Season 2022 is here. After a successful first year under the LCO moniker, Oceanic League of Legends returns with eight teams striving to take the region to even greater heights.
The off-season saw a significant shake-up across the league — Oceanic originals Legacy Esports bowed out after a Kanga Esports acquisition, who enter the league in their place.
We have seen a number of players depart the LCO to head to all corners of the globe to continue their League of Legends career, whilst others have returned back to the region from their excursions abroad, ready to show off what they have learned.
Join me as I rank each team’s offseason moves and how I expect each team to do in Split 1 of 2022.
The Chiefs — A
After five years without winning the title and two years out of the grand final spotlight, the original powerhouse of Oceania is looking to regain the title and return to the international stage.
The Chiefs have shaken up most of their roster in the off-season, with only support Dragon “Dragku” Guo returning for 2022.
Pairing him in the bot lane is returning star Quin “Raes” Korebrits. Having spent 2021 with the Immortals in LCS, the three-time Oceanic champion returns to the org he called home for three and a half years between 2016-2019.
Fellow three-timer James “Tally” Shute joins his former rival organisation to take the place in the mid lane, after spending the first half of last year with Golden Guardians Academy, before returning back to Oceania and joining the eventual Split 2 champions Peace.
In the top lane slots in Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon; the Korean superstar returns to the region where he got his start back in 2018 after a year in the LCS academy system with Immortals.
With him comes fellow Korean gun Park “Arthur” Mi-reu who returns to Oceania, albeit under a new name. Arthur is known to the region previously as Miru and Mir, and spent 2021 with Korean org Hanwha Life, splitting time in both the LCK and Challenger teams. He will be looking to take what he learnt in one of the world’s best leagues to dominate his competition in a familiar environment.
This team will come into Split 1 as the favourites. Their entire line-up will challenge for, and likely be, the best in their respective positions, and with the core of the dominant 2020 Legacy line-up re-uniting, this team will be a force to be reckoned with.
Dire Wolves — C
The Dire Wolves come into season 2022 with a brand new look. All five members of the team in 2021 have departed the team and in their place have come a number of promising rookies and second-year players. Jeong “Goodo” Min-Jae and James “Frosts” Paterson have joined the team as the jungler and bot laner respectively after being two of the standouts of the 2021 Mammoth team.
Nathan “Kyose” Bacha joins as the team’s mid laner after a promising rookie showing with Gravitas. Rookie Toplaner Cameron “Zorenous” Abbott and support Drekani “Bulldog” Akuhata also round out the line-up.
A far cry from the strength of their 2021 challenger, the Wolfpack will likely find themselves on the fringe of the playoffs. The team shows potential but will need to convert that to success, something this roster has previously failed to do with their slimmed-down rosters that lack star power.
Gravitas — D+
Where do I begin? Gravitas has possibly signed the most players ever to a roster to begin a competitive season. With 14 (yes, fourteen) players signed to the org, it is impossible to predict who we will see become their core roster.
With only six players from 2021 returning to the team for 2022 — Lachlan “N0body” Keene-O’Keefe, Blake “Azus” Schlage, Shao “Akano” Zhong, Reuben “Piglet” Salb, Thomas “Thomas Shen” Shen and Joe “Floppy” Tado — more than half of the potentially available players will be new quantities and relative unknowns when it comes to top-level competitive play.
The one thing about having that many new players and combinations is the discovery of hidden gems within their ranks. However, it’s more likely we see more of what we saw in season 2021, where the team shuffles through their ranks and fails to find any consistency and synergy, languishing at the bottom of the table.
Kanga Esports — C+
The league’s new organisation brings a talented roster to the table for season 2022. Having acquired the Legacy brand from the Adelaide Football Club in the off-season, the team spent the downtime looking to create a roster that would allow them to be playoff contenders in their first outing.
They have brought in mostly tried-and-true talent, with top laner Tristan “Lived” Fulcher and a role swapped and name-changed support Matthew “Lionel” Desa joining from Chiefs – the latter formerly playing as Mboma.
Also joining them is veteran jungler Jordan “Only” Middleton, as well as mid laner Jerome “Chungy” Chung. Rookie Samil “Leemas” Kip rounds out the line-up, taking his place in the bot lane.
This team can find themselves in the mix come the postseason, but they will find it hard to go beyond that. They lack the true star power that the squads above them have and may struggle because of that.
This team, in a way, reminds me a lot of the 2018 Bombers roster — five capable talents who on their day are able to hang with the best and push anyone to their limits, but finding the going rough at other times.
Mammoth — D
Season 2022 sees Mammoth continue to follow a philosophy employed by the organisation after their maiden title in 2019. For better or for worse, Mammoth has spent the last two years making a line-up full of rookie players, and 2022 is no different.
