We’re only a few hours out from the LCO Split 1 Grand Final. Your two finalists in The Chiefs and Order have had two remarkably different seasons and playoffs journeys to make it to this historic clash. For some, it’s a return to the summit, for others it’s their steepest ascent to date.
Not only will we forge a new LCO Champion but the winning team will also accept the opportunity to be the Oceanic representative at the Mid-Season Invitational, set to take place in Busan, South Korea in May.
For most of The Chiefs roster, success has almost been an unspoken expectation.
From top-to-bottom, this team is mightily stacked. One of their many blessings this season was definitely a sense of poise in stage games, and the overall cohesion of their roster.
The trio of Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon, James “Tally” Shute, and Quin “Raes” Korebrits qualified for Worlds on a white-hot Legacy roster in 2020, defeating a red-and-black era Order 3-1. The three would also go on to have opportunities to play abroad in North America before eventually returning to the Oceanic scene.
In the early months of 2022, The Chiefs would reunite that core trio and link them up with fellow journeyman Park “Arthur” Mi-reu, who played in LCK with Hanwha Life. The final piece — the support, the only player who stayed on The Chiefs roster from 2021 — Dragon “Dragku” Guo.
Dragku was already a mainstay since LCO began competition last year; he also played in the last season of OPL on Avant Gaming, alongside future Peace stars like Vincent “Violet” Wong — who would go on to sign with Golden Guardians Academy — and Thomas “LeeSA” Ma.
But he isn’t content just sitting on the fringe, and keenly awaits his opportunity to play for the title of champion.
“I think our team has gotten a lot better with teamplay since week one”, Dragku said to Snowball Esports. “We were pretty ‘solo-queue-ish’ in mentality.
“We always thought we would be the best team.”
In many ways, throughout the season The Chiefs proved just that. They outpaced most LCO teams en route to the playoffs, achieving a ladder-topping 19-2 record and earning themselves the top seed. In order to earn their slot in the finals tonight, The Chiefs had to defeat Pentanet in a thrilling series that went the full distance.
Pentanet, to many, was in contention for the finals — but that’s certainly not how Order saw it.
Order qualified for playoffs going 11W-10L during the nine-week season. As the fourth seed, Order had to win from the beginning or face an ‘early trip home’. Ultimately, they sent every other contender packing: Dire Wolves, Peace, and then amazingly, Pentanet as well — amassing a 9-0 record in the post-season.
But that’s about as far as Order can go in the eyes of Chiefs’ support Dragku.
“I wouldn’t say Order is a free win by any means,” Dragku said, suggesting that he doesn’t think it’ll be a 3-0 in either team’s favour.
“But we are just five better individuals gameplay-wise and experience-wise. The first game [will] really show a team’s form and from there, how each team keeps their composure.”
“Order has always been a top three team along with us and PGG, the players are all very talented. Those are players I would’ve loved to play with…only if my team didn’t exist.
“Order early on was very carry orientated, but I can see they’ve evolved as a team, just as we have.”
Just a few hours out from what should be a gruelling best-of-5 final, Dragku is above all just happy to be at his first OCE Big Dance.
“It feels great knowing I’ve finally reached my first Finals after three years. For my teammates, however, I think everyone is already quite established as players and have been in multiple finals.”
“Everyone is of course happy to be in the Grand Finals, but for me, it’s special as it’s my first time.”
Tonight, we find out who will take it all. In this final series, The Chiefs will have to live up to their high standard, or otherwise, they’ll fall victim to a fiery Order who have ground out all other challengers as they’ve risen to the occasion.
The battle for the LCO Split 1 Championship begins tonight at 6pm AEST — stay tuned to our ultimate coverage hub for the latest in the LCO.