The playoffs are here. Nine weeks of regular season play and two days of playoffs has seen the LCO’s eight teams become three finals contenders, all vowing for the LCO title and a trip to the Mid-Season Invitational in Busan next month.
Last night saw Order take the next step in running the bracket, in what is quickly becoming a Cinderella run as they took down Peace, who have seen themselves crumble over the last month.
The 3-0 series was dominated from minute one by Shane “Kevy” Allen and co, especially in the third and final game where Kevy posted a 19/2/4 score on Graves to wrap up the series in style.
The Chiefs have already locked in their spot in the Big Dance by virtue of winning one of, if not the greatest, single series ever played in Oceanic League of Legends history.
Today will decide their partner for the finals foxtrot. Will it be a reunion with Pentanet with whom they burned the house down with just last week, or will it be a new battle with the rising star in Order?
Join myself and my fellow prediction panellists Reece Perry and San Hoàng as we break down the lower bracket’s final stop before a new LCO champion is chosen next week.
The Panel Picks: Pentanet (Split Decision)
Taylor: Pentanet comes back into the playoff bracket after a night off last night to scout the competition, but they will enter tonight against an opponent they may not have initially expected to see.
Peace, having crumpled to now a 5-11 record for March and April, were easily swept by Order, who are certainly on the come up.
This team; the underdogs, the rising stars, whatever you may like to refer to them by, have become a well-oiled and unstoppable machine so far this playoff run. Besides a back and forth game one against Dire Wolves, the Order train has been non-stop thus far, with their destination set towards Busan.
Pentanet will be looking to put a stop to this train however and are very capable to do so. They are the next step up in terms of class and calibre of opposition compared to what Order has faced so far. They will also be willed on by wanting to get a chance for revenge over the Chiefs after their classic last week, in a series which if it wasn’t for a couple of costly mistakes, would have gone their way.
I expect these two squads to put on another potential classic, or at very least, hopefully not a 3-0 stomp. I hope for five great hard-fought games, but I see the series ultimately going to Pentanet who I think operate at a higher skill level as a roster and edge Order out in what will otherwise be a competitive tilt.
Pentanet 3-2 Order
Hoàng: A battle of the two kings of the jungle, these sultans of smite strike terror in the hearts of laners across all the LCO. I have no doubt this will be a battle of who breaks out ahead between these two heavyweights: PGG’s Korean destroyer, Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin and Order’s gamechanger, Shane “Kevy” Allen.
The two have been integral to each team’s success over Split 1 and are very much the core driving forces on their respective teams. Now that we have seen them in series play, we know they don’t seem to let up on the pressure either. So laners, beware! Expect Graves, Hecarim and Lee Sin to be heavily contested.
I hope Evelynn gets some stage time, but for some inexplicable reason (answer: Kevelynn), she’s the 6th most banned champion in playoffs!
If there is a slow start in the jungle though, both pairs of mid and bot carries across Order and Pentanet will have opportunities to shine. Nathan “Puma” Puma in particular has been ascending to great heights, regularly backing up his steller laning with Order’s late-game insurance policy often being with the deep investment into utility via Ronald “Kisee” Vo and Ian “Corporal” Pearse keeping the beast of bot lane alive.
I’m backing Order to take this series. There’s no denying Cha “Yuri” Hee-min and Kim “Winterer” Dong-geun’s recent improvement since the playoffs began; so if we know one thing loading into this best-of-five, Puma will be Summoner’s Rift’s most wanted.
That said, I think he and the Melbourne crew can make it to the Grand Finals.
Order 3-1 Pentanet
Perry: It’s hard to grasp what happened last night. I can’t parse the level of performance of the two teams.
On the one hand, it is very easy to be effervescent in my praise for an incredible Order performance. Ably led by series MVP Nathan “Puma” Puma and Shane “Kevy” Allen, and supported by a resurgent Ian “Corporal” Pearse, Order put Peace to the sword.
On the other hand, one cannot separate the achievement of Order from the — and let me be clear as I can be when I say this…
Tepid, festering, insipid, gutter-tier, rancid abomination
…of a showing that Peace put forward.
It is almost a shame that Order so convincingly crushed this Peace effort because it becomes hard to quantify what it means. I can’t tell you what they could reasonably expect to replicate because I’ve never seen a team play so far below their skill level as I did last night.
Looking forward to today, then. If Kevy is given the ability to deal damage, he is very, very good at it. Expect fireworks if each team lets their junglers collide — it’s volatile enough to tilt an entire game.
If the game becomes about an ADC skill check, Puma is one of a very small number of players I’d put ahead of Mark “Praedyth” Lewis on paper. Praedyth is coming into this match on an absolute heater in terms of form, though, so while normally I’d recommend this to Order, I would be cautious about that approach on this occasion.
The simple fact of the matter is that Pentanet have more firepower. They should win this series, and comfortably.
So how do Order get themselves to another grand final? I think that their best shot lies in early/mid-game skirmishing and team fights. Bring your top half of the map to objectives and beat PGG to the punch. If they can do that then they can dictate the terms of the game. If PGG can beat them from there, then there isn’t much else to do but tip your cap.
If they play on PGG’s terms, then they’ve shown that they’re more than good enough to dispatch anyone in the league with apparent ease.
I’m still picking a sweep here, but before last night I’d have said in less than 90 total minutes. Now, anything is possible.
I’m just picking what’s probable.
Pentanet 3-0 Order
Pentanet enjoyed the benefit of the extra day off, while Order are looking to storm home from the deep. Who will emerge to challenge the almighty Chiefs in next week’s Grand Final? Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.