Our good takes are self-isolating here with me in Snowball HQ for 14 days, so I’m stepping in alongside Emma van der Brug and Harry Taylor to bring you the previews for Week 9 of the OPL.
This week promises to be a test of endurance, as we make up for missed games ahead of the Week 10 Super Week to take us into our new and exciting playoff format. As important as Week 10 is, with a big slate this round as well, teams cannot overlook any opponent.
The time for tough talk is over. It’s time for the sprint to the finish, so read on to see how our panel of experts sees the biggest matchups this week shaking out.
Emma van der Brug, Harry Taylor, and Reece Perry are here to talk about the biggest matches of the week, with playoff positioning on the line as Pentanet.GG take on Avant Gaming online from 4pm AEDT this Friday.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Pentanet.GG (6–9) vs Avant Gaming (5–11)
Prediction: Avant defeat Pentanet
Now that the OPL matches have moved online, the games and results are looking as crazy as ever. Both this week and next week will be absolutely critical for both Pentanet.GG and Avant Gaming, as they’re on the cusp of securing a playoff spot.
Pentanet are currently sitting in fifth place on their 6-9 record, whilst Avant are in sixth on 5-11. On the other side of the matchup, Avant secured an upset against The Chiefs, knocking them into second place behind Legacy.
It’s imperative if either of these two teams want to claim a spot in the playoffs, they are playing their best. There’s only three wins between fourth and seventh, creating enormous pressure for these teams to perform and earn every win they can as a safety net.
Pentanet are coming into this week off an 0-2 record, however they played against the second and third placed team, while Avant are coming in with a 1-1 record and a shock upset against The Chiefs.
With the momentum of that win, Avant has found their rhythm going into the final two weeks. With some polish they will be looking impressive and can earn their spot in the playoffs.
Thomas “LeeSA” Ma on Jarvan IV had a superb performance, ending the match participating in 25 of 27 team kills. He assisted Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney, taking first blood on Brandon “Claire” Nguyen only two minutes into the game.
He then racked up another kill and assist before four minutes, after challenging Park “Croc” Jong-hoon for the rift scuttler. If the Avant squad can replicate the impactful early game, they will set themselves up to take this game this weekend and continue earning a playoff spot.
Pentanet also faced the Chiefs, but didn’t find the success that Avant did.
They had their first 2-0 of the split the weekend before, but were unable to replicate the success in last weekend’s matches as they faced off against two of the top three teams.
The transition to online games looked to be a pain point, with their previous games against those opponents being a lot shorter last weekend.
Both teams have a similar matchups going into the final two weeks of the split, and as stated each win will be essential to securing their spot in the playoffs. Avant will be able to leverage the win against the Chiefs last week and continue their streak and take down Pentanet.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Legacy Esports (13–3) vs Dire Wolves (11–4)
Prediction: Legacy defeat Dire Wolves
Even with playoffs already locked for both Legacy and the Dire Wolves, and a top-three spot all but a formality by the time they load into the server on Saturday, these top squads will still come together to duke it out for the chance at taking top billing on the ladder.
With the Chiefs falling ever into the grips of catchability, these two squads should be ready to strike and take the throne in week 10 if the slide continues. The Legacy boys are better suited to this jump, and should come out on top this week.
After some small teething issues with the change of mid — from Jang “EMENES” Min-soo to James “Tally” Shute — Week 8 looked like all systems were once again firing in the team.
They were able to dispatch both Avant and Order with relative ease in the first week of games played from home. Having also previously taken down Dire Wolves in both meetings this split, once with Tally in mid, they are set up to make this matchup three from three.
Dire Wolves will also see a makeup game on the docket, making up their previously abandoned game against Order — which Emma tipped as a Dire Wolves win in Week 7 — as well as their other fixtures, with a game against Gravitas earlier in the round.
Whilst Week 8 saw them take down Mammoth and Pentanet this was done in the comfort and luxury of the Esports HPC at the SCG.
Week 9 will not see this comfort, as the SCG and EHPC have been shut down for the time being. This will see the team once again resettle, but still to a common gaming house, so we will need to see if this will affect their play having to change environments again.
Dire Wolves will be a big threat to Legacy.
They will be a big threat this week and also in the April postseason, and both teams will also take this as a tune-up match for when they almost certainly meet in a Bo5. There will certainly be some top tier gameplay and will become some must-see viewing in these trying times.
Reece’s Feature Match of the Week: Chiefs Esports (12–3) vs Order (7–7)
Prediction: Chiefs defeat Order
On paper, this looks like a bloodbath waiting to happen. The Chiefs are a freight train barrelling through much of the OPL, leaving destruction in their wake. Order are a shakier situation, with much promise but much less delivery.
And it still could be a bloodbath waiting to happen. When last we saw these teams play it was, to be frank, a spanking. SeeEl took Spawn out behind the woodshed and gave him the Lassie treatment. The players never stood a chance.
But paper is brittle, and looks are deceiving.
Order’s clearest path to victory comes around the bottom side of the map. Haeri has been a consistent force for Order, Dream and Eyla have recovered some form, a welcome relief for the team and their fans.
- Read more: Haeri: “Being bad has only helped Order, we know why we were losing now and we can fix it”
While on the Chiefs’ side Claire has slowed, as has Katsurii. And while KoreaCK being for my money “The worst-performing player on the Chiefs” at the beginning of the split was a sign of how unbelievably strong the team was – now it’s kind of a problem in their losses.
For all his brash and self-aggrandizing bluster to start (“Very happy with my draft…gameplay mistakes to fix”), SeeEl’s Chiefs have flattered to deceive of late, admittedly against very stiff competition (and Avant). So it is important that they don’t put up another loss here, and risk Legacy putting ground between them.
And, despite the Pledge and Turn of this setup, the Prestige is going to be a very boring “I still think the Chiefs will win”. Order is still on the build and not quite at the Chief-toppling level yet.
Order’s baseline of success here would be playing the Chiefs competitively early, and making them really work hard for this win. And that’s what we can expect to see: Chiefs made to sweat for the win. Pyrrhic victories don’t get you points, but Order’s playing a longer game here.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.