he gotten a win with Sona, but Patrik also brings over the LEC Draven. Pair that with Mithy’s Lux or Rakan, and his experience as a duo with Zven, and Patrik could catch TSM off guard in the early stages. He outputs 31 percent of OG’s damage, third highest individual damage share in the LEC. Along with Alphari, Patrik is probably the least recognized player by the LCS audience, so that may even add to the surprise of a win.
Match 2 – Cloud9
C9 averages ahead in gold at 15 minutes and has the second highest gold differential per minute. This means C9 tends to gain a lead and snowball more than most LCS teams. Since Origen are more likely to scale for 20 minutes, C9 could pose a threat. While C9 is not quite as oppressive, G2 and Fnatic are similar statistically in this regard. It is probably the best gameplan for taking OG down.
C9 also bring a host of unique champion picks that OG have not shown yet, including Akali, Neeko, Yasuo, Sylas and Braum. The draft between these two will probably involve a lot of winning for both sides. Neither team will likely give Sona or Yuumi, but many of the other picks will probably remain open after ban phase one. C9 will remove Rakan and Kennen if they can. Origen will remove Aatrox and Sylas. C9 might just get their Yasuo-Gragas or a bully top lane for Licorice. Origen might get Irelia, Ryze or Sejuani.
The biggest difference between the teams, again, comes down to objective control. C9 have a 78.6 percent Baron control rate and 71.4 percent Herald rate. They have the top side of the map on lock. This makes OG’s 40 and 50 percents look pretty weak. The other big factor for these teams will be which side they play. C9 is four for four on Blue Side, but one for four on Red Side. On top of all of this, C9 have Blaber as a jungler substitute, which could throw a whole extra layer to OG’s prep.
Player to Watch: Alphari
If OG beat C9, it will probably look like 100 Thieves’ recent win over them. Put Patrik on a scaling crit AD carry, and give the rest of the composition some engage and burst. Be comfortable falling behind a bit in laning phase, but once everyone hits six, OG should look for fights. So much of their success will come down to Alphari, and what he can pull off in the team fights. Opting for top lane Jarvan IV, could be perfect for throwing off the draft and fights against C9. Holding Licorice down in lane and utilizing disengage with Poppy helped TSM beat them. A weak top lane will all but guarantee a C9 victory.
Match 3 – Team Liquid
Of course, if C9 are dangerous for OG, then OG will probably struggle even more against Liquid. TL’s early game numbers are slightly better than C9’s, but they give less and take more. TL averages the most towers killed with the least towers lost. They have the second highest First Blood rate and third highest First Turret rate. However, TL’s biggest strength comes from bottom lane–Doublelift and CoreJJ–which contributes heavily to their 69 percent dragon control rate.
Herald and Baron control is much smaller for TL, which could be a target area for OG, especially if they force bottom lane into a scaling match-up. Xayah-Rakan is by far TL’s preferred duo, so OG will have to remove that. Even forcing Doublelift onto the Sona might be in OG’s favor for keeping them off the Rift for the first phase of the game. Akali, Irelia and Leblanc also seem to pop up in TL’s drafts more than other LCS teams, so OG will probably have to give one of these away.
Playing the good old European split-push game could be OG’s best option compositionally. Avoiding fights, and playing as pure a macro-game as possible might be optimal. Nukeduck and Alphari are great in side lanes, so it should not be a problem. Picking the right fights, and not letting TL dictate the engages will pretty much decide this one for OG.
Player to Watch: Kold
Jungle engage was a large factor in Echo Fox and CLG’s victories. Skarner or Sejuani are going to pick-or-ban in this draft. Xmithie is instrumental in TL’s early game, he handles smite fights well, and forcing him onto an Olaf or Rek’Sai could be a difference-maker for OG. Kold has shown that his performances heavily influence the team’s end result. He also may need to flex the Jarvan IV if TL prepare an answer to the top lane option. Successful early visits to bottom lane should be the game plan.
All statistics from Games of Legends