With the first round robin come and gone, The OPL continues on it’s path towards the Postseason without much clarity of who we will see join the fight for worlds.
While Legacy Esports have streaked ahead from the pack, finding themselves three games clear from their closest competition, the fight for the other places in the double-elimination bracket is tight, with a singular game separating second through sixth.
Each game this week for those teams within that bubble is a must-win, as coming out of this week with the pair of dubs could be the difference between upper bracket, lower bracket and not making the bracket at all.
Without further ado, Snowball’s experienced analysts Emma van der Brug, Harry Taylor, and Andrew Wray break down their chosen featured matches for this critical week. Round 5 will begin with Order taking on Legacy at 4pm AEST on Friday.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Dire Wolves (4-4) vs Avant Gaming (4-4)
Prediction: Dire Wolves Win
Now that the first round-robin is complete, teams have got a taste of how the rest of the OPL competition is shaping up. The middle of the pack is still relatively close, with three teams all sitting on a 4–4 record — the Dire Wolves, Avant Gaming, and Order.
The last time these two teams faced off was in Week 1. Avant came out swinging and took down the Dire Wolves in a 35-minute win. Since then, the Wolfpack have improved in leaps and bounds, proving their playoff threat in their close defeat against Legacy.
The key for the Dire Wolves is their early game, which has been great after the opening week of play. Ari “Shok” Greene-Young in particular epitomised this against Legacy, keeping the champions off objectives and map control on Zoe.
Avant has had a reasonable start to the split too. They’ve been able to consistently perform where needed, but have never broken out of the middle-pack standings. Last week saw a patient win over Mammoth, before they nearly pulled off the comeback off the back of two Barons against Pentanet on Saturday night.
The Dire Wolves are on more of an upward trend, however.
Their performance against Legacy will have written up the blueprint for how they can defeat teams that actually remember how to lose; if they can repeat this against Avant they’ll certainly be able to walk away with victory in their hands (or paws).
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Order (4–4) vs Pentanet.GG (5–3)
Prediction: Pentanet Wins
The OPL wraps up Week 5 with what is set to be a critical banger of a match. Order and Pentanet will join the server in a game both must win if they want to keep their Split 2 goals on-track heading into the second round robin run.
Order has, unfortunately for them, continued their tradition of picking up 1–1 weekends this split, and Friday and Saturday’s games were no different. Ryan “Chippys” Short ran over the Melbourne squad as Wukong on Friday, before Order took Gravitas to the cleaners in reply.
Pentanet has seen a resurgence of late. A three-game losing slide has turned into just as many wins on the bounce, including key victories over fellow top two challengers the Chiefs and Avant. The Split 2 lineup seems to have gelled together after a rocky few weeks, and the troubles of Week 2 have well and truly been put in the rearview mirror.
With this cohesion and consistency, as well as their confidence being buoyed by a handful of top-level results so far this split, Pentanet come into the match as favourites.
The problem mainly lies with Order, and their inconsistency in the draft. They’ve done themselves no favours in the compositions they’ve been bringing onto the Rift so far this split, and that makes it even harder to mark them as favourites.
Honestly, this could also be said for the PGG team, but they have proven they can take team comps with question marks around them and still deliver a resounding victory when it matters. Expect Pentanet to keep their win-streak going with another 2–0 weekend.
Andrew’s Feature Match of the Week: Legacy Esports (8–0) vs Gravitas (1-7)
Prediction: Legacy Win
One of the easiest predictions in the world right now is backing Split 1 champions Legacy to tick off another win every week, and while there is a chance for a hot take here, it would be foolish to think the OPL’s last-placed team pose a threat to the green juggernaut.
Is there a world in which Gravitas could snatch victory? Despite the overwhelming skill gap between the two sides, upsets happen. In a best-of-one format, complacency is a factor Legacy will have to continually battle for the rest of the split as they chase perfection.
One place Gravitas could find a way into the game is the jungle duel. Gravitas’ leader Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes is up against arguably the best jungler in Oceanic right now, Leo “Babip” Romer, and it should be a scintillating clash — as long as the bottom team’s lanes don’t get overwhelmed before their captain can make a difference.When it’s all said and done though, this match-up is overwhelmingly in Legacy’s favour. The conversation, then, is how quickly this one ends; put your money on less than 25 minutes, and feel free to tweet your best guesses straight to Snowball Esports.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.