The Mammoth line-up consists of five LCO debutants; stand-out university star Thomas “Tronthepom” Garnsworthy joins in the top lane, Bryce “Meifan” Zhou as their jungler, Reuben “Reufury” Best takes up position the mid lane, with James “Voice” Craig and Rocco “rocco52” Potter taking their places in the duo lane as the bot laner and support respectively.
There isn’t much to write home about for this team. Whilst they may surprise, previous attempts at this roster composition have not been very successful, and I don’t expect this adaptation of the philosophy to be any different. They could surprise but I’m not holding my breath for that happening, at least not this split.
Order — B+
2022 brings a new brand identity and new roster to the team that calls Melbourne home. Bot laner Nathan “Puma” Puma, and Split 2 outstanding rookie and MVP jungler Shane “Kevy” Allen run it back with this team after a successful Split 2 regular season campaign that fell apart in the best-of-five stages.
Joining them is the recipient of the Rookie of the Split award for 2021 Split 1, midlaner Ronald “Kisee” Vo, moving down south from the Chiefs. The other solo laner joining this accolade-heavy team is 2021 Split 1 champion and MVP Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander, with the Oceanic veteran looking to continue to flex his muscle in the top lane as he has done since he first joined the Dire Wolves in Split 2 of 2018.
Rounding out the team is support Ian “Corporal” Pearse. The Japanese-born Australian returns to Oceania after spending 2 years in the LJL, initially with AXIZ before switching over to SoftBank Hawks. His international experience will see him become a more well-rounded player then when we last saw him in OCE with the Dire Wolves.
Even with new branding, this team’s winning ways should not go away. Order will be looking to challenge The Chiefs and Pentanet for the top spot in the league. Their roster is not quite as star-studded as the aforementioned teams, but they should do well.
Peace — B
Seemingly now a tradition with Oceanic champions, Split 2 champions Peace have seen their roster shift as players leave to chase success elsewhere. Thomas “LeeSA” Ma has stayed with the org and reclaimed his starting jungle position, having fallen down the pecking order in Split 2.
Wang “Chayon” Yun-Cheng has also returned, and steps into the starting bot lane position, looking to fill a big gap left by Vincent “Violet” Wong, who has jetted off to North America to join the Golden Guardians Academy. Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing returns, but this time in a different role as the team’s mid laner — a role he last played competitively back in the 2019 OCS with Legacy Genesis.
Rounding out the roster is support David “Beats” Nguyen-Dang, who after a successful breakout season with Order is looking to further his success with the defending champions, as well as top laner Romeo “Thien” Tran, who returns to our shores after a split with CLG Academy.
Whilst this team should do well this split, it isn’t quite as strong as the team that ran the lower bracket gauntlet in the 2022 playoffs. They should contend, but are not quite at the top level of the league; however, this team has surprised expectations previously and are very well primed to do that again.
Pentanet — A
The 2021 Split 1 champions have returned this year looking to reclaim their throne after falling agonisingly short of back to back titles. The off-season saw a couple of international departures, with star Jungler Jackson “Pabu” Pavone heading to Europe to apply his craft with BIG in the German Prime League 1st Division, and support Daniel “Decoy” Ealam heading over to Brazil to play with INTZ in the CBLOL.
Couple that with midlaner Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney out to chase a place in Europe and Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander moving to Order, the off-season needed to see them bring in big names to fill the shoes left behind.
But big names did they bring. After a breakout rookie season in 2021, toplaner Kim “Winterer” Dong-Geun joins the team looking to hit the next level in his career. Mark “Praedyth” Lewis is the sole remaining member of the 2021 roster, with Jake “Rogue” Sharwood re-joining the organisation after a year with Izi Dream in the French LFL to partner him in the bot lane. The two were a successful duo together in 2020 and will be looking to replicate that success once again.
Also joining the team is another name familiar to Rogue on the region, jungler Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin, who was part of the successful Bombers line that took out the 2019 Split 1 title. After stints in Turkey and Brazil that saw some controversy, BalKhan spent the last three splits away from competitive play and is now looking to return to his best.
Fellow Korean Cha “Yuri” Hee-min completes the line-up, joining the team playing the previous split in the CBLOL for Split 2 runners-up Rensga — he’s looking to make it one better in the LCO in 2022.
This team should be a contender; they have big names and proven talents in all roles, and they will be the team most likely to push the Chiefs in crown contention.
The only question lies in whether they’ll be on the same page early; with their two Korean stars having only arrived in the country less than 72 hours before the start of the split, practice will be light and they might find it hard early, but should settle into becoming a powerhouse pretty quickly.
Season 2022 will see the Oceanic region push to climb the mountain that is LCO once more. Whilst not every team is equal in strength, these eight organisations have put forward rosters that should bring interesting League of Legends competition to this region once again.
The 2022 season of LCO kicks off tonight at 6 pm AEDT with the defending champions Peace taking on Mammoth. Tune in at twitch.tv/LCO to catch all the action.