The OPL put their best Australian effort forward with the ladder flipped upside down in terms of team strength. Mammoth, the last placed team at the start of the week, took down the top two teams — Legacy Esports and The Chiefs respectively.
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 facing off against Mammoth at 4pm AEST on Friday.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Order (8–4) vs Dire Wolves (8–4)
Prediction: Order win
The Dire Wolves have tasted blood after a 2–0 weekend against Pentanet.GG and Gravitas and will, of course, be wanting to replicate that against fellow finals contenders Order this weekend. Order also proved themselves again with another seamless round, this time against the Chiefs and Avant Gaming.
Each team comes into the round on the same record, though that neck-and-neck pace may have changed by Saturday evening. The head to head run sits with the Dire Wolves, who have already downed Order once in Split 2 so far.
Order had a slog of a weekend last time out. They battled through Pentanet in 40 minutes, before a similar showing against the Chiefs. Dire Wolves, on the other hand, marched to their undefeated weekend over PGG and Avant with 13k and 12k goal advantages.
That said, I believe Order has what it takes to grind out the much-needed record-splitting victory this round.
The battle will be close, and it’s tough to pick a clear winner, but if Order can survive the Dire Wolves’ early onslaught, they’re set; they’re the stronger team when it comes to late-game skirmishes, and had good practice just last week.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Gravitas (1–11) vs Mammoth (3–9)
Prediction: Mammoth win
Gravitas and Mammoth will join the Rift this weekend as Round 7’s closing matchup, and what a way to end the week. This game’s loser will be in big trouble — if Gravitas fall, there isn’t much chance they can catch up. If Mammoth lose, the race is on.
Both teams came into last weekend locked at 1–9, before Split 1’s last-place finishers did the impossible and scalped not only the Chiefs, but also the pacesetting defending champs Legacy. They were two momentum upsets, and there’s no doubt this will spark enough confidence for Mammoth to roll on this weekend.
Gravitas, on the other hand, had their torrid form continue last round. They haven’t won a game of competitive League of Legends in eight matches, and the same played out again last round; they failed to fire against Avant and the Dire Wolves.
Looking at Mammoth’s new-found momentum, it’s easy to tip them this week. Gravitas are a big ask to turn things around with just a few weeks left in the bag, and if they don’t turn up this weekend, they can pretty much chalk the 2020 campaign completely.
Andrew’s Feature Match of the Week: The Chiefs (7–5) vs Legacy Esports (9–3)
Prediction: Legacy win
The Grudge Match. El Classico. The Oceanic Pro League’s ANZAC Day. There have been tons of names for this vintage OPL rivalry, but last week’s efforts from both teams — a shocking 0–2 run for both teams — and losing to previously-last placed Mammoth has dampered the shine of this historic contest somewhat.
There’s a few other titles we could even bang on it this week. The ‘Stampede Cup’ springs to mind. The OPL’s Toilet Bowl has even been thrown around the Snowball Esports water cooler this week [Editor’s note — It hasn’t.]
All jokes aside though, the longest rivalry in the OPL kicks off again this week and there’s even more to play for on Saturday too. Bouncing back from a winless weekend is key for any contender, and getting the 2–0 is vital. The problem is, only one can do it this week.
Questions over Legacy’s mid lane situation with the two James, Halo and Tally, leave a bit of a cloud over the champions. The Chiefs will be hoping proven performer Brandon “Claire” Nguyen can punish that switch-up in the transition phase.
Meanwhile, the cracks are beginning to show for the Chiefs. They’ve dropped four of their last six games, and with that poor run of form have blown their clear second-place status with the playoffs looming in the distance.
I’ve tipped Legacy for this one. They’re only in slightly better form than the struggling Chiefs, and it is anyone’s game, but the Split 1 champs have proven they have what it takes to go the distance when it really matters in 2020; expect them to do it again this weekend.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.