Rift Rivals is a new tournament that pits regions against each other in both a group stage and a team tournament format. The most competitive of these events was in the Asian region between LCK (LoL Champions Korea), LPL (LoL Pro League), and LMS (LoL Master Series). Korea, China, and Taiwan/Hong Kong respectively battled it out, with the Korea and China finding themselves in the final.
The LCK was tipped to take the tournament, with SKT considered the best team in the world in the best region. The tournament developed in a much more interesting way. Here are the final results and a rundown:
Samsung Galaxy (LCK) 0 – 1 Edward Gaming (LPL)
From the beginning, Korea’s game plan was thrown off by Samsung Galaxy being upset and losing their first game. Edward Gaming started the game off with aggressive steps forward and got an early lead. Their early gold and pressure advantage led to them getting ideal positioning around objectives. The map-wide pressure led to EDG getting 7 kills on the board before Samsung was able to answer back with one. SSG did hold on whilst EDG struggled to find the situation to end the game. This would become a trend throughout the finals. Edward Gaming proved to be too far ahead for SSG to make a comeback.
SK Telecom 1 (LCK) 0 – 1 Team WE (LPL)
SK Telecom 1 was brought out as their second team to try and restore order but fell to the likes of Team WE. SKT held on for a long while and was even dangerous despite being so far behind. However, their play was too disrespectful to WE’s ability and the damage that the Galio and Jarvan on WE’s side were able to take and give out. The team comp got to them in the end, and with Faker focused down early with the jungler camping his lane, SKT fell further and further behind as the game went on. The best of 1 format hurts SKT, who are masters of adaptation. Their first games are often much less impressive than their regular play.
KT Rolster (LCK) 1 – 0 Oh My God (LPL)
It looked grim, with the best team in the world not being able to rise to the occasion. KT Rolster brought back some hope for the Korean side. They brought out a one-sided game that was expected of the whole tournament. Oh My God suffered in the macro game, and KT capitalized on any mistakes they saw.
MVP (LCK) 0 – 1 Royal Never Give Up (LPL)
Royal Never Give Up and MVP came up next, the tournament life of LCK on the shoulders of a team currently underperforming across the board. They clung to life, falling behind but fought on for well over 50 minutes. Most of RNG’s deaths were stacked on Gragas, and the other members were able to run free in most fights. A fantastic play around Baron from RNG led to Korea’s demise, however. RNG rushed down Baron whilst MVP were down an inhibitor, forcing Poppy to teleport in. As soon as she did, they finished the baron and had Camille teleport to the base to end. The rest of the team stopped MVP from recalling to defend.
LCK 1 – 3 LPL
The LPL performed fantastic across the board in the Rift Rivals finals. They obviously studied their opponents and knew where to be and who to focus. Their form was on point, whilst LCK had a disappointing performance. There was quite a lot of Corki and Galio priority in pick/ban phases, accentuating the importance of control and team fights around important objectives.