The Rift Rivals are right around the corner, and the largest Western regions are about to clash in a cutthroat battle for fame and glory. In 2017, North American teams scored a decisive victory against their European counterparts. But things might be very different this time around. With that in mind, here are four bold predictions for the event.
1. Team Liquid will be exposed
There’s no denying Team Liquid are the best team in North America. However, they’re far too reliant on playing very specific team comps around Doublelift and Olleh. These players are the driving force behind TL’s victories, and the entire team resembles a well-oiled machine when they’re performing.
Unfortunately, no one’s there to pick up the slack when they’re not. Team Liquid’s Week 3 game against Clutch Gaming shows exactly what happens when Doublelift and Olleh drop the ball. And if Clutch could do it, powerhouse teams like G2 and Fnatic will also find holes in TL’s armor.
2. Splyce will be competitive
Splyce are currently the biggest disappointment of the Summer Split. Their first EU LCS weeks were abysmal, and they’re looking like the weakest team at the Rift Rivals. Except that might not actually be the case.
The bulk of Splyce’s problems occurred in the laning phase where they struggled to keep up with the influx of aggressive picks and high-tempo team comps. But North American teams have slower playstyles, and they haven’t fully embraced the new meta either. With that, Splyce are set to reach the mid game with minimal casualties, which is exactly what a teamfighting squad wants.
3. NA will experiment with bot lanes
It’s no secret that the NA LCS teams have been trying out different bot lanes in scrims. We’ve already heard murmurs of the bruiser and wizard experiments in interviews, and we’ve even seen a few glimpses of this during Week 3. Even so, most teams hesitate to pick new champions on stage.
But Rift Rivals are different. For one, North American teams will get to practice against the best European lineups, so they will be able to observe unconventional picks played at the highest of levels. And since Rift Rivals isn’t exactly a do-or-die tournament, this is the perfect opportunity for NA to try out new things against strong opponents.
4. Europe will have its revenge
The 2017 Rift Rivals was an absolute disaster for Europe. The EU LCS teams entered the competition with their heads held high, but it quickly became apparent they were no match for their NA LCS counterparts. But this time, tables are going to turn.
European teams were much faster at adapting to the meta. This means they have more experience with unusual picks and gold funneling tactics, which is something most North American lineups still struggle to implement. Sorry, NA, but it’s time for EU to take the spotlight.