There’s no doubt in people’s minds that Rift Rivals was a huge disappointment for Europe as a region. Both Fnatic and G2 Esports got demolished while Unicorns of Love made it to the finals but got swept convincingly by Team SoloMid. But how did EU’s Rift Rivals performance affect the league as whole? Here are the takeaways from Week 6.
Fnatic is starting to learn from their mistakes
The biggest thing that got exposed about Fnatic by the NA teams was their linear playstyle. It’s true that they were really good at that playstyle in the first five weeks of EU LCS. However their opponents at Rift Rivals came prepared for that style and because Fnatic only knew how to play in that style, the results were quite disastrous. The only team Fnatic was able to defeat was Phoenix1 and even in one of their wins against them, they only won off of a huge late game mistake by P1 that allowed Fnatic to just close off the game. Bottom line is that this was not a good tournament for Fnatic.
That being said the team is starting to adapt and learn from their shortcomings. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson has started to play more meta oriented champions and he isn’t playing for exp and solo lane gold. He’s sticking with his team more and is in a more supportive role. Fnatic’s 2-0 victory over Vitality isn’t that impressive but it does show that the team is going in the right direction for now.
G2 Esports is drafting better
At the very least in their 2-0 victory against Splyce, G2 drafted good compositions for themselves. Ever since the Summer Split started, we would sometimes see the team draft themselves into a corner by picking compositions with low amount of CC and engage. That wasn’t the case against Splyce as G2 used compositions that revolved around Ki “Expect” Dae-Han and Kim “Trick” Gang-Yun on Jarvan and Sejuani respectively being the front line and engage for the team.
At Rift Rivals G2 simply didn’t play well enough and made way too many mistakes. Although they are still making some in-game errors here or there, the fact that they are drafting better is a good sign. It’s something that G2 fans should be happy about as the team tries to reclaim its spot as the best team in Europe.
Unicorns of Love are a mystery
Despite having the best showing out of all the EU teams, the Unicorns of Love remain one giant question mark. Rift Rivals showed that perfectly. In their victories the Unicorns displayed that when they are able to gain a lead with a good teamfighting comp, they can decimate their opponents. However in their losses they showed that if they are unable to gain a lead, they can crumble really fast. Their Week 6 performance was exactly that.
Despite winning their series 2-1 against Misfits, UoL continued to show inconsistencies within different parts of the game. Not to mention Fabian “Exileh” Schubert‘s limited champion pool and his tendency to die a lot in lane. The team needs to address these issues and until they do, it’s unlikely they will be able to do well outside of Europe.
ROCCAT and NiP’s performances were abysmal
Something is very much wrong with ROCCAT. It seems that with Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian‘s departure the team has lost a lot of its direction and proactiveness. It just feels like ROCCAT slowly loses their games and instead of playing to win, they play not to lose. With ROCCAT having G2, Fnatic, Misfits and UoL left in their 5 remaining series, unless they fix their issues they are more than likely going to sit in the 4th place spot for sure. Why for sure? Because a team known as Ninjas in Pyjamas exists.
The thing with NiP is that while they sometimes win their early game, they are unable to turn it into anything. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to call them the Team Liquid of the EU LCS. Even in the two single wins they have picked up, it took them quite a while to close out the games. If NiP doesn’t learn how to use their advantages they are on their way to repeating Origen’s dreadful 2-26 record from last split.
Although the European teams that went to Rift Rivals showed some improvement, there’s still a long ways to go for Europe to fix its reputation. Week 7 will show us if the teams will start to stagnate again or if they will continue to get better.