The playoffs are here. Nine weeks of regular season play and two days of playoffs has seen the LCO’s eight teams become four finals contenders, all vowing for the LCO title and a trip to the Mid-Season Invitational.
After one of the greatest series of all time last week, one might be forgiven for looking forward to Tuesday’s match and next week’s match and overlooking this.
But you’d be wrong for doing so. This has the all the hallmarks of a massively entertaining bloody brawl.
Both teams have a lot to play for. The obvious: Every match from here on out is loser-goes-home. Order have been in this mode since the get-go. The winner of this best-of-five will go on to meet Pentanet with a place in the grand finals, set for April 11.
Last week saw Pentanet.GG pummel a hapless Peace, while Order made no mistake (at least in terms of dropping games) over a spritely Dire Wolves to put each side into this match.
Those who are keen to watch a bit of a biff, read on to see who our panel of peerless predictors are picking to prevail in this contest of pugilists.
The Panel Picks: Peace (Split Decision)
Taylor: From here on out there are no more second chances. A series loss is the end of the split for the defeated, whilst the victor keeps their dream alive of the LCO title and a trip to Busan for the Mid-Season Invitational alive for at least another day.
Peace comes into this game looking to dodge a repeat of seven days ago. The defending champions were absolutely outclassed by Pentanet in their upper bracket tilt, being easily swept 3-0 in a series where they never really got into the game.
Now having gone 5-8 for the month of March, Peace will have to turn that form around now or risk not being seen in a competitive game until June.
Order will come into this game looking to repeat the magnificent gauntlet run of their opponent from the last split. Their run started with them confidently handling the Dire Wolves, coming out 3-0 victors.
Game one was a close affair that ultimately one critical Baron call by Order, before a very smooth and easy sailing in games two and three.
These two teams met at this stage of the last playoffs in what I consider the series of the tournament. And although only 3 of the 10 players in that series will be in today’s game, I still expect to see a repeat of that series.
Even with Peace having the upper hand against Order in the regular season, their documented slip in form over the last month coming up against a highly motivated and confident Order will open this series wide up. I do however expect Peace to work it out just enough to squeak over the line and move onto a rematch with Pentanet, but this could easily go either way.
Peace 3-2 Order
Hoàng: Order needs to clean up some of their late-game team fighting in these high-stakes games — some of their game one skirmishes were dangerously close to toppling into more substantial gains for Dire Wolves.
But otherwise, the team is at its best when they lean into directly supporting and feeding their softly spoken beast, Nathan “Puma” Puma. The bot lane ace played Miss Fortune and Vayne in their winning efforts against DW, sweeping them 3-0. After a shaky first map, each consecutive game was more and more decisive.
Peace has been rallying behind mid laner Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing who, despite his best efforts, couldn’t manifest a victory over Pentanet in their Bo5. Favouring mobile assassins like Ahri and LeBlanc, he’ll have to make his presence felt in pivotal moments in this do-or-die series.
Romeo “Thien” Tran has shown a disposition towards a high variance piece in Peace’s arsenal. High DPM and can lane decently enough, but it’s rare that he isn’t the death leader in the games he’s in. I can’t help but predict Shane “Kevy” Allen making the top gap wider.
To my point, Peace’s form as a team seems slightly off-kilter and unless we see a different team on Summoner’s Rift tonight, I don’t think they will be able to end Order’s run.
Order 3-1 Peace
Perry: I like Order on paper, I really do. I rate Ronald “Kisee” Vo, and the pedigree in plaudits of Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander and Shane “Kevy” Allen cannot be understated.
Nathan “Puma” Puma has been a step behind his best self, but that’s still a mean player and one that commands respect.
In fact, there’s been a lot of talk about Order being the team to pick in this match, especially from the streams of their compatriots.
But as I look at what matters in best-of-fives historically — mostly in Oceania, but this is a trend I’ve noticed over time globally as well — the main factors point towards a Peace victory.
I think Order’s two strong points are Kevy and Puma, and Peace has Puma covered with Wang “Chayon” Yun-Cheng.
Thomas “LeeSA” Ma has trended downwards of late, but on his day is a match for Kevy.
Overall, that requires someone to step up in other roles to be an alternative path to victory. Not that this can’t happen – Kisee and BioPanther are both more than capable of being this for their teams, but it’s harder to ask a player to step up and carry an entire best of five.
Part of the reason it was so impressive when Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland did it in best of fives from years gone by is for that exact reason.
Further adding to the difficulty for Order to find a place to play through is in Peace’s mid Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing. While he has added an ability to hard carry to his repertoire of being a lane-neutralizing force, but that is still his origin, which makes things all the harder for Kisee.
Now, there is a massive caveat to all of this, and it is the elephant in Peace’s room over the last month or so — and that is the utter nosedive of Peace’s form. They have lost a lot of games of late, and they have looked progressively worse as the losses have piled up. It is a loss streak reminiscent of the one they had before their roster carousel of Split 2 last year.
In fact, it feels even worse.
The biggest thing that Order may have in their favour is that you can’t possibly evaluate Peace reasonably on paper, because they’re playing so much worse than any scouting report you could do on their players.
But this brings me back to the trend that I mentioned before. The sum of these factors is that it’s Peace that controls who wins this match. If they win, it will be because of things playing in their favour as one would nominally expect. If they lose, it will be the final splat of Peace’s split one falling off a cliff.
And when you look at it, whether they win or lose, it’ll be because of Peace. And I don’t think they can mess it up three out of fives times.
Ahem, excuse me. They most definitely can mess it up that many times. But my prediction is that they won’t.
Peace 3-1 Order
A do-or-die matchup between two fan favourite orgs with a ticket to the lower bracket finals on the line. Who will contest Pentanet.GG, Peace or Order? Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.