League of Legends Everything Wrong with Rift Rivals

League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Rift Rivals
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /

In a week filled with criticism for Riot’s most recently created event, we take a look at the reasons why so many teams, pros, and viewers believe Rift Rivals needs to be changed.

Prior to the introduction of Rift Rivals, western League of Legends fans only had small glimpses of Europe vs. North America games to use as evidence when arguing which region was superior. But, the odd Worlds group stage Bo1 was never going to be sufficient to fulfil viewers’ hunger for cross-Atlantic grudge matches. And so, Rift Rivals was forged.

The inaugural NA-EU Rift Rivals took place in 2017 in Berlin with North America coming out on top through a Team SoloMid 3-0 over Unicorns of Love in the final match. The following year saw the competition take place in Los Angeles, but Europe were crowned champions this time with Fnatic as standout performers.

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Having witnessed both regions reach the final of the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, hype should be greater than ever for the NA-EU Rift Rivals tournament that takes place at the end of June. However, due to a number of issues with the timing of the tournament, and subsequent player comments, fans simply don’t seem to be excited for the grudge match between the world’s (current) top two regions.

Following G2’s AD Carry Perkz’s clip this week, the community voiced their Rift Rivals complaints towards Riot for a number of reasons, some of which are detailed here:

Nothing to play for

Besides a pocket-sized prize pool there really is nothing to play for when it comes to Rift Rivals. If you were to ask a pro player what their aspirations are, would they even give a passing mention to Rift Rivals? Most certainly not. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan of either region who even thinks about the tournament more than a month before it begins.

Ultimately it’s due to the fact that Worlds and MSI are the premier League of Legends tournaments throughout the calendar. Why? Because they involve the best teams from the best regions around the globe. When you exclude the winners of the last SEVEN World Championships from a tournament, it will be difficult to entice teams and players to take the competition seriously. As a result, there will be a decline in quality, and therefore a decline in viewer interest.

Suggestions have been put forward involving potentially adding a Worlds qualification place for the winner of Rift Rivals, but this would be difficult to implement and is simply a desperate attempt to add some significance to a pointless tournament. Bragging rights are the only thing on the line for teams heading into Rift Rivals, but even they’re ignored as soon as the next large international tournament arrives.

Whether your region wins or loses, you’ll only have one month of banter and memes to endure before the fan base forgets and begins preparing for regional playoffs and Worlds. Without the international prestige, a qualification place, or even a large prize pool to play for, Rift Rivals will always be a hassle for the teams involved, rather than a thrilling, high-level event.