North America’s Team SoloMid have won the first ever NA/EU Rift Rivals tournament securing victory in the Finals against Europe’s Unicorns of Love in a clean 3-0 sweep.
The first game of the series was all about TSM as they dominated UOL thoroughly, pulling into a 10k gold lead at just 20 minutes. Once the lead was secured Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s Leblanc proved to be far too much for UOL to handle as he jumped into teamfights taking down opponent after opponent and ending the game at a fantastic 10/1/11 scoreline.
Game two once again was fully in favor of Team SoloMid, however, this time it was jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnson on his signature Lee Sin that helped them secure the game. In the first 15 minutes Johnson was 3/0/4 giving him 100% kill participation and giving his team a lead in every lane. Though TSM faltered slightly in the mid-game, giving up a massive midlane teamfight, Johnson proved he was ready to play the hero again as he stole the Baron that UOL was attempting to grab. From there, UOL had no chance to come back, with TSM playing a careful and measured strategy to close out the game.
Unlike the first two games, game three was incredibly close with TSM playing a scaling composition into UOL’s mid-game focused team. Unicorns of Love pulled out to an early lead of almost 3k gold around 20 minutes, however, as the game reached 30 minutes it became clear that Team SoloMid’s superior teamfighting abilities were going to be enough to overcome UOL. After winning a huge teamfight midlane, TSM got their first gold lead of the game and continued to teamfight their way to another victory.
This sweep completes a near perfect tournament from Team SoloMid who only lost one game in the competition — their second group stage match against UOL. The finals also closely mirrored the event as a whole as NA dominated EU in the group stage ending with a record of 12-6, ending an almost three year streak of disappointing international performances for North America.
As for Team SoloMid, this victory should provide a bit of much needed confidence for a roster that never managed to perform to the level they seemed capable of. After the most dominant NA LCS Split of all time in the summer of 2016, TSM failed to advance from the Group Stage at Worlds. After a brief roster change for the 2017 Spring Split and Mid-Season Invitational, last year’s roster was back again for the Summer Split and was off to a slow start prior to Rift Rivals.
With a near perfect run through Rift Rivals, shutting down each of their European opponents, Team SoloMid should enter the second half of the NA LCS Summer Split with new found confidence, that could carry them into a strong world’s performance and a bit of international redemption for North America.