The LCO Split 2 playoffs commenced with a bang as defending champions Order took down Pentanet in a tightly contested five match contest. Tonight, an equally tough series will take place — but the stakes are undoubtedly raised.
Last night’s series of matches saw multiple draft evolutions that are to be expected from a best-of-five series going the distance, culminating in a final game with a Soraka and Zilean top lane match up – deviating significantly from the norm that has been customary for much of the year.
Falling 0-2 early in the contest, the top lane Zilean pick in game three onwards proved the turning point, with Pentanet finally stumbling at the final hurdle.
It will be intriguing to see how the play-offs meta continues to evolve as they progress deeper.
If there is any team that would be expected to follow on with this deviation it would be the Dire Wolves, with Zorenous notoriously playing off-meta, but also capatilising on the spell thief’s meta early in the year.
The ‘Wolves have definitely been on a downturn moving into their play-offs match-up this evening against an ambushing Kanga that has just gone from strength to strength as the season closed.
The Wolfpack will need to shake it up if they are hoping to come out victorious.
DW v KNG — The Panel Picks: Split Decision
Matthews: LCO newcomers Kanga defied the odds and made it to their first play-offs coming in off the back of numerous roster changes over the course of both splits.
A poor first round robin performance made it difficult for the squad coming into the back end of the season.
However, they were able to crucially defeat notables Dire Wolves and Peace in the second and third round robin stages, with the wins coming off the back of numerous roster changes — the introduction of head coach Vicarious, new support Benvi and the return of Leemas.
Expect to see a closely fought contest between the Kanga and Dire Wolves squads, as Dire Wolves should be expected to make some deviations from their in split decisions that crucially led to exploitations by Kanga.
I have harped on this point at numerous points during the season; the specialist play of Siuman, in particular against Kanga, put Dire Wolves behind the eight ball from the get go, picking non specialist picks in Orianna and Seraphine.
Kanga are likely to follow through with targeting out Siuman in the draft phase and will be looking to secure advantages.
In response, we expect to see Dire Wolves follow in kind, pushing Fighto out of his comfortable wheelhouse with a heavy focus placed on the mid lane in this play-offs series.
The curveball thrown by Pentanet last night could prove fruitful for the Dire Wolves squad this evening with the Zilean pick being playable by the squad.
In my personal opinion, the champion functions as an incredibly strong pick in the Oceanic region, denying opposition pick opportunities and warping team fights with his Chronoshift ultimate.
I expect to see Kanga push through this series 3-1 off the back of their current form, and are more likely to be capable of securing the mid lane advantage that will prove crucial for either team to follow through with the victory this evening.
Harry Taylor’s Prediction: Dire Wolves Win 3-1
Callum Matthews’ Prediction: Kanga Win 3-1
Dire Wolves. Kanga.
Only one can progress in their hunt for a spot at Worlds; for the other, an end to a season and the question of “What if?”. The action kicks off at 6pm AEST — catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.