Winners and Losers — OPL Split 1 2020

Every year, each team ends their run and starts planning for what’s next.

For some, they take some time basking in previous successes before trying to keep the thirsty pack at bay, looking to keep as many players as possible. For others, it can be a time to reflect, reset, and rebuild.

The 2020 Oceanic Pro League off-season has been one of the most volatile in history, with some teams coming out of the grinder for the better, while others have had their tyres slashed. We’ve assessed every team heading into the first games on January 31 to see who came out on top of the off-season trade battle, and who will be falling off the back of the pack.


Avant Gaming

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Chippys
  • JNG – Miru
  • MID – Shok
  • ADC – Gunkrab
  • SUP – Aladoric
  • SUB – Sybol
  • SUB – Swathe
  • SUB – Dragku
  • SUB – Chenxuan
  • Coach – Rusty

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Dragku
  • JNG – LeeSa
  • MID – Chazz
  • ADC – Gunkrab
  • SUP – Api
  • SUB – Violet
  • Coach – TBA

Finishing sixth in Split 2 2019, Avant showed some promise, but at the end of the day fell away and failed to meet play-off ambitions. Looking to start anew, they’ve gone through a complete overhaul, like most OPL teams, ditching every member from their 2019 squad.

However, on paper, they lack the threat to challenge the top dogs come season’s end. Success for Avant this split would be making play-offs similar expectations to last year, but given some of the moves made at the top end of town, this might just be a pipedream.

As a whole Avant hasn’t come out worse compared to last year, but they haven’t improved either, sitting on a pass mark as a result.


The Chiefs Esports Club

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Swip3rR
  • JNG – Only
  • MID – Claire
  • ADC – Raes
  • SUP – Eyla
  • SUB – Cupcake
  • SUB – Thien
  • Coach – Volt

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Thien
  • JNG – TBA
  • MID – Claire
  • ADC – Katsurii
  • SUP – KoreaCK
  • Coach – SeeEl

Finishing the regular season last split on top and falling on the final day is always a bitter pill to swallow and can always make regrouping for the following year a challenge. It can be difficult to pinpoint and understand why you fell short on the day, and it’s hard to decide what roster moves, if any, you should make.

Throw in what has been one of the most chaotic off-seasons due to talent moving overseas, and the Chiefs have come out okay. They’ve retained a core of Romeo “Thien” Tran and Brandon “Claire” Nguyen which should be enough to keep Chiefs fans optimistic about the season ahead.

They did lose their talented bot lane from 2019, which isn’t ideal, but they’ve found some solid replacements. I’m not certain that the Chiefs’ chances have improved from last season, but I think they’ve got enough fire power behind them to challenge anyone on their day. If they run hot into play-offs, they’re a good shout for taking it all.


Dire Wolves

2019 Roster

  • TOP – BioPanther
  • JNG – Raise
  • MID – Getback
  • ADC – Katsurii
  • SUP – Totoro
  • SUB – UDYSOF
  • SUB – Siuman
  • SUB – Anderu
  • SUB – Corporal
  • Coach – Curtis

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Chippys
  • JNG – Miru
  • MID – Shok
  • ADC – Vital
  • SUP – Decoy
  • SUB – UDYSOF
  • Coach – Cupcake
  • Coach – Kai

The Dire Wolves had a 2019 to forget. For an organisation that has tasted so much success in years past, boisterously promoting their winning culture and “trust the process” attitude, it would have disappointed fans that the highlight of their year was being dumped out of the first round of play-offs in Split 2.

Unsurprisingly they’ve gone back to the drawing board, and what’s old is new with former MVP Ryan “Chippys” Short returning looking to lead the Wolves back to success. I think they’ve come out better this year and would be very disappointed if they didn’t make play-offs, however I wouldn’t be banking on a deep run.

Overall, the moves for the Dire Wolves are a step in the right direction. While it might not bring immediate success, if we can “trust the process” perhaps it’s a push in the right direction for long-term development.


Gravitas

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Pabu
  • JNG – Praelus
  • MID – Haeri
  • ADC – Raid
  • SUP – Decoy
  • SUB – Milky
  • SUB – GuaPi
  • SUB – Hotchelli
  • SUB – retribution
  • Coach – Juves
  • Coach – Vicarius

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Nobody
  • JNG – Praelus
  • MID – Beats
  • ADC – Puma
  • SUP – Kpop
  • SUB – Trashley
  • SUB – Bambi
  • Coach – OMO
  • Coach – Vicarius

Gravitas’ debut season in 2019 left a lot to be desired. They were a squad that had some flashy individuals, but in the end missed play-offs in both splits with lots of lessons learned along the way.

Coming in 2020, however, I can’t see this squad getting very far at all. They’ve managed to keep Jordan “Praelus”
Fernandes as a central figure which is a positive, however he lacks the cattle on the park around him to make 2020 a meaningful year for the squad.

