Two weeks down and Oceanic Pro League teams are starting to learn where they stand — now, in Week 3, teams will either give themselves the platform for success, or will find themselves needing to claw their way back to make up for lost time.
While the middle of the pack remains tightly contested echelons are starting to form at each end of the standings, will these standings remain in place or will upsets over the weekend throw a spanner in the works?
Without further ado, Snowball’s experienced analysts Emma van der Brug, Harry Taylor, and Andrew Wray break down their chosen featured matches for the opening week. Round 3 will begin with the Dire Wolves facing Gravitas at 4pm AEST.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Pentanet.GG (2–2) vs Gravitas (1–3)
Prediction: Pentanet def. Gravitas
This week sees Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes come up against former teammate Jackson “Pabu” Pavone in a fateful clash in the jungle.
After a great Week 1 for Pentanet, and a 2–0 start to the spit, the wheels fell off a bit in Week 2. The team has now slipped to equal-third with four other teams. Gravitas, meanwhile, were able to pick up their first win, against Avant, and move into 7th place.
There’s no getting around it — Pentanet was run around the Rift by the Dire Wolves last Saturday. The game ended with just a single dragon, kill, and tower as consolation prizes for the defeated team. Luckily, their loss to Order was a bit closer, with the match only breaking open for the Melbourne squad in the 18th minute.
Gravitas heads into this battle with that key first win under their belts. It may have taken the squad 32 minutes to beat Avant Gaming, but once they found their stride — and Lo “Siuman” Pak Man scored two kills on Yasuo — they were able to close out the match. The fact they were able to stem the bleeding after a poor early game is a tick for them.
This clash will be a key one to watch, and not least for the Anakin Skywalker vs Obi-Wan Kenobi duel in the jungle. The question is, has Pabu become the master? Or is Praelus still going to come out on top on Saturday evening?
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Legacy Esports (4–0) vs Avant Gaming (2–2)
Prediction: Legacy def. Avant
This Saturday sees Legacy and Avant come face-to-face on the server in a matchup that could prove key for both sides. Legacy has an undefeated streak to maintain in the OPL, and look to turn their 4–0 start until a 6–0 romp. Standing in their way is AV, who faltered in Week 2 after a hot start to Split 2 in the season opener.
Legacy, of course, comes into this match as clear favourites. Their OPL title proves they were the best team last split, and with minimal changes there hasn’t been a power shift in Oceania just yet either. The squad will want to take every game as cleanly as possible as they keep one eye on a potential qualification to the 2020 World Championship.
They have to be careful of Avant’s bounce-back potential, however. Week 1 proved AV have it in them to do well, but Week 2 has rocked the boat. They’ll want to come out of the gates in a rush to lock in a first-week win, rather than a week two deflation.
Historically, the two sides have had close matchups as well. The head-to-head matchup in the OPL favours Legacy 23–21 game-wise, but considering Avant Gaming has often been the underdogs in the meeting, that’s not a lopsided stat in the slightest.
If AV are to snatch victory, and doom Legacy to their first loss of Split 2, it will be through a solo carry lane. Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney stands as the best avenue for this — he’s already had a number of top performances so far on Ekko and Taliyah, showing he can bring the pressure for his team, and snowball the gold leads he accrues in the landing phase.
Keep your eyes on Chazz this week. He’s proven he can hang with the best: if he can get one over James “Tally” Shute on Saturday night, the underdogs could have a chance to rattle the champions-elect early on in the season.
Andrew’s Feature Match of the Week: Chiefs Esports Club (3–1) vs Dire Wolves (2–2)
Prediction: Chiefs def. Dire Wolves
Last split’s preliminary finalists are back on the Rift once more in the main-event slot this Saturday evening in what should be a clash of two OPL titans. The Wolfpack bounced back in Week 2 after a shocking opening weekend, and a win over their arch-rivals should give them a platform to not only recover the season, but get it right back on track.
The Chiefs have found themselves a game ahead of the pack in the opening two rounds, but a slip-up against Pentanet in Week 1 leaves them in striking distance from the “mess” in the middle of the OPL standings, as caster Jake “Spawn” Tiberi likes to call it.
If we look at the top side of the map, we have two heavyweight contenders going at it in the form of veteran Dire Wolves carry Ryan “Chippys” Short, and breakout Chiefs starlet Romeo “Thien” Tran. Both top laners will relish the chance to provide a skill-check matchup against the other, and go toe-to-toe with some of the best talent the region has to offer.
Looking at it across the whole map, however, it seems like the Chiefs are favoured to take the Week 3 meeting. The Dire Wolves came back with a vengeance last weekend, but we can’t forget their first week performance either. Either way, it’s sure to be a treat for the OPL fans tuning in on Twitch and YouTube come Saturday evening.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.