This week in the Oceanic Pro League, we see the final games of the first round give way to a raft of interesting rematches in Split 2.
One round into the season, we are beginning to see defined places on the ladder forming. The race for the first-seed, and an automatic ticket to the Melbourne Esports Open, is being contested by Avant Gaming, Mammoth, and the Chiefs, while former champions the Dire Wolves and the Bombers are both in the hunt for gauntlet positions.
Our prediction analysts Emma “ammeplays” Van Ber Brug, Bernadette “Nadette” Wong, and Harry “hispanicatd” Taylor break down the biggest battles and fixtures of the week, and cast a keen eye over what it may mean as the Pro League barrels towards it’s mid-season break.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Avant Gaming vs Gravitas
Coming into Week 4 with a hot four-game win streak, Avant are looking to continue their top form against Gravitas this weekend.
Gravitas are currently sitting in sixth-place, and as always are looking to improve their standing. Heading into this week, it’ll be a tough matchup for the Gravitas squad, but they’ll be chasing the glory of taking down first-placed Avant and sowing discord atop the standings.
Week 3 proved again that there is no clear hierarchy in the Pro League. Avant took down Mammoth and Dire Wolves, while Gravitas fell to the Bombers in Friday’s match, before managing to take down Legacy on Saturday. Gravitas have been showing a huge amount of resilience, coming into each week fresh and ready to take down their opponents, and it’s something that Avant will need to be wary of during their match on Saturday.
After a dominant performance by the Gravitas squad against Legacy, with Harry ‘Haeri’ Kang ‘popping off’ on Azir with a deathless 7-0-5 performance, their match against Avant could easily turn in their favour. However, I think that even with the momentum that Gravitas have picked up, this matchup will fall in Avants favour.
Avant are the most-consistent performers so far this split, and after defeating top-ranked team Mammoth, they’re now sitting on a comfortable equal first with them. With Avant’s solid laning phase and the ability to translate this into wins, it will be interesting to see how Gravitas will try to dethrone the leaders.
Avant’s current hot streak of four wins this early in the split is impressive, and it’ll be their week to prove they have worked hard and earned their place. Avant have got the experience and drive to take this victory, but it’s all the better for Gravitas to try and snatch that away. I think even with the drive to climb the ladder, this match will eventually fall into Avant’s favour.
Nadette’s Feature Match of the Week: Chiefs Esports Club vs Mammoth
Teams across the board have started to solidify themselves in the standings as Week 4 approaches, with results now a more accurate representation of where the teams are in the league. This weekend sees the now-defined top of the pack clash as the Chiefs and Mammoth meet for the second time. Mammoth currently hold the one-game head-to-head advantage, but if the Chiefs carry their week three momentum into this weekend, they’ll be able to take the win against the rank one team with ease.
Last weekend, Mammoth broke their winning streak with a devastating loss against tied-first Avant Gaming. The Chiefs look stronger than ever after a successful 2-0 weekend and have begun climbing their way back up the standings after a difficult start to the split.
The confidence of the Chiefs last weekend leaves them in a stronger mental position than Mammoth, who saw their undefeated split to put an end with a crushing defeat. The loss is sure to put a damper on their morale, especially since they had a solid victory only one day prior.
In terms of matchup, I believe that Quin “Raes” Korebrits and Bill “Eyla” Nguyen will dominate the bot lane, potentially carrying the game if they continue to display the same confidence they did last weekend. With the gap between the top teams in the pack continuing to narrow with each week, I believe that this is the chance for the Chiefs to close it.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Bombers vs Order
As we roll into the second round robin for Split 2, we once again get the grand final rematch between the Bombers and Order, but in a set of circumstances we didn’t expect all to see at the start of the split.
Bombers have found themselves struggling to string together a 2-0 weekend, whilst Order have slipped to the bottom of the Pro League with a five-loss slide coming in to Week 4.
Both teams have struggled to find consistency on the Rift, with the Bombers still trying to get up to speed with their new-look roster and take flight after the mid-season changes saw some of their championship-winning stars depart Australia, while Order are simply lost at sea after a strong end to the split last time around.
Week 3 saw the Bombers score a victory over Gravitas on Friday in a relatively effortless win, before the Dire Wolves punted them to a 1-1 finish off the back of a breakout performance from Robert “Katsurii” Gouv. Order fell to Mammoth on Friday, and the Chiefs on Saturday, where they were able to get leads in both clashes before seeing them slip away.
Both teams will be desperate to pick up this win to put their season back on track heading into the Rift Rivals-centric bye weekend. I ultimately see Bombers picking up the win on their way to potentially their first 2-0 weekend of the split, despite Order winning the reverse fixture in the first round. Bombers will overcome their inconsistency to take the win.