The Oceanic Pro League has just tipped over the first round-robin of the split, and teams are starting to settle into their placings.
With the team match of the split now behind us and the undefeated team being revealed, it’s time for teams to step up if they want to have a chance at earning a spot in the playoffs.
Harry Taylor, Alex Leckie-Zaharic and I break down their chosen featured matches this week, starting with Avant Gaming taking on the Chiefs at 4pm AEDT.
Emma’s Feature Match: Gravitas (2–6) vs Mammoth (0–8)
Prediction: Gravitas defeat Mammoth
The bottom two spots in the ladder are taken up by this the teams facing in this match—Gravitas and Mammoth. Both teams are looking shaky coming into Week 5, and after a full round, the latter have yet to find a win. Both teams are coming into this week off of an 0–2 week.
This week is an interesting game, with both teams not wanting to be in the final position. Each team has strengths and weaknesses, but if Gravitas play Nathan “Puma” Puma, they have the stronger bottom lane and will take out the win.
Both teams have forms of instability in their rosters. The bottom lane of Mammoth features Gian “Styled” Leon and Cameron “Nausicaa” Maine. The duo have experience in the Challenger Series, but the step up to the Oceanic Pro League has been challenging for them.
With the importance of getting early dragons to work towards the Dragon Soul, they’ve been successful in getting this objective. The dragon however is traded usually for a Rift Herald, which allows the opponent to claim early gold and gain advantage.
On Gravitas, the instability lies within their roster—with a roster of eight players, it’s hard for the team to build synergy, and especially so without the gaming house.
The instability is in a similar flaw to Mammoth, with the bottom lane being the weakest. With the focus being on objectives, and Rift Herald to get tower plates, it’s important to make early plays to get the gold advantage and scale into the game.
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This match is one to watch, with the battle of the bottom lanes to determine the winner. With Puma being one of the strongest players between the two rosters, he will lead Gravitas to victory alongside captain Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes.
Harry’s Feature Match: Avant Gaming (3–5) vs Pentanet.GG (3–5)
Prediction: Pentanet defeat Avant Gaming
Avant Gaming and Pentanet.GG will come face to face on Saturday evening in what has the potential to be a critical match in the playoff race.
Coming into Week 5 sharing possession of fifth place, this game has a real potential to be critical in both breaking the tie between these two teams and acting as a jumpstart for the chase for a playoff spot.
This match can easily go either way, although Pentanet is slightly more favoured and my pick to win, although arguments can be made either way. The newest OPL team should squeak this out and put a real catalyst into their campaign towards April and the postseason.
In the early game, Pentanet will likely have the advantage with the stronger two-vs-two clash in top/jungle and the bot lane. Mark “Praedyth” Lewis and especially Jake “Rogue” Sharwood will want to put the pressure on their opponents early and try to gain dominance.
Yao “Api” Jian Jing and either of his bot laners—Vincent “Gunkrab” Lin and Vincent “Violet” Wong—will want to match that incoming pressure, but with the recent swapping around of the Avant bot lane, the team’s lower-map cohesiveness has been brought into question. The ability to go to the limits—based around trust, and understanding—just might not be there.
Both teams do have a consistency issue, especially around the jungle. Both Pentanet’s Paris “Souli” Sitzoukis and Avant’s Thomas “LeeSA” Ma have submitted a mixed bag of performances and whether they will turn up on the Rift or not is a question that needs to be asked. If only one of these players turns up probably on Saturday, their team will gain advantage.
Alex’s Feature Match: Order (4–4) vs Legacy Esports (7–1)
Prediction: Legacy defeat Order
As we move into the second round robin of OPL 2020 Split 1, we’ve got a clear view on who’s at the top and who’s at the bottom of the ladder.
In the middle however, are Order, who despite being pegged one of the more likely teams to take the whole competition, now sit just inside the Gauntlet cutoff in fourth.
Having only dropped a single game to the Chiefs, Legacy beat out Order in Week 1 in a messy game but proceeded to tidy up their game and firmly establish themselves as one of the two teams to beat this tournament.
Both teams are similar in that they’ve pretty much beaten every team below them on the ladder and lost to everyone above them—with the exception of Pentanet.GG picking up the surprise victory over Order.
This week the bottom lane will be the most important, as the two ADC veterans Ronan “rare7” Swingler and Quin “Raes” Korebrits do battle once more.
In their last match, some errors in tactical decision making from rare7 was a contributing factor to their loss after Legacy capitalised on their mistakes.
For rare7 to gain the ascendancy in this matchup, coach Jake “Spawn” Tiberi could easily give him counter-pick to ensure he can carry his team to a victory.
Legacy has looked a tier above the rest of the competition, so if Order can pull it all together as the business end of the split crests the horizon, it would be a huge boost to their season.
They’ve been usurped by the Dire Wolves for third, and so taking down the second-best team in the league in convincing fashion makes a statement going forward.
- Read more: Pabu’s Top Plays: OPL 2020 Split 1, Week 3
It shouldn’t happen though. Legacy have shown remarkable cohesion this split, and with the mechanical skill of their players, they are clear favourites to take the win. They’ve knocked down Order once this split and all signs point to another victory.
However, Legacy should be looking to emphatically stomp Order this weekend and do their part to put some more distance between the two best teams in the league and the other six.
A strong victory makes this even more of a two-horse race, and the less teams Legacy have to worry about, the happier they’ll be.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.