Following the clash between EU and NA at Rift Rivals Blue, the spotlight moves to Asia, where Rift Rivals LCK-LPL-LMS-VCS, also known as Rift Rivals Red, is set to begin on July 4.
The 2019 instalment of Rift Rivals Red will be the first to feature four League of Legends esports regions instead of the usual three. Joining the LCK, LPL and LMS will be the Vietnamese region (VCS) with EVOS Esports and Dashing Buffalo flying the flag for their nation.
To avoid mass changes to the format, the LMS and VCS teams will join forces and face off against the standalone LCK and LPL regions. That means both LCK and LPL will enter the tournament with four teams, while LMS and VCS will both have only their best two sides.
The teams that qualified as the best few in their regions are as follows:
LCK: SK Telecom T1, Griffin, Kingzone DragonX, DAMWON Gaming
LPL: Invictus Gaming, JD Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix, Top Esports
LMS-VCS: Flash Wolves, MAD Team, EVOS Esports, Dashing Buffalo (formerly known as Phong Vũ Buffalo)
The event will be divided into a group stage and a bracket stage. In the group stage, teams will play against all other teams with the same seeding (e.g. the second-ranked team from LCK will face the second-ranked team from LPL). All of the matches will be Bo1, with the winning region earning a direct pass into the finals.
The remaining two regions will enter the semi-finals, where they will compete in a Bo5 Blind Relay Race. In that part of the tournament, the regional coaches will get to choose which team represents their region for each game. No team will be allowed to play more than once, unless the series goes to five games. The winner will advance to the finals series, which will use the same format.
LCK and LMS-VCS will hope they can dethrone LPL, who have won both of the last two Rift Rivals Red tournaments. While it won’t be an easy task to defeat JD Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix, Top Esports and the reigning world champions Invictus Gaming, the 2019 MSI has proven anything is possible and that even Invictus have an Achilles’ heel.