The Chiefs Esports Club are currently seated just beneath the Bombers as second seed, and only need to play in two series to take the title for the split.
Led by head coach Tim “Volt” Clay, the experience of the Chiefs Split 1 2019 roster varies from top lane veteran Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland present from the team’s debut almost five years ago, to bot laner Quin “Raes” Korebrits who joined two years after, to rookie support Bill “Eyla” Nguyen, who played his first OPL match only ten weeks ago. Filling in the rest of the roster are former Legacy players, Jordan “Only” Middleton in jungle and mid lane superstar Brandon “Claire” Nguyen.
The Chiefs have been a part of the competitive League scene in Oceania since August 2014, founded by the roster of Team Immunity as Exodus Gaming before later rebranding to the Chiefs. They’ve maintained consistency to achieve massive domestic success since their debut, placing fourth or above in every OPL split to date, even spawning a winning OCS team in Chiefs Academy. In more casual domestic competition, all members – with the exclusion of Eyla – were selected to participate in League of Origin 2018.
Over the years, they’ve placed in every split to date and represented Oceania at numerous international events. This includes International Wild Card tournaments and their first place at Rift Rivals 2018 SEA-LJL-OPL alongside Legacy and the Dire Wolves. Despite this success, they’ve never represented OCE at Worlds, missing it on numerous occasions by nothing more than a hair. With their current roster, they’re looking to write new history.
This split, the Chiefs have displayed extreme dominance despite the numerous fresh faces in their roster. They’ve come together with ease, with outstanding performances from the top to the bottom of Summoner’s Rift.
Since the beginning of the split, they’ve only taken three losses altogether – one against Order, Mammoth, and the Bombers. They placed second in the regular split behind the Bombers, finishing the season off with a win streak spanning from week seven to now. On that note, they’ve been the only team to successfully take down the Bombers, giving the first-placed team their lone two losses as well as a 2-1 head-to-head lead.
During last year’s OPL season, they fell in both splits to the Dire Wolves in two agonising second-place finishes. However, with third time being a charm, they will be aiming to dethrone the Bombers next weekend, and stake their claim at the top once again.
Tonight, the Chiefs will start their Split 1 gauntlet run against Order for the final spot in the grand final. The boys from Melbourne have ran the gauntlet with victories over Mammoth and Avant, with the boys in blue stand their final challenge before the Bombers.
The Chiefs hold a 2-1 head-to-head record over Order, but this won’t stop them from giving this series their all. “While I think us and Bombers are the best teams, we aren’t underestimating Order.” Swip3rR said in regards to the run ahead.
“Our regular season results speak for themselves, but the gauntlet is a whole different environment, and our opponent will be coming in with momentum,” – Coach Tim ‘Volt’ Clay.
“They’ve shown they can be a championship team [during the past few days], and in gauntlet, anything can happen.”
“We will have the preparation edge though, so I would say we’re confident but not complacent coming into the series.” said coach Volt.
The gauntlet isn’t like the regular season sprint too – it’s an arduous best-of-five where endurance is key. “Mentally, the [best-of-five] format is a lot more exhausting on game day, so we spent the week ensuring that we’re adjusting to playing long sets of games in the evenings,”
“Mental strength and good fundamentals are incredibly important in Bo5, and I think our players have the edge over other teams in that regard.”
Player to Watch
For their matches, the player to keep an eye on is none other than Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland in the top lane.
The man known within the OPL as Big Swips has donned his blue jersey since the teams infancy, and has competed in numerous international events and domestic events outside of the OPL.
With one of the most consistent performances in the League, the veteran is dubbed the ‘rock in the top lane’ for a reason. His experience along with motivation will be key in leading his team to victory in his matchups.
“I’ve been fighting my demons since I was a champion in 2016 – I took winning for granted back then,
I will do everything in my power to not let that happen again.”
If the Chiefs take the match against Order they’ll be no more than a series away from the winning title for Split 1. With a positive win ratio from their previous run-ins, the boys have proven that they’re more than capable of flying higher than the Bombers.
Should the Chiefs defeat the Essendon squad, the first place title will mark their return to the throne of the OPL for the first time since four consecutive titles between 2015 and 2016, and Swip3rR believes that “getting that back will make all this hard work in the last 24 months worth it.
“All three games [against Bombers] this split were coin flips in my eyes and there was never a clearly better team. I expect the final to follow these games; it should be a good one should we win on Saturday. I love these types of series, and power up from them.”
The bot lane matchup should be the most interesting, with both Raes and Bombers AD carry Victor “FBI” Huang looking to not only establish themselves as the kings of bot lane, but as the region’s best player.
“Raes and FBI are both incredible players and should be in the top two in anyone’s MVP votes for this split,” said Volt.
“I think Raes has had the edge in our matches against the Bombers this split, and should we make the grand final, I believe that trend will continue.”
The Chiefs have been a staple in the OPL for years, and have undoubtedly succeeded this split already despite the large changes made to the roster. However, taking home the trophy will be the only result they’ll be satisfied with, and they are in with a good shot.
The Chiefs will match up against Order at 4pm AEDT today for the spot across from Bombers in the grand final on the RiotGamesOCE Twitch channel.