The start of Split 2 of LCO Season 2022 has dawned. A new season brings a new start for all eight teams in the league clamouring for the top spot. Only two will be able to find themselves down in Melbourne for the return of live finals at DreamHack, and only one will be able to jet off overseas to Mexico City for Worlds.
A new start also brings with it a number of changes.
A bulk of the rosters have seen some kind of shuffle this off-split, the broadcast is rightfully back in the studio on a full-time basis, and even here at LCO predictions, we are seeing a change, with an all-new predictor gracing your screen from tomorrow.
We open Split 2 with defending champions Order looking to keep their domestic momentum up, even through a change in the jungle as they come up against a refreshed Gravitas.
Following that will be Pentanet, who are hungrier than ever to make their international return, taking on a reshuffled Kanga, who are looking to crack into the playoffs bracket after a disappointing debut split.
In the opening night’s closer, The Chiefs, who are red hot favourites to win Split 2–despite falling at the critical final hurdle in Split 1–will take on a revitalised Mammoth roster.
However, the game of the day belongs to the night’s third contest.
Taylor’s Pick of the Week: Peace (0-0) vs Dire Wolves (0-0)
Both Peace and the Dire Wolves saw themselves have early, fruitless exits from the playoffs last split, with neither team failing to pickup a single map win whilst being bounced out of MSI contention.
What followed was a long mid-season break where both teams realised that changes were needed if they wanted the crown of OCE’s best.
Peace have seen a change in their bot lane. After a short excursion to North America with Golden Guardian Academy, bot laner Vincent “Violet” Wong returns to Oceania and links back up with the team he became oceanic champions with in Split 2 of 2021.
Joining him is his fellow Vincent, with freshly role-swapped Vincent “gunkrab” Lin returning to the League in the support role after a split away in Europe.
Having spent most of his competitive career as the aggressive part of the duo lane, he has previously moved into the support role a handful of times with success — look to him to make the position switch work for the 2021 Worlds reps.
The Dire Wolves have all but revamped the entirety of their squad. Jungler Jeong “Goodo” Min-jae departed to join Order to fill the void created by Shane “Kevy” Allen. Also leaving was mid laner Nathan “Kyose” Bacha, bot laner Brendan “Shinki” Ngo and support James “Frosts” Paterson.
With the core of the roster gone, the Wolf Pack have had to rebuild anew from what existing pieces they have left and what they could find in free agency.
Top laner Cameron “Zorenous” Abbott remains, with support Drekani “Bulldawg” Akuhata regaining his position in the line-up full time after splitting time with Frost last split. Alvin “Dante” Wong will take up the full-time bot lane mantle after just one appearance in the role last split.
Having coached the roster in Split 1, Kim “Poltron” Nicholls will make a move into the rift as the Wolves’ new jungler. Lo “Siuman” Pak Man fills out the final vacancy in the mid lane, having spent the last 18 months away from competitive play.
With these changes to the rosters, it’s a bit hard to see who is the clear favourite to win. Both teams will need to make adjustments from their Split 1 playstyle and this will take time and practice, both in scrims and officials.
Because of this, I see this game coming down to a paper skill check and previous experience both on the Rift and with their teammates. With less of a change and more of the roster having previously played together, as well as a more experienced and skilled line-up overall, Peace should be able to take this win and open their Split 2 account.
Taylor’s Week 1 Day 1 Predictions
Order def. Gravitas
Pentanet def. Kanga
Peace def. Dire Wolves
The Chiefs def. Mammoth
The LCO split 2 begins tonight at 6pm AEST, with Peace and The Dire Wolves set to kick off at 8pm AEST. Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.
Follow @ImHarryTaylor on Twitter, and keep an eye out for our new Snowball LCO predictor in the Day 2 edition of Predictions tomorrow!