European Mids Exposed At Rift Rivals As NA Dominates The Lane

Rift Rivals has taught us an early lesson; the three best European mid laners all play in the North American League Championship Series. After a commanding start to the tournament, the tandem of Cloud9’s Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Team SoloMid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg have asserted their status as the two best performing mid laners at the inaugural event.

Entering Rift Rivals, there was likely no position on the rift that appeared as stacked with talent as that of the mid lane. With three of both the EU and NA LCS’s best traveling to Berlin, fans would be given an opportunity to see how the best from each region would stack up when paired off against each other, with exciting and close match-ups in the mid lane expected in nearly every match.

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Source: Riot Games Flickr

As Rift Rivals made its debut on the tournament scene however, these match-ups appeared to be much more one-sided than initially anticipated, as the NA mid laners dominated the opening day of play.

The combined statistics paint a clear picture, not only of North America’s advantage in the mid lane, but also their impact on the game as a whole.

NA LCS Mids

Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen 12/2/13 (12.5 KDA)

Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg 10/3/20 (10 KDA)

Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook 11/5/17 (5.6 KDA)

EU LCS Mids

Luka “PerkZ” Perković 7/8/8 (1.875 KDA)

Rasmus “Caps” Winther 6/9/7 (1.44 KDA)

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Fabian “Exileh” Schubert 0/13/6 (0.46 KDA)

The most glaring of these statistics is the scoreline of Unicorns of Love mid laner Fabian “Exileh” Schubert, who failed to secure a kill in either of their two games. Already pointed to as a possible weak link, Exileh looked completely overwhelmed as both Phoenix1 and Team SoloMid plundered kill after kill.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Possibly worse for the future outlook of the EU LCS was the failure of the heralded mid laners of Fnatic and G2 eSports Rasmus “Caps” Winther and Luka “PerkZ” Perković to justify their claims as top tier mid laners.

PerkZ took a significant step back from his Mid-Season Invitational performance, whilst Caps seemed completely outmatched in his first taste of international play, though Fnatic’s drafts certainly did little to serve his cause. For a region that claims to be a factory for mid lane talent, the product failed to live up to the praise.

While defenders of the EU mid laners may be quick to point out that the NA squads focused heavily on securing advantages for their mid laners, it is hard to criticize a strategy that works.

The NA teams repeatedly found kills in the mid lane, and the EU squads were unable to either effectively counter gank the mid lane, play safe enough to prevent dying, nor find kills in the other lanes.

Source: Riot Games

What the EU LCS was counting on to be a point of strength at Rift Rivals, initially appears to be a weakness. Moving forward, it would be wise of the EU squads to prioritize their mid lane early in drafts, and emphasize strategies that protect the lane through jungle presence and vision early in the game.

While Bjergsen and Jensen have proven they are top tier mid laners, there is an argument to be made that they are equaled by another European in the NA LCS not even present at Rift Rivals, Henrik “Froggen” Hansen.

Whether it is the organizational structure around them, differences in Meta, or possibly just stronger competition in NA, it appears the NA LCS is where the European boys have turned to become men of the mid lane.


CLICKON eSports’ NA vs EU Rift Rivals Predictions