The League of Legends: Wild Rift esports scene in North America just capped its first-ever big event. Eight teams qualified for the first of three Majors in the Wild Rift: Summoner Series. The top four teams of this $10,000 first Major qualified for the second Major, which will have more than just cash on the line. A ticket to the second Major means a potential path to the NA Regional Championship.
In an event that featured big-time organizations and even bigger plays, the first Major taught us a lot about what the Wild Rift esports scene in NA looks like, and which teams are at the top. Here are the lessons we learned from the Wild Rift Summoner Series first Major.
Tribe Gaming are the best team in NA
One of the first teams to enter the Wild Rift esports scene, Tribe Gaming, quickly rose to the top and haven’t left yet. Back in the first open qualifier, Tribe Gaming played 16 games en route to their first-place finish. They didn’t lose a single one. Heading into the first major, Tribe Gaming were undefeated in the Summoner Series. After a pair of quick 2-0 sweeps to extend Tribe Gaming’s undefeated streak to 20-0, they were finally tested in the Winners Finals of the first Major. NME showed that Tribe Gaming can bleed.
In Game one of Winners Finals, NME took the victory. In Game two, it seemed like NME had a good chance to secure the 2-0 upset, before an Elder Dragon gave Tribe the upper hand and eventually the win. Game three saw Tribe take a lead and run with it as they pulled off the reverse sweep and moved onto the Grand Finals. Awaiting them were NME once again.
The Grand Finals started off exactly the same way the Winner Finals did. NME took game one but Tribe came roaring back with wins in Games two and three. However, the Grand Finals were a best of five, so NME had the chance to make a comeback of their own. After a convincing Game four win, NME pushed Tribe to the brink in Game five. But just like the deciding game in the Winners Finals, Tribe took an early lead and ran with it, closing out the series and taking the crown as the first Major champions.
For the first time in the Summoner Series, Tribe Gaming was battle-tested and they passed the test with flying colors. They might not be undefeated within games anymore, but the best team in the region are still yet to lose a match.
Cloud9 are a real threat
In a surprise to many, Cloud9 showed they had a Wild Rift team when they appeared at the first open qualifier for the first Summoner Series circuit. A roster that consisted of players like Julian “Tarzaned” Farokhian and Donovan “Zelo” Man was immediately given huge expectations. But after a loss in their Major qualifying top eight match to 30k (who are now Sentinels), they let their fans down. Quietly, Cloud9 entered the second open qualifier and won it, giving them a spot at the first major as the fifth seed.
In the double-elimination eight-team bracket for the first Major, their opponents in the first round were the fourth-seeded Sentinels, a rematch of the first open qualifier. In a twist of fate, Cloud9 quickly dispatched the Sentinels squad in a 2-0 fashion. But in the Winners Semi-Finals, Cloud9 dropped to the eventual champions, Tribe Gaming.
Now facing a losers run, Cloud9 dealt with YMCA in a close three-game series to get them into the losers Semi-Finals and with it, a ticket to the next Major. In the losers Semi-Finals, the resilient Cloud9 squad took down Immortals in another close three-game set, to put them into the Losers-Finals against NME. Cloud9 played in their third straight series that went to Game three. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what Cloud9 wanted. After a late-game choke, Cloud9 gifted the game away as they bowed out in third place.
Cloud9 outperformed their fifth-seeded expectations and met their original ones. Going forward, this Cloud9 squad may be a threat in NA Regionals.
Immortals shine in debut, Sentinels not so much
Out of the eight teams to qualify for the first Major of the Wild Rift: Summoner Series, two of them got a brand new look. Team Goons and 30k qualified for the Major based on their performances in the first open qualifier event, and since then have been picked up by bigger organizations. Sentinels have just announced their signing of the 30k Squad, while Immortals announced their entry into the Wild Rift space by picking up Team Goons. And as fate would have it, both of the esports titans would end up playing for more than bragging rights.
The double-elimination Major not only determined who the best team in the region currently is, but the top four qualified for the second Major of the circuit. In the Losers Quarter-Finals match, Immortals went up against Sentinels. The winner would place at worst fourth, which would get them into the next big event. But these two teams have met before.
In the first open qualifier, 30k went up against Team Goons in the Semi-Finals. That matchup went in favor of Team Goons. In a repeat of the first open qualifier, the now-Immortals squad made it back-to-back wins against Sentinels as they qualified for the second Major. Sentinels went home in fifth place.
In the Losers Semi-Finals match, Immortals took Cloud9 to Game three before bowing out in fourth place. Although Immortals were the second seed heading into the event, a fourth-place finish gets them into the next Major, which at this point is all that matters.