Legacy Esports will this weekend finally get the chance to do something they’ve never had to do before — defend an Oceanic Pro League crown in the postseason.
The veteran OPL organisation, who stand as one of the founding fathers of the Australia and New Zealand competition, have spent the past 10 splits as contenders, but never kings.
This year that changed. The boys in green were finally able to get over the hump and become the champions they always believed they could be. Unfortunately, the rewards usually tied to those triumphs — an international campaign — were stripped away from them mid-year.
With Worlds confirmed to be going ahead, albeit under an altered bubble-hub format, Legacy may finally have the chance to represent their region. All it takes is a title defence in the OPL playoffs. For them, that begins on Saturday afternoon.
Legacy earned their spot in the upper bracket second round after a dominant 17–4 record earned them the first seed again. There were a few bumps and tumbles along the way, but in the end the Split 1 champs clinched top spot a second time around.
Only, this time, they’ve proven they can do it. Legacy swept finals contenders Order in a 3–0 last grand final to earn their first title. The pressure, at least slightly, has been lifted from their shoulders. Now they’re just hungry for Worlds.
“Personally, I don’t feel the pressure,” one of Legacy’s two mid lanes James “Tally” Shute told Snowball Esports ahead of the crunch-time playoffs battle on Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve been in this scenario many times before. I know what I need to do to play my best.”
That same confidence echoes throughout the entire roster, Tally added. “I think we’ve found what we think is that key winning formula, and multiple variants of it. I think our preparation is really good coming into the playoffs.”
Split 2 saw one change for the championship org; highly-touted Challenger Series prospect James “Halo” Giacoumakis was brought into the fold ahead of Week 6. He has since been splitting time with his fellow James in the center of Summoner’s Rift.
Halo has been able to bring change to the team with his more traditional mage pool, which has complimented Tally’s less-traditional selections. It’s a good pickup for the team, Shute admitted, especially considering his pool may be an issue internationally.
“I favour certain champions and he [Halo] covers my weaknesses. While this may not be a big issue domestically, I think if we went internationally as a one-dimension team we would get exploited,” Tally said.
Legacy’s jungler Leo “Babip” Romer agrees, to an extent. He’s been to Worlds before, as part of the famed Mammoth lineup from 2019. He knows what it takes to succeed on the global stage, or at least play spoiler, and sung Halo’s praises.
“He allowed us to really expand our playstyle, as well as lending another option in the meta,” the Legacy playmaker said.
Halo may have been the only swap in the playing group, but the champions also had a major change behind the scenes. Title-winning coach Jensen Goh returned to Singapore to lead Resurgence in the Pacific Championship Series. That meant James “Denian” Goddard — yes, another James — returned as the leading voice for Legacy in 2020.
Denian is just another one of the Legacy stars in front of the camera and behind that wants to leap that final hurdle, and clinch a Worlds spot. “I just want to win,” he said. “I want to help the players get the most out of themselves, the same as last split, and last year.”
There wasn’t much change between Split 1 and 2 in terms of style and preparation either, he said. He’d already been involved, and just continued to apply all the plans made for the team.
“There are probably a lot of small changes that, if you told me, I would say “Oh yes, that is a little different,” but the spirit of what we’re doing is really the same,” he explained. “I want to win. It’s all about finding the best avenue to achieve that goal.”
Tonight, Legacy take on a high-flying Order. The Melbourne squad defeated Perth opponents Pentanet.GG in a competitive 3–1 battle last night. PGG were able to pocket the first game in the battle, before Order rolled through three wins to clinch victory.