After three majors and a Last Chance Qualifier, eight of the best Wild Rift teams in North America came together this past weekend for North America’s regional championship -- the Summoner Series Finals. The glory of being North America’s champion and a sweet $70,000 prize pot were on the line, but more importantly, the victor would be flying to Singapore in November for the 2021 Horizon Cup -- Wild Rift’s first international tournament.
Day 1: Tribe Gaming NA continue domination, Immortals upset NME
Tribe NA are without a doubt the team to beat in North America. Not only did Tribe NA win both the first and second Summoner Series majors, they haven’t lost a tournament since June 28. On Day 1 of the event, Tribe NA easily handled du du du du du 2-0 in the quarterfinals with a standout performance from mid laner Joshrick “Starting” Ainsley Narag. Even against a surging Cloud9, led by popular League of Legends jungler Julian “Tarzaned” Farokhian, Tribe NA continued their domination with another 2-0 series win, propelling them to the winner’s finals.
Immortals have often been considered the third or fourth best team in North America, giving way to teams like Tribe NA and NME. Prior to the event, Immortals actually won the third Summoner Series major, but neither Tribe NA nor NME were present, making the value of the win questionable in terms of the entire North American scene.
Despite that, Immortals were unshakeable in an easy 2-0 win against Grilled Cheese and turned up the heat in a 2-1 reverse sweep against NME to advance to the winner’s finals match against Tribe NA. Immortals struggled in the laning phase, but mid laner Jang “Hoon” Du-hoon stepped up in teamfights on both Orianna and Ahri to complete the upset against NME and set the team up with a match against Tribe NA in the winner’s finals.
At the end of the day, though, Tribe NA and Immortals came face-to-face with the former coming out on top in dominating fashion. Immortals Baron laner Hamza “IraqiZorro” Najim struggled to match Raul “Chuck” Montano Chaidez and teamfights were often one-sided in Tribe NA’s 3-0 victory. Immortals may have earned the chance to contend for second best, but Tribe NA did not allow them to challenge for first.
Day 2: Last Chance qualifier teams play spoiler, NME remain lower bracket favorite
Last Chance Qualifiers don’t often produce championship winning teams, but that doesn’t mean the teams have any less fight. Du du du du du and Chonc Chortle both defeated larger sponsored teams, Sentinels and Cloud9 in the lower bracket of the event, with 2-0 scores to boot. Du du du du du jungler California in particular was clutch against Sentinels, turning numerous fights on both Jarvan IV and Jax. Neither team made a deep run in the tournament, eventually falling to NME, but it was a good showing for teams hoping to challenge the upper echelon of Wild Rift esports.
In the lower bracket, NME stood strong and defeated both Du du du du du and Chonc Chortle in mostly decisive fashion. NME’s early game was bumpy against Chonc Chortle in their first match, but after mid laner Truth carried them to victory on Corki, it was smooth sailing. NME might have been upset by Immortals on Day 1 of the competition, but they showed that they weren’t about to miss a chance for a rematch in the loser’s finals on the final day of the event.
Immortals sent NME to the loser’s bracket, but after losing to Tribe NA, it was clear that the teams were destined for a rematch in the loser’s finals. NME battled through the lower bracket with relative ease and were hungry to prove that despite Immortals’ win, they were still the second-best team in North America. As fate would have it, the two teams battled to the very end, with the series going five games in favor of Immortals.
During the series, NME largely relied on Baron laner Hammad “Aluy” Amjad Arain securing significant leads against IraqiZorro, but at the end of the day, it was Immortals’ bot lane of Gichan “Gume” Won and Ethan “Charm” Lin that made the bigger difference. While Hoon was often the main carry for Immortals during the tournament, Gume’s standout performances made the team more dynamic against NME and eventually, their rematch with Tribe NA in the grand finals.
Immortals may have defeated NME twice this tournament, but Tribe NA were prepared to do the same against them. Tribe NA made it to the grand finals without dropping a single game while Immortals scrapped with NME all the way through. As much as Immortals improved to challenge the top of the North American scene, Tribe NA proved that they were in a class of their own over the course of six games.
Tribe NA opened the series with strong decisive performances to take a quick 2-0 lead, grabbing strong early game leads on the back of strong synergy between jungler Ryan “ttigers” Han and Starting. IraqiZorro pulled out the Malphite to change up the draft in Games 3 and 4, taking back a key win for Immortals in the latter, but Tribe NA struck back twice as hard in Game 5 with the explosive power of Starting’s Ziggs to win the series 4-1 and punch their ticket to the Horizon Cup as North America’s first-ever international representative.
North America has faced a lot of criticism early on in Wild Rift, likely due to North America’s weak performances in League of Legends, but Tribe NA will be carrying the region in a whole new game. After a dominant domestic run, there isn’t anything more exciting than challenging the world in Singapore next month.
Lead photo credit: Tribe Gaming