After an exciting Rift Rivals that saw the LCK finally take home the title, the international landscape is starting to become even more clear. Now with Worlds slowly inching closer and closer, what are some takeaways from yet another exciting Rift Rivals showdown between the Asian regions?
Korea is Fine
One of the main concerns coming into Rift Rivals for the fans was how Korea would perform against China. While the Korean teams had the edge historically, their recent results paint a different story. With concerns that Korean teams lacked the aggressiveness to match up well against the Chinese teams, most were predicting another LPL win at this year’s Rift Rivals.
Luckily for fans of the LCK, the top teams stepped up and showed that they fully adapted to the aggressive playstyle that has become a staple of international competitions. In general, they were able to not just keep up against the LPL representatives but often outplay them in their own style. With every major region constantly improving, the LCK’s performance at Rift RIvals was reassuring to see and sets up an exciting Worlds this year as the top Korean teams look to take back the throne.
The Kids are Alright
One of the most entertaining aspects of Rift Rivals this year was seeing some of the younger players in action on the international stage. With some incredibly hyped up matchups like the mid lane matchup between Zhuo “Knight9” Ding from Top Esports against SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Along with other amazing young players in action like the solo laners from DAMWON in top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su, this year’s Rift Rivals was an amazing showcase of the future of the game in action.
With the future looking bright at Rift Rivals, it’s time for these players to continue dominating their respective regions. In the end, they all share the same goal, qualify for worlds and shine on the biggest stage of them all. Who will make it there? Who will fall short? Only time will tell.
It Takes Two to Tango
While the annual matchups between the top LCK and LPL teams were entertaining as always, it’s easy to forget that Rift Rivals features a third region in Taiwan. Due to the region’s struggles in the past, it became an alliance between Taiwan and Vietnam which still wasn’t enough for any notable results from the representatives of both the LMS and VCS. As a result, their most recent results at Rift Rivals raises the question of why they’re taking part in this competition in the first place.
While it is a great experience for the Taiwanese and Vietnamese teams to face the top teams of China and Korea, it provides mediocre matches that often end in a stomp. While Riot has cut down on the number of Rift Rivals to take place this season, a smart solution would be to give Taiwan and Vietnam their own Rift Rivals to compete against each other. As the two regions are the most successful regions outside of the big four (North America, Europe, China, and Korea) it would provide an entertaining tournament for both the players and viewers. Unless Riot does make changes, Taiwan and now Vietnam will just have to make do with their situation and hope for the best.
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Featured image courtesy of LCK flickr.
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