The Western World in disarray
In a post Mid-Season Invitational world, all popular community opinions of not the West have changed. Team Solomid, once looked at as by far the best Western League of Legends team are now frowned upon as a result of their one win performance at MSI. Fnatic, however were seen as a team who were too sloppy to step up to the plate on an international level. That was until they stopped TSM in an almost routine fashion in 31 minutes. The vision of EU vs NA was not the only thing changed however, as Taiwanese team AHQ took down both Fnatic and TSM, despite being seen as the weakest of the major regions. These results left many questions to be answered for both the North American and European regions.
An Evolving Europe
Even after taking down North America’s best, the region as a whole looks to grow even stronger. With the Spring Split Semifinals being a rookie dominated affair (14 out of 20 players playing their first ever LCS Split) experience looks to make the region even stronger. With a split now under their belts, teams like Fnatic, Unicorns of Love, and H2K Gaming seek to become even better. Their improvements may also be crucial to their survival, with roster swaps bolstering the competition even further. Elements swapped out Wickd, Shook, Krepo, and Rekkles for Jwaow, Dexter, promisq, and Tabzz respectively. This new look roster has the potential to be the dominant team they were expected to be in the disappointing Spring Split. Gambit Gaming, a team that was already a playoff team, replaced their under performing AD Carry P1noy with Spring Split MVP Forg1ven. With both of these new potential powerhouses combined with the new challenger-qualified team Origen, the top of the European LCS looks to be a crowded place. With the average talent level skyrocketing, there’s nowhere for the top teams to go but up.
New Hope In North America
As a region, North America might be a little less optimistic right now. Team Solomid completely dominated the scene is the Spring Split, but didn’t show up at the Mid-Season Invitational. This is worrying for the region that was dominated by the team that only scavenged one win at the Mid-Season Invitational. The shining beacon of hope in NA right now is Cloud 9’s first ever roster move. Longtime Captain and shot-caller Hai stepped down and was replaced by European prodigy Incarnati0n. As a player, Incarnat0n is mechanically far superior to Hai, with the only real question being his shot calling. After serving as coach for SK Gaming during his Season 4 competitive play ban, many are hopeful that his strategical mind will transfer to the shot calling role well. For the North American region to grow, it is essential that Cloud 9 is not the only team to step up. Teams like the surging Team Liquid and the new look CLG starring Pobelter and Huhi need to join in on raising the bar for the region in general.
Looking toward Worlds
With both North America and Europe seeing opportunity for growth in this upcoming Summer Split, the final clash will be at the Season 5 World Championship. With all of this put into perspective, maybe these teams shouldn’t be striving to beat each other, but to look at the bigger picture. The West is closer now than ever to taking down the juggernaut that is the Asian League of Legends scene. It might be time to put the NA vs EU aside in favor of a more global East vs. West rivalry.