My colleague Andrew Amos had branded this squad a “rebuild” and I’m inclined to agree. There might be some talent to nurture and bring in success for 2021, but it’s going to be a bumpy 2020 for the Gravitas Glory faithful.


Legacy Esports

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Papryze
  • JNG – Guts
  • MID – Chazz
  • ADC – Praedyth
  • SUP – Crayzee
  • SUB – Yuzuki
  • SUB – Api
  • Coach – Denian

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Topoon
  • JNG – Babip
  • MID – EMENES
  • ADC – Raes
  • SUP – Isles
  • Coach – Jensen
  • Coach – Denian

For such a storied organisation, one that has always been in the hunt for the championship, Legacy’s 2019 bucked the trend and was an absolute stinker. However, it may have paid dividends, allowing the organisation to push harder for 2020 as they come in hot favourites this split with a star-studded roster.

They stole Quin “Raes” Korebrits from their long-time rivals at the Chiefs. The heir to the jungle throne in Leo “Babip” Romer has returned. They’ve got two strong Korean talents in the solo lanes.

Moves like these have seen armchair analysts and Twitter pundits put Legacy at the top of their power rankings and it’s easy to see why.

For me though, it’s a bit simpler than that. If you’ve swapped Eldin “Guts” Skenderovic and Mark “Praedyth” Lewis for Babip and Raes, you’ve already won the off-season.


Mammoth

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Fudge
  • JNG – Babip
  • MID – Triple
  • ADC – k1ng
  • SUP – Destiny
  • SUB – Fudge
  • SUB – Cuden
  • Coach – Phantiks

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Kweku
  • JNG – Bas
  • MID – Lived
  • ADC – Styled
  • SUP – Nausicaa
  • Coach – TBA

It pains me to review this squad after 2019. They’d won Split 2, travelled to Worlds, won the hearts of the region, and the players were rewarded with almost the entire squad moving with great opportunities overseas.

It was always going to be a difficult off-season to navigate. However it looks like behind closed doors with the changes to Riot funding and key staff members such as Ahilleas leaving, Mammoth has taken a few unrecoverable whacks.

They’ve had a complete 180 this off-season and will be likely looming towards the tail-end of the standings which is a real tear jerker for fans with their #TUSKSUP. Much like the grade, I’ll be remembering this 2019 juggernaut with F’s in the OPL Twitch chat (when R9k allows it).


Order

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Tally
  • JNG – Spookz
  • MID – Swiffer
  • ADC – Dream
  • SUP – Jayke
  • SUB – Souli
  • Coach – ChuChuZ

2020 Roster

  • TOP – Swip3rR
  • JNG – Only
  • MID – Haeri
  • ADC – rare7
  • SUP – Eyla
  • Coach – Spawn

2020 marks the first real shake-up Order has had since entering the OPL. While I’m sure there have been lots of tears shed by the Order faithful with the old guard leaving, there should also be a sense of optimism entering this season.

With the overall field of the OPL dropping this year due to retirements and overseas opportunities, Order has still managed to maintain one of the scene’s most competitive rosters.

A change of scenery for Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland, who is always there abouts at the pointy end of the season, an exciting duo of Ronan Dream “rare7” Swingler and Bill “Eyla” Nguyen in the bottom lane, the talent is there and there’s a lot to like about this team. However it remains to be seen if all the pieces of the puzzle can fit together.


Pentanet.GG

2019 Roster

  • TOP – Mimic
  • JNG – Wilder
  • MID – Ryoma
  • ADC – Looch
  • SUP – Rogue
  • SUB – Zenk
  • SUB – Seb
  • Coach – Soulstrikes

2020 Roster

  • TOP – BioPanther
  • JNG – Souli
  • MID – Getback
  • ADC – Praedyth
  • SUP – Rogue
  • Coach – Westonway

Taking over from the Bombers, the team Pentanet has assembled is an absolute wildcard. They have some experienced and successful players at their disposal, which mixed in with hot up-and-comers makes this team an exciting prospect where the sky’s the limit.

However it is worth noting that while players like Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander and Jake “Rogue” Sharwood have tasted domestic success, they weren’t the defining pieces for their respective teams. The other three players also are really yet to leave their mark on the league, despite some initial promise.

The top five of this split is going to be very competitive and that’s where I see Pentanet sliding in. For a first dig, Pentanet’s done very well, however if we’re comparing them to the team they’ve replaced they have big shoes to fill. At the end of the day, they’ll likely be in the play-offs, it just remains to be seen how deep they run.


The Oceanic Pro League returns on January 31.

ProducerJosh Swift
Andrew Wray
One of Snowball's founders, Andrew "Wray Z" Wray is a sports fanatic. Formerly of Riot Games, Andrew has extensive experience when it comes to the OPL, but you'll find him across most games in Oceanic esports.

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