It’s a rivalry as old as the esport itself. Historically, in League of Legends, EU has in fact been “greater than” NA, let’s not kid ourselves about that. The two regions’ international representatives have hit different highs, and in head-to-head matchups across the board, things have come up much rosier for those east of the Atlantic.
And until very recently, North America hardly had a positive chapter to contribute to the rivalry (unless you count Rift Rivals, which no one really does).
Taking a trip down memory lane, here’s every international best-of series at major tournaments between North American and European teams in the history of League.
2022 World Championship
Evil Geniuses 3-0 MAD Lions (Play-In qualification round)
Evil Geniuses had had a historic year in 2022, both good and bad. On the good side, North American talent was winning out. In a year with a surprising Spring Split title, 17-year-old Canadian rookie mid lane sensation jojopyun was hitting every high expectation set before him, American then-AD carry Danny was thriving in his second year, functioning as the team’s main win condition, and Montreal’s finest, Vulcan, picked up right where he left off after departing Cloud9.
On the bad side of things, at MSI 2022, EG lost all six games they played to then-LEC champions G2 Esports, and dropped their contest to Fnatic in Play-Ins at Worlds to leave the record against EU in 2022 at 0-7 coming into the year.
Three days after jojopyun’s 18th birthday, EG came into the series against Europe’s fourth seed as underdogs. Every member of the roster stepped up, especially substitute AD carry Kaori, to stun LEC MVP Nisqy and his three First Team All-Pro teammates, jungler Elyoya, AD carry UNF0RGIVEN, and support Kaiser. MAD again didn’t make it out of Play-Ins for the second time in three years, still holding the unfortunate mantle of being the only major region team in history to do so.
With their three wins over MAD Lions in this series, North American teams doubled their win total in international best-of series over Europe.
2019 Mid-Season Invitational
G2 Esports 3-0 Team Liquid (Final)
Still the fastest international best-of-five in League history, G2 Esports bringing home Europe’s second-ever international title at the expense of Team Liquid constituted 70 minutes and 39 seconds that would forever live in infamy in the hearts of North American fans, and as something to eternally hang over the heads of their transatlantic rivals for European fans.
What made it even worse for fans of Liquid was the way that the hype coming off an unprecedented, 3-1 upset win over reigning world champs Invictus Gaming in the semifinals came crashing down in truly epic fashion. Seven months after doing the same thing with his Fnatic squad at Worlds, mid laner Caps had swept an NA squad. Speaking of which…
2018 World Championship
Fnatic 3-0 Cloud9 (Semifinal)
Five years sat between one of 2018’s Worlds semifinals and the prior time North America and Europe had met in an international best-of series back in 2013, and for the first time ever it was in best-of-five fashion. However, the same amount of games would be played as Fnatic slammed the door in the faces of Cloud9’s world final hopes to the tune of a sweep. Cloud9 had just swept the LCK’s Afreeca Freecs and were riding high before running into one of two European world semifinalists that year.
Fnatic, however, was on a collision course with destiny. They topped their group with eventual world champions Invictus Gaming, and disposed of the LPL’s EDward Gaming in four-game fashion. After sweeping Cloud9, they became the first non-Eastern region team to make a world final since… well… Fnatic back in 2011.
2013 World Championship
Fnatic 2-1 Cloud9 (Quarterfinal)
This Cloud9 roster was supposed to be a world-beater. Seeded directly into Worlds quarterfinals(!) for their performance at All-Star Shanghai earlier in the year, LCS champions Balls, Meteos, Hai, Sneaky, and LemonNation, better known as “old C9,” had just gotten done speedrunning their region to the tune of a 25-3 record in their first few months as a unit.
Fnatic, on the other hand, had to enter the knockout stage the hard way. After dropping one game to the LCS’s Team Vulcun, sOAZ, Cyanide, xPeke, Puszu, and YellOwStaR won seven in a row to top their group, beat Cloud9, and lost in four games in the semifinals to Royal Club and a 16-year-old rookie AD carry named Uzi.
2011 World Championship
against All authority 2-0 TSM (Losers’ bracket finals)
The only North American roster at this tournament that had anyone that could be considered an “import” (in quotes because the term and its corresponding rule didn’t exist until a few years later) in Chinese-born AD carry Chaox, TSM finished a respectable third place at the first-ever World Championship.
It is still tied for NA’s highest-ever Worlds finish (see: 2018 Cloud9).
against All authority 2-1 TSM (Winners’ bracket semifinals)
In the match that set up the above rematch in the losers’ bracket, back in an age when double elimination existed at Worlds, European squad against All authority, led by sOAZ in the top lane and AD carry YellOwStaR in the bottom lane, would go on to lose an all-EU world final to Fnatic, 2-1.
Fnatic 2-0 Epik Gamer (Winners’ bracket semifinals)
Yes, Doublelift’s Epik Gamer. Before the superstar AD carry cemented his legacy on Counter Logic Gaming, TSM, and Team Liquid, Doublelift finished in fourth place at the Season One World Championship as a support player, with Dyrus as his lane partner. Westrice, Dan Dinh, and Salce rounded out the roster that was swept by eventual champions Fnatic, whose roster was comprised of xPeke and wewillfailer in the top lane, CyaniceFI in the jungle, eventual Finals MVP mid laner Shushei, AD carry LamiaZealot, and support Mellisan.
Fnatic 2-1 Counter Logic Gaming (Round 1)
Hey, no shame in losing to the first-ever world champions, right? CLG did beat Europe’s Team gamed!de in a one-game fifth-place decider, but HotshotGG, Saintvicious, Bigfatlp, Chauster, and Elementz couldn’t muster enough to take down then-top-laner xPeke and Fnatic.
Of course, for any Rift Rivals truthers out there, sweet victory for North America came in 2017 when a legendary TSM squad of Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Bjergsen, Doublelift, and Biofrost swept Spring MVP Vizicsacsi’s Unicorns of Love.
But don’t expect many to consider the now-defunct tournament a legitimate League series win on the international stage.
And before you ask, no: All-Stars holds even less weight.