The Oceanic Pro League train is an express ride to hype city. There are only three weeks remaining — including this one — and the excitement has not slowed down at all.
With only a handful of games remaining, it’s as good a time as ever for teams to prove to the league that they have what it takes to make it to the playoffs. There’s been undefeated teams being defeated, as well as teams triumphing in seemingly dire circumstances.
There’s at least something to be certain of in times like these, and that’s the uncertainty of who beats who in these matchups. Especially after defeating a high placed team but being defeated by a lower-placed team — I’m looking at you, Legacy Esports.
Emma van der Brug, Harry Taylor, and Alex Leckie-Zaharic are here to talk about the biggest matches of the week, with playoff positioning on the line as Avant Gaming take on Legacy Esports on Friday at 4pm AEDT.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Pentanet.GG (6–7) vs The Chiefs (11–2)
Prediction: The Chiefs defeat Pentanet
Last weekend only saw one of the two matches played. Pentanet.GG and The Chiefs both faced off against Legacy last Friday. After their huge win against Legacy last week, Pentanet will be feeling confident, especially knowing they triumphed where the Chiefs couldn’t.
That confidence will be key, especially against a Chiefs side who can snowball any small lead into a win. Mark “Praedyth” Lewis had a fantastic match against Legacy, with a 7/1/4 score on Miss Fortune. Alongside Jake “Rogue” Sharwood, the bot lane was unstoppable.
The Chiefs’ bot lane of Robert “Katsurii” Gouv and Kang “KoreaCK” Cheol-gyu didn’t fare as well against Legacy, with a 2/9/6 score between them. The Chiefs will be reviewing that game to see where it all went wrong and ensure they are ready to take the win this week.
Although they had a rough loss against Legacy, the Chiefs will bounce back and take this win against Pentanet. They have had their only two losses of the split in the last two weeks, but as playoffs approach, it’s time for them to truly show the rest of the competition what it takes to have remained undefeated for five and a half weeks.
The key for the victory lies in the jungle of the Chiefs roster. Park “Croc” Jong-hoon has been a dominant force and has been named in three Snowball Team of the Weeks.
His dominant style on punishing junglers makes him a terrifying opponent to face. He has a 100% win rate on three champions — Elise (four games), Olaf (two) and Nidalee (one game).
This match is the time for Pentanet to step up if they want a shot at taking the OPL crown, as the Chiefs are more than likely going to be standing in their way right up until the end — if they want to show what they have, now is the time.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Gravitas (3–10) vs Mammoth (2–10)
Prediction: Mammoth defeat Gravitas
After a week of uncertainty in our world, this Saturday night blockbuster will attempt to answer at least one uncertainty: who is destined to be at the bottom of the league.
Gravitas and Mammoth will join the server this week with the wooden spoon all but given out to the loser of this contest.
Whilst both teams will want to do everything in their power to win this game to avoid being set up for the dreaded eighth-place, I think this week’s disruptions will limit any practice and raw skill and synergy will become a key factor. For this reason as well as their previous win I see Mammoth as the favourite.
Last week only saw one of Gravita’s games and none of Mammoths game played, with Gravitas falling to Avant in a relatively tight contest that saw Avant break a 5 game slide. Gravitas’s game against the Chiefs and Mammoth’s contest against Pentanet.GG and Order are due to be played in the upcoming weeks.
With the delay in games last Saturday we also saw a delay in a new debut for the Mammoth lineup. Support Andy “Emelg” Chen has stepped away from the team after his brief cameo to resume University classes.
Hone “Artek” Collier has stepped into the role, becoming the fourth player in the starting lineup who was part of the 2019 Emprox Oceanic Challenger Series roster. This move reunites a bot lane who had promising success in the OCS, having a 7–4 regular season before a 3-4th place finish in the playoffs.
This move should continue to capture the team synergy and levels of Macro that 2019 Emprox had and will hopefully translate into more gelling and comfort for the team on the rift.
Questions around the Gravitas lineup still continue to get asked with the smörgåsbord of players on their roster and their continued willingness to tweak the roster, it will be interesting to see who will be playing this week.
As long as there aren’t many changes to the formula seen in the last fortnight, Gravitas more than have the ability to put up a fight, but until gameday, it won’t be known who is going to be stepping up to bat this week.
Alex’s Feature Match of the Week: Legacy Esports (11–3) vs Order (6–6)
Prediction: Legacy defeat Order
Now less than a month away from the conclusion of the regular season, both Legacy and Order are looking to step up as playoffs loom.
While already down both games against Legacy, Order can really announce their Gauntlet intentions with a strong win on Saturday. Legacy will look to put more distance between the top three and the rest of the pack in order to focus on the Chiefs and the Dire Wolves.
Legacy is flying high after avenging their defeat to the Chiefs earlier in the split, closing out a stellar game to tie the four-time OPL champions on wins at eleven apiece.
A 2-0 sweep against Avant and Order would lock them into the top three, with the final game of the split against the Chiefs likely to be the decider for first place.
Their formula for victory is simple. Play their game. Legacy looks the best when they get to dictate the course of the game, and traditionally have struggled when the laning phase doesn’t go their way.
Last week’s tank-heavy composition eliminated much of that difficulty, and something similar will be the recipe for success this week.
Order wasn’t able to play either of their games last week due to safety concerns, and a battle against one of the league’s top two teams isn’t really the best way to ease into the new online format. Luckily enough, a game against the struggling Gravitas could be the launch pad they need to build momentum from in order to challenge Legacy.
For Order to take the win, a massive step up will be required. In their favour is that Legacy has dropped games to both Pentanet.GG and Gravitas, teams Order have beaten, and soundly.
Last time Snowball covered this matchup, a particular emphasis was placed on Ronan “rare7” Swingler being put on a carry. That still holds true, but Harry “Haeri” Kang may be able to have more of an impact against James “Tally” Shute following his substitution into the side.
If Legacy repeats the plan they executed against the Chiefs by placing their solo laners on tanks, a return to the Azir he played in the last Legacy game might be another carry Order sorely need.
It’s going to be a tough battle if Order can really take it to another level, however, Legacy just look too good at the stage of the competition for Order to be taking the win.
Legacy look poised to sweep this week and move to 13–3 with only a few weeks left to play, and are one of the favourites to take the title.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.