OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Doublelift of Team Liquid walks onstage during the 2018 North American League of Legends Championship Series Summer Finals against Cloud9 at ORACLE Arena on September 9, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Another Rift Rivals has come and gone, and for the second time this year, North America has been thrashed by Europe on the international stage. In May, the hopes of Team Liquid fans were crushed when G2 Esports demolished Liquid 3-0 in the finals of the Mid-Season Invitational. Fast forward to Rift Rivals this month, and North America fans are left with a similar taste in their mouth.

Of course, Rift Rivals doesn’t carry the same prestige as the Mid-Season Invitational. In fact, many have called the event antiquated and that leaves fans in a difficult position. If North America gets demolished, it’s another example of Europe being dominant. If North America wins, it doesn’t matter because no one tries at Rift Rivals anyway. See the conundrum? Competing at Rift Rivals has become a zero sum game for the “weaker region.”

So, what can be done to fix it? What could make Rift Rivals a must-see event? I have two ideas. We either need to put some stakes on the event or we need to make it a platform for teams that normally wouldn’t get to compete internationally.

Let’s start with the first idea. By putting some stakes on Rift Rivals, fans of both regions would have a vested interest in watching. This is just an example, but what if it had an impact on Worlds? Since both North America and Europe get to send three teams to Worlds, what if each region put their third slot on the line at Rift Rivals? Winner sends four teams, and loser sends two. Rift Rivals instantly becomes a must-see event, and it justifies sending the three best teams in each region to compete. Speaking of which, that brings me to idea number two.

If you’re unwilling to risk your third Worlds slot, and if you’re North America, I certainly wouldn’t blame you. We need to approach Rift Rivals from a different angle. Rather than sending our three best teams, who are likely to be seen at MSI or Worlds anyway, why not pick three teams that normally wouldn’t have a good chance of being seen on the international level? What if, instead, both regions picked randomly from their pool of teams that didn’t make playoffs in the Spring Split? You give the top teams a well deserved rest, especially if they’re the one who competed at MSI, and give the lower ranked teams a chance to shine on the international stage.

Neither of these ideas are cure-alls, but both of them would go a long way to making Rift Rivals relevant. Until then, I’ll stick to watching Steve whiffing Lux ults in the show match. I would love to hear from you though! What would it take to rekindle your interest in Rift Rivals? Hit me up on Twitter @Eskalia or @CheckpointXP, and let me know.

Listen to our past interviews with Riot Games!
Doublelift, Team Liquid
Chris Greeley, LCS Commissioner
David “Phreak” Turley, League of Legends Caster

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