Rift Rivals put the EU vs NA debate to bed. The tournament final concluded the story of North America’s dominance over the best the EU LCS had to offer, underlined by a clean 3-0 sweep. For European fans, it’s time to admit that NA has finally become the superior region.
While the rivalry between the NA and EU LCS has only intensified over the years, a 15-6 record at Rift Rivals has sent a clear message to EU fans. When it comes to the head to head match-up between EU and NA, NA is king.
Rift Rivals was supposed to be a tournament where EU would flex their muscles and prove that the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational wasn’t an outlier. Instead, they have found themselves searching for positives after being humbled on their home turf.
Clear favorites entering the tournament, the EU LCS would only be able to gain a lead at twenty minutes in two of the eighteen games at Rift Rivals. Let that sink in, two of eighteen.
For fans of the EU LCS, losing to the NA teams is nothing new. Since the start of the 2016 season, here is the NA-LCS’s head to head record against EU LCS teams at the Mid-Season Invitationals, the World Championships, and now Rift Rivals
22-7 (76% NA Win Rate)
— lolesports (@lolesports) July 8, 2017
With Rift Rivals now concluded, it is fair to not only claim that the NA LCS as a whole is likely stronger than the EU LCS, but also that the best team from the two regions lies in NA.
Team SoloMid was the obvious best team at Rift Rivals after their 3-0 sweep of Unicorns of Love, and a case could be made that Phoenix1 was the second best team at the event.
A humbling thought for fans of the EU LCS should be that the best team from NA may not have even been in attendance. Counter Logic Gaming currently sits atop the standings of the NA LCS with an 8-2 record and was considered by many to be the best team in NA as the tournament approached.
If the tournament results were one-sided already, imagine how much worse it could have been if NA had their two in-form teams at the tournament… like the EU LCS did.
Moving forwards, things appear as if they will only get better for the NA LCS. The largest factor in the rise of the NA LCS has been the recent influx of investment into the league, and with franchising on the horizon the amount of capital entering the league will only be exponentially increased.
The surge of investment in the NA LCS has led to larger organizations and better infrastructure, from increased staff to better facilities. As the money flows, so do the players. With a constant stream of talent into the NA LCS, the player base appears to be growing stronger every split in the NA LCS, often at the expense of EU.
There was a time when the EU LCS was clearly the better region, when teams such as Fnatic and Origen were in their prime. Unfortunately for their fans, Europe’s golden days have sunsetted over the horizon as the NA LCS has slowly overtaken them.
Now on the heels of Rift Rivals, we can confidently say the NA LCS has stepped forward as the “Best of the West”, a title that even European fans should no longer deny.