Despite just three weeks being played in the Oceanic Pro League in 2020’s Split 2 so far, there’s already three clear ladder placements forming.
The top two spots have been claimed by defending champions Legacy Esports (6–0) and arch-rivals The Chiefs (5–1). The middle of the pack, all of whom boast a 3–3 record after six games, is made up of Avant Gaming, Dire Wolves, Order, and Pentanet.GG. Then, at the rear sits Gravitas (1–5) and winless Mammoth (0–6).
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 Avant Gaming against Pentanet at 4pm AEST.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: The Chiefs (5–1) vs Legacy Esports (6–0)
Prediction: Legacy win
OPL fans have a spectacular top of the table clash on their hands this week. Both rivals have had a great start to Split 2 — Legacy maybe slightly more than the Chiefs — and both will be looking to continue those records for as long as possible.
This week will be key for both sides. The Chiefs have a chance to chop Legacy down to the size, while the defending champions can continue their undefeated run, and put some space between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack.
Look at last week’s matches, the Chiefs certainly had a more consistent weekend. They were able to clock up two sub-35 minute wins, and kept relatively strong advantage spikes in both their matches too. Brandon “Claire” Nguyen especially had a great weekend with two strong showings on Orianna, and the Chiefs may look to him again come Friday evening.
Legacy, on the other hand, had a bit more trouble. The champions had two longer matches, and scrapped over objectives and kills for much of their two victories. It seems they have been struggling to keep up with their opponents in the early game due to drafting choices, but with a more objective-focused end game and stronger comps it allows them to skew the game into their favour once they stretch it to meet their win conditions.
This weekend’s OPL-Classico seems like it will be a delicate balance for Legacy. They have to navigate the Chiefs’ strong early game carefully, and emerge as unscathed as possible if they want to stick to their late game picks. The Chiefs obviously have the opposite target: end the game as quickly as possible before Legacy, and their late game conditions, tick over into an unbeatable state at the half-hour mark and beyond.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Order (3–3) vs Dire Wolves (3–3)
Prediction: Dire Wolves win
Friday is already slated to be an action-packed day, and the middle-pack battle between Dire Wolves and Order early in the afternoon is just another battle turning the heat up on one of the most critical OPL matchdays we’ve seen in a while.
These first three weeks have been very similar for the two squads; they each have the same number of wins and losses, while also sharing which teams they’ve claimed wins against, and which teams they’ve suffered defeats at the hands of.
How they got there was a little different, however. Order have ploughed on in their usual 1–1 fashion, but the Dire Wolves reversed a 0–2 start to the season to reach the spot they have claimed heading into the fourth week. This ramp-up of skills, and results, will play a crucial factor in the Dire Wolves’ quest to edge their playoff rivals on Friday.
The mid and bot lane matchups is where this game will be won and lost. League of Legends is a five-player game, sure, but these two lanes have become influential in every stage of the game recently. For the Dire Wolves and Order especially, much of their power comes from playing through their dominant strengths in their carries.
No matter what happens ahead of the match-up, and in draft, this should be a close game, befitting the hype Friday lineup of matches. The win is especially important for both teams, so expect fireworks as the battle for the playoffs begins in earnest just four weeks into the 2020 Split 2 campaign.
Andrew’s Feature Match of the Week: Avant Gaming (3–3) vs Pentanet.GG (3–3)
Prediction: Avant Gaming win
This week’s games in the OPL are absolutely stacked. It all kicks off Friday when Avant take on Pentanet. In Week 3, both teams took on the undefeated Legacy juggernaut. Both held their own, for the most part. Avant held a gold lead until the 30-minute mark, and Pentanet had a chance to put the game away as they cracked the champions’ base open before 20 minutes had ticked over.
Last week’s displays illustrated both these teams can throw down with some of the best in the league, no question. Added to that, Avant managed to keep Order tied into the four-way tie for third place, and give themselves a chance for that bronze spot.
Where will the war be won for these two teams? For me, I have eyes on the two junglers, Jackson “Pabu” Pavone and Thomas “LeeSA” Ma.
Pabu has, for the most part, has had a decent transition into the roaming role. He was held accountable against Gravitas last week, but helped set the tempo for his Perth side as they narrowly lost to Legacy.
On the other side of the Rift, LeeSA stands as a key part of Avant’s lineup. When it comes to Avant’s roaming playmaker, the first thing that comes to mind will be his Lee Sin. If the cards fall just right on Friday afternoon, OPL fans could be treated to his Lee Sin paying up against Pabu’s Graves — a top-tier recipe for some very volatile and exciting League of Legends.
This game could fall either way, and picking a winner isn’t easy. When you look at the match histories, however, and the victories each have notched in the past season, Avant has the upper hand in third-place battles. Expect the perennial playoff contenders to come up big again on Friday afternoon, and put in their bid for the OPL’s bronze spot.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.