We are past the halfway point of Oceanic Nationals, and things are looking tight at all ends of the ladder. With playoffs now secured for some, the race turns towards seeding as teams look to give themselves the best shot of making the November major.
The top six teams in Oceanic Nationals right now are separated by two wins and a handful of rounds. If you take out Knights at the top, it’s only one game between second and sixth. As playoffs approach, those seeds become crucially important to ensuring a smooth run to the major.
However, this week will prove to be the most decisive and ladder-shaking. Gameday 5 today, on Wednesday, should prove to be the best of the season, with four season-defining games. It could all come crashing down tomorrow though if teams take their foot off the pedal.
To walk you through this week’s games, I’ve enlisted the help of the Snowball Esports expert panel yet again.
- Brandon “Raven” Langiano: Oceanic Nationals caster
- Michael “Guzz” Gurrie: Oceanic Nationals caster
- Jake “Zenox” Brander: Oceanic Nationals caster
- Rob “Manic” Munday: Oceanic Nationals caster
- James “Devmarta” Stewart: European & APAC North caster
- Alex “Skye” McCallum: Caster and observer
- Andrew “Ducky” Amos: Snowball Esports journalist
You will be able to find our full, individual predictions on Snowball’s Twitter later today, as well as during the Oceanic Nationals broadcast.
Noble vs. Okami
Wednesday at 7pm AEST
Prediction: Noble win
Okami has had a disappointing Oceanic Nationals, to say the least. They’ve lost to Ferox and Elevate, two teams you would have definitely seated the veteran squad above. They have faced off against LFO and Rhythm in their two wins.
Now, the test truly starts for Okami. Their first “top four” opponent is Noble — the Wildcard slayers from Week 1. While they stumbled against Knights in Gameday 4 — much to the dismay of Zenox’s flawless prediction — they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Okami do have a chance in this matchup though. I’ve spoken about it before, but if ItBeStyle and Speca fire up, there’s hardly a team in the region that can put a candle to them. The thing is though, they’ve been notably absent in most of their games so far in Oceanic Nationals. The consistency of the other three isn’t enough to drag them over the line.
Noble should be firm favourites though. They still look like one of the top two teams, and they have a lot to prove after their Six Masters disappointment. A win here will go a long way at securing themselves a spot at the November major, and potentially contest for the Oceanic Nationals title.
LFO vs. Rhythm
Wednesday at 9pm AEST
Prediction: LFO win
Look, at the end of the day, at least one of LFO and Rhythm is going to finish above the other. But trying to pick who’s not going to be on the bottom right now is like splitting hairs.
Rhythm have had some amazing results in Oceanic Nationals compared to Six Masters, despite not getting a single win. The team seems to be jelling incredibly well with Sticc, even pushing Wildcard to overtime in Week 2.
- Read more: Oceanic Nationals 2020 Recap – Week 2
The same can’t be said for LFO. The most promise they’ve shown so far in Oceanic Nationals is their 5-7 loss to Noble. They haven’t forced a single overtime, unlike Rhythm. The team is missing that spark, and it feels like the loss of Nasty was actually a bigger hit than expected.
However, despite this, LFO should be favoured. Mimiz has been slowly firing up, and we all know the damage he can do when he’s on fire. Rhythm have been good on Coastline but not much else. If LFO takes them to Coastline, then they somehow screwed up the veto. But take Rhythm to any other map, and it should be LFO’s for the taking.
Wildcard vs. Knights
Wednesday at 10pm AEST
Prediction: Wildcard win
The Knights have been the surprise standout of Oceanic Nationals. Losing Stryder has proven to be a non-issue, as Sageon has filled his role perfectly. Not only that, but the rest of the squad has just been on fire, with Hayward deservedly getting the Week 2 MVP.
But, this is Wildcard we are talking about. Six Invitational attendees. Six Masters 2020 Champions. Six Major August 2020 Champions. As soon as you start doubting Wildcard, they strike back.
That’s evident so far in Oceanic Nationals too — after their close loss to Noble and close win to Rhythm, things looked on the ropes. Then they smashed Elevate 7-2. While it’s been a team effort, it’s worth pointing out that Gio has been a consistent standout for the Wildcard roster — in only his second full season in the top-flight, he’s already looking like a veteran.
The Knights need to win this game to keep one step ahead of Noble and Wildcard. However, Wildcard look to be ramping up into playoffs. Do the Knights have the endurance to go toe-to-toe with Wildcard? Maybe. They’ve taken a map off them before in the Six Major. Now they need to do it again. It’s a tall task, but one they could pull off, even if the odds aren’t in their favour.
Ferox vs Elevate (Wednesday 8pm, FRX win): Ferox and Elevate are both punching above their weight in Oceanic Nationals, but Ferox has definitely posted the more impressive results. Expect this to be a tight battle.
Okami vs Knights (Friday 7pm, PK win): A fast-firing Knights vs a slow-starting Okami. If Okami do manage to finally fire up against Knights, a win is on the cards, but it doesn’t look favourable.
Elevate vs LFO (Friday 8pm, ELE win): Elevate should have enough gas in the tank to get over LFO, although the unsigned squad will be hungry to perhaps clinch one of the final playoffs spots with their easier run to the finals.
Rhythm vs Noble (Friday 9pm, NB win): If Rhythm take Noble to Coastline, we have a chance of seeing something akin to their game against Wildcard. Any other map though, and Noble have the clear edge.
Wildcard vs Ferox (Friday 10pm, WC win): Ferox are good, but they aren’t Wildcard good. Wildcard will still be gunning for that first seed, where it looks like every round will count.
Oceanic Nationals returns for Week 3 on September 30 with Okami taking on Noble at 7pm AEST. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Twitch channel.
Be sure to follow Snowball Esports on Twitter for everything Oceanic Nationals throughout the season, including tips, analysis, and interviews.