If anyone wasn’t sure who the frontrunners for the maiden LCO title were before, now with a third of Split 1 done and dusted, it’s never been more clear. Both Peace and Pentanet.GG are undefeated (5-0) coming into this week, but will be finally separated in their Tuesday top-of-the-table clash as the big headliner for Week 3.
Tailing close behind are the Chiefs Esports Club and Order with 3-2 scorelines, the former prevailing over the latter in their clash in Week 2 to jump their way into third.
The Dire Wolves put two wins in the books and watch on from fifth place, while back to back OPL champions Legacy languish winless at the bottom of the standings, with Mammoth and Gravitas just keeping their heads above water with one win apiece
It’s time to break down the week’s most important matches. As usual, I’ll be joined by Snowball’s terrific trio of analysts, including the ever-brilliant San Hoàng and Harry Taylor. Let’s get into it.
Alex’s Feature Match of the Week: Peace (5–0) vs. Pentanet.GG (5–0)
Prediction: Pentanet win.
Arguably the biggest game in the LCO yet, the fight for the regular season championship may just play out tonight when both undefeated teams, Peace and Pentanet.GG, open the LCO action for the week.
Just getting it out of the way: Shane “Kevy” Allen is cracked. Absolutely cracked. In his debut game for Peace, he decimated Mammoth with a 10/0/7 Graves performance.
He was absolutely everywhere, and whether he can continue Friday’s momentum into the battle with Oceania’s reigning king of the jungle, Jackson “Pabu” Pavone, may result in the most entertaining jungle matchup in the LCO so far.
However, while I have no doubt as to Kevy’s skill, I still have questions as to whether the Peace jungler’s sparkling debut was a flash in the pan, or whether that’s the level we can consistently expect.
Peace’s path to victory lies in the botlane. Vincent “Violet” Wong seems just a cut above the rest of the ADCs in the region. Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson has looked very reliable alongside him, and it will be a challenge especially for Pentanet support Daniel “Decoy” Ealam to lift Mark “Praedyth” Lewis above the Peace duo.
For Pentanet to continue their winning ways, Pabu needs to shut down Kevy and link up with Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney to keep James “Halo” Giacoumakis from becoming a force in the mid to late game. It’s a tough ask, and the Pentanet mid-jungle duo, will have to step up to pull this one off.
Up in the toplane, Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander has looked dominant all season, and it may be that Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing moves onto a more supportive laner to avoid being muscled into irrelevancy.
Pentanet have looked comfortable all season and their teamfighting is on a level few in the region can match. Providing they can endure Violet in the early game, expect Pentanet to come in guns blazing and force their way to sole possession of first place in the LCO.
San’s Feature Match of the Week: Dire Wolves (2–3) v Chiefs (3–2)
Prediction: Chiefs win.
Dire Wolves and Chiefs have a lot to gain in their Wednesday match-up, although the former has a bit more on the line.
The Dire Wolves have shown some signs of life, recovering from their ill fated 0-2 start with a rallying wolfpack coming to play in Week 2 picking up victories against Mammoth and Legacy. However, those were expected wins, and their loss to Order isn’t a good sign.
Week 2 was definitely better than Week 1 for the Wolves, and that was evident against Legacy. Ari “Shok” Greene-Young and Vincent “gunkrab” Lin ran away with the game, remaining deathless as their team elevated the hypercarries. This is Legacy we’re talking about though — the current cellar-dwellers.
Given the Chiefs beat Order last week, that alone could tell the difference in the power rankings, but best-of-ones are like that at times. They should be coming into this matchup looking to define themselves in the upper ranks of LCO.
In a league where the average game time is 30:33, early game leads are proving insurmountable relatively quickly. Snowballing jungle carries have characterised Ryan “Swathe” Gibbons in the past five outings, who has nabbed Kayn, Viego and the oft-banned, Udyr (90% regionally).
Swathe has ensured that the Chiefs have had a stake in each early game, showing a clear focus and priority on securing Rift Herald to open up the map. While Jordan “Only” Middleton is no pushover, he hasn’t been nearly as effective in terms of damage output or objective control in the games we have seen thus far.
Without a foothold in the early game and barring a means to stretch the game out for the late-game carries that Dire Wolves have been favoring, I see the Chiefs standing tall.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Order (3–2) vs. Gravitas (1–4)
Prediction: Order win.
Friday will see the LCO crest the start of the second and final round robin. Order and Gravitas will take to the Rift on Friday evening with two different but similar motivations to get the win.
For Order, they will be eagerly looking to pick up the win as they forge their path into a top playoff spot. With the Dire Wolves playing below expectations, and Peace and Pentanet proving to be too good for everyone else so far, a real fight for third place has opened up and Order is in the thick of it.
They were set back last week, losing to the Chiefs who are also in the scrum for the final upper bracket spot, but were able to get a leg up on the Wolfpack in the playoff race after taking them to the cleaners.
For Gravitas, this win would be key in staying in the playoff hunt at all. Currently 1-4, a win here should keep at par with the Dire Wolves record wise, or possibly even ahead if the contest between the two of them on Tuesday goes in their favour. They will also be wanting a big ticket win against a top half team after going 0-3 last week.
On paper though, Order should take this handily. The Army’s roster is straight up more consistent, both in terms of game form and lineup. Order has been able to play with the same five every game so far, whilst Gravitas are doing their best T1 impression having played seven of their roster so far (Lachlan “N0body” Keene-O’Keefe and Thomas “Thomas Shen” Shen both debuted last week).
If Gravitas keeps switching their lineup, I don’t see this game going very well for them. However, if they start settling on a nailed-down core five, they could unlock the next gear, allowing them to potentially overpower Order and get the win. Regardless, that’s a tall order.
The League of Legends Circuit Oceania returns today.