It’s finally here! Rift Rivals 2018 EU-NA will take place Thursday, July 5. The EU representatives are G2 Esports, Fnatic and Splyce. During the group stage, each EU team will play each NA team in a double round robin format. The finals will be a Relay Race, where every team plays at least once in a Best-of-5 to determine a winning region.
The stronger region from the group stage will have the right to counter pick the first three games in the finals. After North American teams took home the 2017 Rift Rivals trophy, EU teams definitely have a chip on their shoulders and will be seeking revenge. However, can the EU teams outclass their counterpart in NA this time? Let us break down the three representing teams and analyze their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Fnatic as a team is no stranger to international competition. As one of the eight teams to qualify for the Riot Season 1 Championship and winning it all in the end, Fnatic have almost always been the top dogs in EU LCS. In the light of recent international events, Fnatic got out of the 2017 World Championship group stage and qualified for 2018 Mid-Season Invitational semi-finals.
Fnatic is currently holding a 4-2 record in the 2018 EULCS Summer Split, only losing to two other powerhouses in G2 and Misfits. With the strong players such as ‘Caps’, ‘Rekkles’ and ‘Broxah’, Fnatic is indeed looking strong on paper, yet it is not without any weaknesses.
As NA teams have demonstrated in Week 3 of NALCS, an all-mage composition can have no answer for an ADC that is being funnelled. Ever since the first week of this split, Fnatic have opted into playing ‘Bwipo’ as their bot laner while keeping ‘Soaz’ as their starting top laner. Most European teams are either not good enough or unprepared for it. Therefore, Fnatic have not been punished, record-wise. Nonetheless, this definitely will not be the case in Rift Rivals, as all the attending NA teams are looking sharp. If Fnatic do not adapt and implement tunnel vision on the no-ADC strategy, they will be taken advantage of, possibly costing them games.
Similar to Fnatic, G2 have plenty of international experience under their belt. (Even though most of the experience are not particularly pleasant for them) However, with the addition of a star Jungler in Jankos. G2 are surely looking to write off their past records and show the world just how implacable they are.
Currently tied in the first place with Misfits, G2 has yet to face any challenge in the EULCS. G2 won all their games seemingly in a breath-taking fashion. Either it is with Hjarnan’s pocket pick Heimerdinger (for more information on Heimerdinger in competitive, check out this article), or with their one-dimensional ‘Funnel strategy’. G2 have executed them flawlessly. Furthermore, G2 as a whole are not afraid of trying out new strategies. And without a question, they have the talents to do so. Additionally, they have showcased a good understanding of the current flow of the game.
On the other side of the coin, G2 might again run into their old habit of being over-confident. Similar to Counter Logic Gaming in NA, G2’s biggest enemy is themselves. It is important for the players and the coaching staffs to keep their composure and stay humble. Other than that, G2 do not have a particular weak spot across their roaster. As they are most definitely the strongest of the three EU teams.
Splyce, Splyce… where can I start? The hero that we deserve, but not the hero we need. Frankly speaking, this team is a sinking ship at the moment with a 2-4 record. Splyce is probably the team that most European fans wish to be replaced by the likes of Misfits to represent EULCS. However, they have earned their right in Rift Rivals for being the third place in Spring. Yet, being third might also be the reason why they are nowhere near as good as they were last split.
After snatching the third place from Team Vitality, it is only logical to think they are perfect for summer. Nonetheless, everything is starting to fall apart as the team did not feel the urge to improve. Splyce have the potential to be a top-3 team this split as well. With the consistent veteran players such as Odoamne and Kasing, and a young explosive player in Kobbe. Splyce have the ability to take any NA teams down, on a good day.
Be that as it may, Splyce showed plenty of weaknesses for their opponent to capitalize on. For example, their slow read on the meta. To give it some context, Splyce started the Summer Split with a Cho’gath top pick… After getting demolished before Cho’gath can scale at all, Splyce went completely copy-cat on their drafts. It is almost as if they would look at the vods from the previous day, and draft whatever worked for the other teams. They let Kobbe on Heimerdinger which he most likely did not have enough practice on. Furthermore, another issue is that their mid laner ‘Nisqy’ is not the player you would funnel all the resources on. As a result, Splyce have yet to try any ‘Funnel’ strategy.
Splyce have to step up their game and improve in all areas before heading into Rift Rivals to have a shot at knocking down any NA teams.
The EU representatives will have to outplay their NA counterpart in the group stage to have a better shot at bringing it home this year. All three NA teams, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves and Echo Fox, are looking poised coming into this tournament, also they match up extremely well against EU teams. EU teams must take the initiative and avoid the bad matchups in the Relay Race. Can Splyce finally live up to their Spring standing or can Fnatic and G2 show their EU prowess? IS EU > NA, everything will be answered this week at the Rift Rivals.
Featured image via LoL Esports.