The best of the west fought for regional pride today in Rift Rivals Day One. The day started off in the most exciting way possible: a bloody brawl in the All Random Ultra Rapid Fire mode with players from every team. Though it didn’t matter for the tournament standings, the NA team beat down EU to take First Blood of the event.
The games afterward certainly did not disappoint. The best teams of each region demonstrated their proficiency and provided the audience with spectacular gameplay today. At the end of the day, each region stands with two wins, setting the stage for an explosive second day tomorrow.
Echo Fox v Fnatic
Fnatic (“FNC”) commanded Echo Fox (“FOX”) in the first real game of the day. FOX chose to draft a funnel composition into the European representatives, a questionable move considering their familiarity with the strategy. FNC displayed exactly how to break down a funnel, and make it useless. They drafted a strong pushing bottom lane and fully abused the top lane. FNC’s versatility in their top and bottom laners proved to be useful, while mistakes on FOX dug their grave for them.
Huni was absolutely smashed by Broxah and the rest of FNC. His disrespectful positioning caused him to give over First Blood, as well as a number of additional kills. His lane bully pick with a funnel composition was questionable, and FNC showed why. At 10 minutes, due to the lead attained through the top lane and the pushing bot lane, FNC was ahead by 2k gold. Crucially, Altec was not that ahead, and the FOX funnel was not taking off.
The game was bloody, and FOX made moves to attempt coming back. Though they were able to pick up some kills in skirmishes, FNC’s lead was impenetrable. The first uncontested FNC Baron unlocked the bottom lane Inhibitor, and the game slowed down for a couple minutes. This was until Huni was caught behind enemy lines in a one-versus-five, which led FNC to kill three FOX members and take a second free Baron. FNC then easily destroyed the final two Inhibitors, having an 8k gold lead at 30 minutes. One last team fight in the base of FOX resulted in four dead FOX members, and their Nexus being taken at 31 minutes.
Team Liquid v Splyce
The first seed Team Liquid (“TL”) took an expected win against the struggling Splyce (“SPY”). Both teams chose to play the standard style, and TL showed their mastery of it in this meta. As a result of this style, the team was very slow, and had very few fights.There isn’t too much to say about this game, TL methodically picked apart SPY.
TL took their advantage early on in a Xmithie gank in the top lane. Impact grabbed First Blood against Odoamne, and began controlling his lane. Xmithie was able to lane gank for his bottom lane too, Kobbe was killed and after Xmithie exerted some more pressure, SPY’s bottom Tier One tower fell. SPY had one thing going for them early: their lane pressure. Nisqy was able to take the first tower bonus in the middle lane, while the SPY duo had the TL turret low. However, this was it, and was not nearly enough.
The first huge advantage for TL came when SPY started Rift Herald. TL engaged a team fight, Pobelter’s Irelia went wild, and TL came up with an Ace, the Herald, and a tower. With their 6k gold lead, they made smart rotations around the map to destroy and chip away at multiple towers. Finally, TL was tired of waiting. At 27 minutes, they dive the middle lane tier two tower, and chaos ensued. Four members dropped on the side of SPY, and with this positioning, TL took their Nexus a minute later.
100 Theives v G2 Esports
The match between these second seed teams began with a two-versus-two on Howling Abyss in order to decide side select. Brandini and Levi represented 100 Thieves (“100T”), while Wunder and Perkz played for G2 Esports (“G2”). The G2 duo won the showdown with a dirty Poppy-Anivia combo, and chose Blue Side.
Surprisingly, G2 did not opt to play a funnel composition. Instead, 100T funneled Levi, a flashback to Gigabyte Marine at the 2017 World Championship. The game was long, but G2 managed to edge out the victory against 100T. They came in with a plan, and executed it well. Wunder, Jankos and Perkz dove and killed Brandini time and time again. They ended up creating such a big advantage top, letting them take all three top towers. This made Brandini useless. Levi, with Aphromoo and Cody Sun play making, was able to secure some kills. He was a strong force, but nothing compared to the snowballing G2 line-up.
100T was also able to take two Baron buffs, which extended the game. Most fights went in the favor of G2, but 100T were able to turtle and hold on with picks. They even won a miraculous fight in their base on the backs of Levi. In the end, their admirable defense didn’t matter when G2 engaged on them. Wunder’s Aatrox was massive, and was impossible to stop in team fights, and so was Jankos’ Nocturne. Because of Perkz’s insane poke, Jankos and Wunder could safely engage on to 100T for the final fight. With the follow up from their team, they annihilated them to get a clean ace. G2 finished their Nexus in just under 45 minutes, and though 100T managed to delay the loss, G2 showed why they are the favorites for the tournament.
Echo Fox v Splyce
FOX turned the score around for NA, picking up a win in their second game of the day. They too had to play a two versus two to decide side select. Kobbe and KaSing beat Huni and Adrian took the win for their team, and SPY chose Red Side. No crazy strategies came out, but Dardoch finally got his hand on an aggressive champion. His Kindred would prove to be the primary carry in this match.
While his Kindred was instrumental to their win, Dardoch gave over First Blood on a botched invade against SPY. He was able to bounce back by diving top twice, killing Odoamne both times and taking his top tower for the first tower bonus. Fights happened all around the map, and Huni, with his Boots of Mobility Ornn, managed to show up to them all. He initiated fights for his team around all parts of the map, and was also influential in gaining the lead they had. Dardoch was the benefactor from many fights and skirmishes. He attained seven bounty stacks at 17 minutes, and from here he was ready to take over.
Though fights had broken out all over, the one that mattered the most went in the favor of FOX. A three for two trade in mid lane team fights broke open the game for FOX. They were able to secure a middle lane Inhibitor and a Baron Nashor, with no casualties after the initial two. With this, they quickly grouped up to siege the bottom lane and cracked the Inhibitor there. Now at 30 minutes, they had a 6k gold lead and were on their way to the top lane. After Odoamne was caught too far forward and killed by Dardoch, the FOX team forced their way to take the third Inhibitor. They fought along the way, killing three more SPY members, and demolishing the Nexus at 31 minutes.
Featured image via LoL Esports Flickr.
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