The playoffs are here. Nine weeks of regular season play has seen the LCO’s 8 teams become five playoff contenders all vowing for the title and a trip to the mid-season invitational.
The day’s first match-up will see Peace and Pentanet take each other on in the upper bracket, where the winner will move on to face The Chiefs in the upper bracket final. For the loser, they’ll receive a second chance as they drop down to the lower bracket.
In this game though, there is no second chance. Order and Dire Wolves will come face-to-face as they look to keep their title and MSI dreams alive. Both teams will be looking to recreate the heroics of Peace from last winter, looking to run the lower bracket gauntlet and become the unexpected kings of Oceania.
Join myself, and my fellow prediction writers Reece Perry and San Hoàng as we break down the second game of the day, as Order take on the Dire Wolves in this do-or-die matchup.
The Panel Picks: ORDER (Unanimous Decision)
Hoàng: The conversation surrounding the matchup between Order and Dire Wolves has changed dramatically throughout Split 1.
From a signings point-of-view, Order retained two of their 2021 core superstars in jungler Shane “Kevy” Allen and bot laner Nathan “Puma” Puma, and rounding out their roster with other known Oceanic contenders and a returning Ian “Corporal” Pearse.
While Dire Wolves had basically built from the ground up — so the defacto spotlight primarily fell on Nathan “Kyose” Bacha in mid and at times James “Frosts” Paterson in bot.
Certainly, there’s something to be said about having experience in the playoffs race in the storied careers of Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander and co. But with DW on the rise in recent weeks, now the question is can the Wolfpack bare their teeth and decisively surpass Order?
Over the course of the nine week season, the rookies in Cameron “Zorenous” Abbott and Drekani “Bulldog” Akuhata have seen solid stage-time and have been coming along as developing prospects — but the pressure will be on them to take multiple advantageous drafts to hopefully stake a decent foothold in the series.
It should be noted that Dire Wolves’ support could vary from game to game in theory, since they have actively been swapping between Bulldog and Brendan “Shinki” Ngo — though I wouldn’t say that that would sway the bottom lane matchup all that much.
I think there is a world where Dire Wolves could eek a game win, but it would be a dramatic upset for them to take a series to usher in the best-of-fives for the LCO this year, and ultimately I don’t quite see it panning out.
But if it were to happen, look to Jeong “Goodo” Min-jae to try his luck stifling Kevy’s pathing with the help of Kyose’s signature assassins like LeBlanc and Ahri to push the pace of games and prying control from Order’s grasp. Though in reality, I anticipate pretty comprehensive tutorial-style wins from Order.
ORDER 3-0 Dire Wolves
Perry: This match is full of intrigue that frankly shouldn’t be there. Order have, for my money, the best five players top to bottom, and the best player in the server in Nathan “Puma” Puma (and the second best for that matter, in Shane “Kevy” Allen.)
Normally this would be good enough for a fairly comfortable win, but Order just can’t seem to get out of their own way. They’re the main rake-steppers in the league.
In the top lane, Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander has tried to step away from his historical comfort zone in terms of champion pool, and I feel like he is still the same formidable laner he’s always been. But his teamfight and midgame impact has not been the same.
He’s always been a superb teleporter, and I wonder if the consistent TP nerfs have finally diminished his best.
On the other half of the map, I continue to be only disappointed by Ian “Corporal” Pearse. He left the region as a bottom-tier support, and returns to be… not that much better. He’s an utter front-runner who is all but irrelevant when the team falls behind. And his Nautilus is the stuff of nightmares. Not for nothing, Order, but Decoy just became available.
But they’re still all better than their DW counterparts. Cameron “Zorenous” Abbott is inconsistent and they still have the same underwhelming bot lane as they’ve always had. They’re a mid/jungle away from the Kanga/Mammoth tier
Now, everything being said that DW mid/jungle of Jeong “Goodo” Min-jae and Nathan “Kyose” Bacha are bona fide match-winners when they fire. And Order are, as I said above, prone to tripping over themselves. So I expect a few rakes to be stepped on. But not by enough to matter. Order will take the chocolates today.
ORDER 3-2 Dire Wolves
Taylor: Both of these teams, just like everyone else in the playoffs, will have their eyes focused on the ultimate prize within Oceanic League of Legends — the LCO title and the international tournament invite it provides. Unlike everyone else, though these two teams will come into tomorrow knowing they will have to put in the hard yards to get it.
Both Order & Dire Wolves have been close throughout the split in terms of skill level and this shall create a competitive series because of it. But these two teams have drastically different levels of experience when it comes to the playoffs.
For Order, all of the rosters has been through the playoffs pressure cooker before to varying levels of success, ranging from former champions to players still looking for their first major Bo5 series win. The Melbourne based org will also be looking to not have a repeat of 2021, where they saw themselves only pick up two maps in thre best-of-five series.
For the Dire Wolves, however, everyone, including the coaching staff will be entering their first major best of five series. With most not expecting the team to even make it to this stage, I expect the team to put in their all to keep surprising the expectations. An underdog spirit lies within this team and they will not be pushed over easily and will fight tooth and nail to win this series.
Ultimately, I think Order’s previous experience in high-pressure situations will prevail and they will take the series in a five game belter.
ORDER 3-2 Dire Wolves
Order take on Dire Wolves in the do-or-die match at 8pm AEDT. Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.