DreamHack is here. After three long years, Oceanic League of Legends returns to the live stage in mere hours for the LCO Split 2 lower bracket final.
After falling to The Chiefs last week in the upper bracket final, Order are looking to return to the Big Dance–both to avenge their loss from last week and to defend their crown as reigning champions.
Trying to stop them is Pentanet, who are rolling into this series have cleanly taken down Kanga last Tuesday. These two teams have met once already this playoffs, as they kicked off bracket play with a five game slog.
Today’s winner books that grand final spot on Sunday against The Chiefs, who themselves are pushing not only for the OCE spot at Worlds, but an undefeated split.
Join myself and my fellow predictors Callum Matthews, as well as the returning Reece Perry, as we break down the first of two series to be played this weekend.
The Panel Picks: Order (Split Decision)
Matthews: A repeat from Split 1, Order and Pentanet meet in the consolidation final for the chance to face The Chiefs in the decider.
It has been a long road for each of these teams. For Order, the recovery from a post-MSI hangover was lengthy and it took them longer than expected to finally hit their stride in the back end of the season.
For Pentanet, the road has been topsy-turvy to say the least, with both good and bad performances scattered across the season. On a good day, Pentanet can beat anyone in the league. On a bad day, however, the script is flipped. Pentanet will be required to bring their A game if they are to beat Order.
Looking back at Order’s 3-2 victory over Pentanet to kick off the playoffs, I expect to see deviations made from the first series. Of note, I do not expect the pocket pick Zilean top to play a factor this time.
The crucial match up is likely to take place in the mid lane with a priority of removing skirmish heavy champions from the wheelhouse of Ronald “Kisee” Vo, limiting his explosive impact.
The bot lane, while important, I do not expect to see the same focus as in the first contest with Draven likely to be removed by one of the two parties, significantly warping the dynamic.
Pentanet will be required to come up with something new if they are to throw Order off guard once again, and in my opinion will likely need to adapt quickly if they are to come away with the victory.
This series is likely to be an extremely close 3-2 leaning in the favour of Order, due to greater stability and ability to adapt at the death.
Taylor: LAN is back. After 3 long years, Australia gets its first taste of League of Legends played in person once again, and I personally couldn’t think of a better series to kick off with.
Pentanet and Order opened up the playoffs just over a fortnight ago with the most competitive series of this split’s playoffs so far.
Order took an early lead, obtaining series point after the first two games, with the potential of a sweep very likely. Pentanet, however, were able to breath life back into the series, taking game three and four in relatively easy fashion, forcing a decider.
Order ultimately proved they were the better side that day, taking the victory and moved on in the winner bracket, whilst Pentanet saw themselves fall into the lower side.
The second week of the playoffs saw these two squads be on the opposite sides of a 3-0. Order was dispatched in relative ease by the still undefeated Chiefs, whilst Pentanet put a hard stop to the plucky underdog Kanga was on.
This leads to today. Order and Pentanet will both want to prove they are the team best equipped to have the last chance to slay the juggernauts on Sunday. If they want that opportunity they will need to bring their absolute best.
Both of these teams have been rocked by inconsistency this split–one night they can be putting on a five star classic, but the next game be the loser of a quick squash match.
I see the key to victory today being having the stronger presence in both the jungle and the bot lane. For better or for worse Pentanet’s Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-Jin performance in the jungle is a key factor in the success of Pentanet in most games this split, and Order’s Jeong “Goodo” Min-jae must at least match BalKhan if he is having a Worlds-level performance, or surpass him if he is on the down low.
The bot lane should be an explosive one, neither of the duos are afraid to fight early and often, and whoever gains the early advantage will easily snowball their way to victory.
Personally I have found this series very hard to pick a winner. I fully expect (and hope for) five games, but who will win that deciding game could come down to a coinflip.
Ultimately, my gut instinct says Order in five based on the previous playoff head-to-head and is what I will officially predict; however, I would not be shocked in the slightest if Pentanet take this out.
Perry: Boom, Boom, Boom Clap.
While the other half of the marquee DreamHack events has the utility, grenades and C4 plants of a rollicking, explosive good time, the LCO promises to bring their own.
Pentanet.GG and Order are two of the most volatile teams the league boasts, and they’re sure to combust (again) when they collide on Friday night.
Don’t believe the false bravado from either side, either. I see a series that is even closer than the score line will reflect (even if it does end up going the full five). You just can’t rely on any indicator from these teams.
Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander has had his fair share to say about the inconsistency and the lack of quality within Order’s opponents this split. But Methinks He Doth Protest Too Much. He is personally about the only one I couldn’t say remarks about the consistency of his play.
An honourable mention also must go to Ian “Corporal” Pearse, who has had a steadying split after what I will politely call a helter-skelter one to open.
The true source of Order’s volatility, for me, lies in the mid lane. Ronald “Kisee” Vo has put up BIG performances this whole year, and BIG performances in BIG games. You could make a case that he’s Brandon “Claire” Nguyen for a new age–reborn after Claire’s retirement.
But when he’s bad, he’s horrid. I still can’t bring myself to say he’ll be a known quantity for this series. I don’t trust as far as he can throw.
On the other side of the coin, the Split 2 of Pentanet.GG has had their consistency issues well documented. But for my money, they’ve gone from Clown Car to Cruise Missile as the playoffs have evolved.
A better start from PGG could easily see them envelop Order before they get their sea legs under them.
Their result will revolve around Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-Jin. He’s their go-button and their safety blanket. He’s the point of their spear and the petard that may hoist them. When BalKhan hits the rift, for better or worse, he usually decides who wins.
That is not to say the team is without other options. The PGG bot lane of Mark “Praedyth” Lewis and Jake “Rogue” Sharwood can mitigate the emphasis that Order have, at times, placed on Nathan “Puma” Puma, further increasing their reliance on Kisee.
If Ryan “Chippys” Short can put BalKhan in a position to succeed with his draft and his game plan, then PGG ought to prevail.
Callum Matthews’ Prediction: Order 3-2
Harry Taylor’s Prediction: Order 3-2
Reece Perry’s Prediction: Pentanet 3-1
Only one can move onto face the Chiefs in Sunday’s Grand Final. The LCO Split 2 Playoffs resume at 6pm AEST — catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.
Follow our prediction team @ImHarryTaylor, @CDMLoL & @Ties_AU on Twitter.