Rift Rivals Produces Shocking Results; SK Gaming Win AgainLeague of Legends teams battled in the Rift Rivals competition. Five groups — Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Purple — comprised 41 teams competing to be champion.
The two most prestigious events were the Blue and Red rifts events. Teams from the North American and European LCS qualifiers were in the Blue. The Chinese and South Korean qualifiers, as well as those from Taiwan, Singapore, and Macau were in the Red Rift.
In the Blue Rift, the North American teams prevailed in a rather one-sided event. In the League section, Team SoloMid won five of their six games to finish as the top qualifier from North America and earn the right to take on the top European team.
The European qualifiers were stiffer in their competition, with the Unicorns of Love eventually finishing as the top European team at 3-3. That was same record as the worst team from North America.
The best-of-five final was in turn uninspiring. Team SoloMid clinched the win with a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
In undeniably the highest quality field of all the sections, many experts expected the Korean teams to once again dominate the event. But this year’s rift held surprises.
Sure enough, Samsung Galaxy and SK Telecom T1 both earned 2-0 records to start.
In the semifinal, China took on Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in a series of relay matches. This proved to be a fantastic series, with China coming through the best-of-five match 3-2. Team WE did the damage by defeating J-Team in the opener and then doing the same to Flash Wolves in the fifth and deciding game.
That meant China took on the Korean giants in the final. The Korean teams were the hot favourites, but buoyed by their semis win, the Chinese teams started in stunning fashion.
In the opening match, Edward Gaming, which had lost both their opening matches in the first phase, stunned Samsung Galaxy to win the opener. Then, Team WE came through with a fantastic victory over the current world champions SK Telecom T1.
KT Rolster pulled one win back for Korea over OMG in the third game, but in the fourth, Team MVP could not follow suit and went down 1-0 to China’s Royal Never Give Up. This clinched a massive and unexpected win for the Chinese qualifying section.
In the Yellow Rift, Brazil’s CBLoL earned a 3-2 victory over Latin America South, which confirms the former as one of the fastest-emerging talents in the League of Legends scene.
Japan’s LJL won the Purple Rift thanks to a solid performance against the Southeast Asia’s GPL.
In the Green Rift, 1907 Fenerbahce, an esports club associated with a Turkish soccer team, earned the win for the TCL with a 3-0 victory over Russia’s Vega Squadron in the final.
The teams will now head back to the Summer Split events in their parts of the world, with an eye on securing qualification for the forthcoming World Championships.
SK Gaming’s outstanding form continues in Cologne
In the world of CS:GO, SK Gaming has been without question the team of the year so far. They show no signs of slowing, as this past weekend they conquered ESL One Cologne 2017.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the eventual champions. They were one of six teams forced to play through the full quota of five rounds.
Early losses left SK facing a crucial match against Fnatic for a place in the playoffs, and the German/Brazilian side produced the goods when it mattered. They came through 16-6 to qualify as one of three teams with a 3-2 record.
In the knockout phase, SK Gaming’s killer instinct kicked in — a trend for them. In the opening best-of-three match with OpTic Gaming, SK went 0-1 down in the first map. That would be the last map they would lose in the competition.
SK secured their next two maps 16-9 and 16-7 to earn a place in the semis against FaZe Clan. SK won this match 2-0, thumping FaZe Clan 16-4 in the first map before coming through an exciting sequel 19-16.
Cloud9 waited in the finals, but SK Gaming were simply too strong. They swept the best-of-five final to claim the $100,000 top prize. It’s the squad’s forth big win of 2017, following the Esports Championship Series 3 Finals, IEM Sydney, and the Cs.Summit events.