There isn’t a logical reason why Peace should win the LCO. But, in a strangely poetic way, you wouldn’t have it any other way. Because almost nothing about this Peace split has been logical.
Of course, if you haven’t allowed yourself a ticket to the Peace Train this split, for instance, if you’ve only checked in from Grand Final to Grand Final, these words may come as a shock to you. They were the grand final runners-up last split, and they’re back here again. Where’s the mystery, the intrigue?
When you look at the story of Peace from 10 April – 31 August 2021, the mystery and intrigue is in the journey. The dash tells so much more than the dates.
Coming off the back of the previous split’s efforts, they added two Worlds attendees in James “Tally” Shute and Leo “Babip” Romer, fresh off their stints in NA throughout the split.
They started hot — 5 and 2, in fact. Then they mysteriously benched Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson to bring Thomas “LeeSA” Ma and eventually Yiao “Apii” Jian-Jing in as supports.
If we accept that a winning team was in need of a roster changes, then after a couple of wins that you could only call “dead cat bounce”, the team entered into freefall, dropping three games in brutal fashion, then shockingly dropping star player Vincent “Violet” Wong and reforming the entire roster, bringing Tally in and returning LeeSA to the jungle role. Mysteriously, the only Peace player to survive the split was Apii.
This would net them a further three losses and bring them to the brink of not even making playoffs. At this point, in the midst of (though, it must be noted, not specifically because of) a clamouring from fans, the team returned to Aladoric and Violet in the bot lane, and played their best players (and the omnipresent Apii) and the rest, before today, is history.
They ran roughshod over the league. They won six games in a row, including brutalizing the Chiefs 3-0 in the first round of the lower bracket. They then dropped the first two games of their second-round playoff match against Order. Once again, their Worlds dream had been pushed to the brink.
And history repeated itself.
They won six games in a row, reverse sweeping Order and brutalizing Dire Wolves in the Lower Bracket final, delivering them to where we stand in today’s grand final.
Even that abbreviated version of history does Peace a degree of disservice. For Peace fans, the wild ride of the split will live on now in memory. Even historical records like the VODs and words like these won’t match it.
Unless the players can deliver one last win.
They have three key advantages that they can press here.
The first is the momentum of this wild ride. The last 14 games of Peace’s season has seen them hit a ramp that resembles the rising price of the biggest cryptocurrencies. They’re playing well and have to be feeling great about where their collective game is at.
The second is the veteran presence of the mid/jungle core – Babip, Tally and even now “sub” mid laner James “Halo” Giacoumakis have been here before and made it to worlds – just last year, in fact. Pentanet.GG won’t be able to throw a situation at them that they haven’t seen before.
The third is the potential of Violet and Aladoric to overwhelm the bot lane. Despite arguably a career split from Danny “Decoy” Ealam, the laning phase of their rival bot lane can be a notable weakness, and should they fall into a hole early, Violet is an oppressive presence to deal with.
As I’ve said, the 2021 ride has been a wild one for Peace. And make no mistake, the chips are against them on paper and they’ll rightly come in as underdogs. But these are wild times. This would be just one more twist in the road along the path to Peace.
And what a fitting end that would make to their Dash this domestic season.
The LCO final starts at 4.30pm AEST with the countdown and a show match, before the main event kicks off at 6pm AEST, live on the official Twitch channel.