It’s been a hell of a ride as we pull into the LCO Grand Finals.
After the end of the triple round-robin over the nine-week regular season, the top five teams formed the field of playoff contenders. In order of seeded rank: the Chiefs Esports Club (19W-2L), Peace (15-6), Pentanet.GG (15-6), Order (11-10) & Dire Wolves (10-11) — all qualified for a chance at the first LCO trophy in 2022 and a prized opportunity to represent the Oceanic league abroad at the Mid-Season Invitational which recently was announced to be held in Busan, South Korea in May.
The top three seeds had the luxury of dropping a set on an off day before playing for their tournament lives in the lower bracket. However, that was never necessary for Dragon “Dragku” Guo and the veterans on the Chiefs’ side.
In Round 1 PGG usurped Peace and earned a chance at the first seeded and strong favorites, Chiefs — but after an exciting five-game series, maybe the best in Oceanic history, the Chiefs emerged victoriously and earned a direct ticket to the Grand Finals, tonight.
In the lower bracket, Order ran over every team put in their way.
First, Dire Wolves, the ones closest to them in the standing proved no resistance after the jitters from game one were in the rearview. Peace who had been knocked down by Pentanet seemed shellshocked and couldn’t gain a foothold against Nathan “Puma” Puma and the rest of the Order lineup. Next, it was Pentanet-themselves, and despite it all, Order knocked it out of the park and completed the arduous task of qualifying for the Grand Finals from stage one of the lower bracket — neatly taking care of business in nine games, all wins since the postseason began.
The Panel Picks The Chiefs (Unanimous Decision):
Taylor: The grand final is here. When the season started back in late January the entire goal for all eight teams in the LCO came out with a focus on making it to this Mid-April date with destiny.
Since then, the two strongest contenders have emerged and will face each other tonight for the title and the right to head to Busan, South Korea, to face the world’s best at the Mid-season Invitational.
The paths these two contenders took to get to this point have been very different. The Chiefs forged their way to this game through their sheer regular-season dominance. A 19-2 record granted them a bye to the upper bracket final.
Whilst they may have gotten pushed and frankly a bit lucky, they were able to secure their spot in the final after a five-game classic against Pentanet a fortnight ago.
Order, however, went off the beaten path. A respectable 11-10 record saw them start their playoff run in the first round of the lower bracket, facing three must-win series.
Order stood up to the task ahead of them and tackled it with full force, making a perfect 9-0 run so far in the playoffs, which besides a shaky first game against the Dire Wolves in their opening contest, has also been in dominant fashion.
When these two teams meet, I believe that the Chiefs will put to stop to the Order train. The all-pro bot lane of Quin “Raes” Korebrits and Dragon “Dragku” Guo, critical for the success of The Chiefs so far, should run amok against Nathan “Puma” Puma and Ian “Corporal” Pearse and put games out of grasp for Order.
I don’t think Order will be taken down easily though. I expect them to put up a fight and get a win or possibly even two, but at the end of the day, I see this as The Chiefs split to lose.
Chiefs 3-1 Order
Perry: It’s time to crown a champion.
The devil we know, the one we all penned into the finals, the former perennial kings — The Chiefs. And Order, apparently one that only I didn’t see coming, as I’ve predicted against them every match after their layup against DW. And I’ve been wrong twice in a row.
I’ll run it top-to-bottom.
Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon and Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander match up in intriguing fashion – both add similar strengths to their teams. I think at the upper limit, Topoon is just a better version of BioPanther, with a much higher ceiling. But I also think that Bio’s floor is a little higher than Topoon’s. A top disaster is much worse for the Chiefs than it will be for Order.
Jungle is Order’s biggest edge this series. Shane “Kevy” Allen has run roughshod over these playoffs, outperforming all in his wake. Park “Arthur” Mi-reu has been in fine form of his own, but Kevy has just been a leap ahead – to date, anyway.
I think if Order can secure a matchup edge, or find a lane with a 2v2 or other skirmishing advantage for Kevy, and then leverage that outward into other lanes, then Order starts to ask questions of the Chiefs that we’ve only seen Pentanet pose to them over the last eight or so weeks.
Mid lane is the part of the map I would highlight for Order to focus on. You simply cannot let James “Tally” Shute get away with a neutralized lane in this series. He is too good on the map, has too much experience, and team fights too well for that. Order will need to put him under the thumb of Kevy, or preferably, his lane opponent in Ronald “Kisee” Vo, and keep him there, all series long.
Chiefs will settle for literally anything that isn’t the above scenario. In anything other than the above, Tally finds ways to impact series that his direct opponent can’t match.
Bot lane is where I expect Chiefs to win the matchup. I think they just have Order covered. Nathan “Puma” Puma is, as I have covered before, Order’s best player, but Quin “Raes” Korebrits is the best player in the league.
Ian “Corporal” Pearse has finally unlocked his Nautilus from whatever elo hell it was sitting in and has been much better this playoffs as a result, but Dragon “Dragku” Guo is one of the best team-fighting supports in the league, and one of the better overall team-fighters so I favour the Chiefs’ duo here.
Everything in my being screams that the Chiefs should comfortably win this match. Aside from that everything that has eventuated this playoffs shows that Order doesn’t care about that.
When you look at these players, how they match up, and where the path of least resistance to victory lays, I think that is what ultimately splits the difference for me, and has me follow my instinct to a Chiefs victory.
This is definitely a winnable series for Order. The one skill they have shown throughout this playoffs that is above and beyond all the teams that made it is to identify and play towards their win conditions. They’ll need to do this better than they’ve ever done it before to bring home a first League of Legends title for the organisation.
Chiefs 3-1 Order
We now cross live to my fiancee, who doesn’t play or watch League of Legends (unless I put it on the TV), for her pick.
Rapture (AKA Lady Ties): I think Chiefs will win because Tally and Raes are good. Also Tally and Coach Babip have such cute baby faces.
Chiefs 3-? Order
And back to your regular panel programming…
Hoàng: I think despite Order’s truly great run in the post-season playoffs, the Chiefs may well still be a cut above.
Order’s solo laners, Ronald “Kisee” Vo and Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander have greatly improved significantly as the playoffs began — deftly dealing with even PGG’s Kim “Winterer” Dong-geun and Cha “Yuri” Hee-min last week. I really hope we see interesting picks between the two of them as they try to navigate beating the Chiefs’ solo aces in Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon and James “Tally” Shute who are both best known for their antics post-laning.
Shane “Kevy” Allen should attempt to set the pace of Order’s game plan but I have a difficult time identifying where he can actually sway a meaningful lead without draft details. Most people would point squarely at Nathan “Puma” Puma, he’s been one of the key factors in Order’s success this season — but my worry is seeing so much action bot lane would actually feed into getting Quin “Raes” Korebrits ahead in the long run.
I definitely rate Dragon “Dragku” Guo over Ian “Corporal” Pearse, and see them performing similar utility roles and being primary or secondary engagers for their respective teams. But in terms of synergy, Dragku links up so well with the Chiefs quietly achieving jungler, Park “Arthur” Mi-reu to the point that I have no doubts that they will be able to safely lock up early dragons — before seeking out late-game teamfights which they are so well known for.
I expect some unusual one-off picks during the series, but I’m really hoping that Order can keep the Chiefs guessing throughout the series, otherwise I think Order will be ending this run without the title.
Chiefs 3-1 Order
It’s all or nothing. There’s only one trophy, only one spot at MSI up for grabs, and only one Split 1 Champion. Will it be Chiefs or Order? Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.