After a long offseason which saw spades of international departures, the death of the old OPL, and the rise of a new competition — the “LCO” — League of Legends is back in Oceania.
The newly-minted competition comes with a compressed split schedule featuring two round robins spread across five weeks. This leaves much less room to slip up compared to last year, with the addition of seven games. As always, every win matters.
Without further ado, Snowball’s experienced pundits Alex Leckie-Zaharic and Harry Taylor break down their chosen feature matches for the opening week of the LCO.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: The Chiefs vs Legacy Esports
Prediction: Chiefs win.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
The El Clasico, the rivalry that transcends games and leagues, is back. The Chiefs will square up against Legacy as they load into Summoner’s Rift for the second game of the LCO.
Both teams have seen significant roster changes.
After winning their second OPL title in a row, a highly respectable showing at Worlds last September saw the entire Legacy roster go their separate ways — mainly to North America.
In their place, a number of debutants fill the field. Solo laners Kim “Winterer” Dong-geun and Daniel “Incursio” Brkic will play their first Oceanic top-level games this week, and Mammoth duo Gian “Styled” Leon and Andy “emelg” Chen stick together heading into 2021.
Veteran jungler Lachlan “Sybol” Civil also returns. He last played in the OPL in Split 2 of 2019, before a hefty stint with Barrage in the UKLC last year.
The Chiefs have also had a roster refresh.
Dragon “Dragku” Guo returns in the support role, whilst Tristan “Lived” Fulcher and Matthew “Mboma” Desa move over from Mammoth to fill in the top and bot lane respectively.
Ryan “Swathe” Gibbons returns to the league after three splits away to fill the jungle role, a position he has previously played for within the org as a member of the Chiefs Academy team that won the OCS in 2018. Mid laner “Kisee ” is the only rookie on the team.
Both teams share a quantity of knowns and unknowns.
From what is known, I see Chiefs as the better roster, due to their experience. However, both mids are relatively unknown, and with how important the central role is, if one of them is leagues above the other, the unknown may become the key factor in winning the game.
Alex’s Feature Match of the Week: Dire Wolves vs Pentanet.GG
Prediction: Pentanet win.
Both the Dire Wolves and Pentanet have already emerged as early contenders (at least on paper) for the inaugural LCO title, mainly due to their OPL-heavy rosters.
Perhaps the most interesting move here was Brandon “Claire” Nguyen’s surprise switch to the top side of the map. Claire has long been one of the most talented players to never win a title, but he may have found a ticket to an international event in 2021.
Roleswaps aren’t cut and dry, however, and Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander isn’t going to make it easy on the 23-year-old as he cuts his teeth in top lane this week.
Pentanet have been able to build on their 2020 roster, adding Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney and Daniel “Decoy” Ealam to their core of BioPanther, Jackson “Pabu” Pavone, and the ever-versatile Mark “Praedyth” Lewis. For a team that already made third last year, the OCE exodus, combined with the upgrade of Chazz, puts the Perth team in prime position to win an LCO title.
Last night the Dire Wolves also added two new players to the Wolfpack, with Jordan “Only” Middleton and Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes bolstering the jungle lineup for the team.
This late swap may leave the Dire Wolves still learning on the go in Week 1.
All in all, Pentanet has the upper hand. They’ve retained a strong core of players while incorporating two veterans in a league filled with new blood. For the Wolfpack, questions remain about Claire’s role swap, and whether the jungle dynamics are fully developed.
Even if those questions were answered, Pentanet should still triumph in this match, and an emphatic victory may well set the tone for the season ahead.
The League of Legends Circuit Oceania begins today.