Championship Sunday at DreamHack Melbourne is here at last, and with it comes the LCO Split 2 Grand Final.
Friday saw the return to live play in what was an unexpected result. Pentanet outclassed defending champions Order in a mostly one-sided 3-0 contest.
Order’s last dance as an organisation has been denied, and thus, a new champion will be crowned by the end of today’s play.
For the final time this year join myself, as well as Callum Matthews and Reece Perry, as Oceania’s next champion, as well as Worlds’ representative, is decided once and for all.
The Panel Picks: Chiefs (Unanimous Decision)
Matthews: The final game of the LCO year has arrived. Pentanet meets the Chiefs. Coming into the year, these are the teams that many had expected to see fighting for the top spot.
Pentanet took the long route but have finally arrived at the right time. Falling 0-3 to Order in Split 1’s lower bracket final, they returned the favour on Friday, defeating the defending champions in a manner that was not expected.
An anticipated close series was turned on its head as Pentanet has finally hit their stride in the last couple of weeks — a major detriment to the squad throughout the regular season.
Veteran experience could have played a crucial element in their victory against Order with LAN experience being invaluable and a departure from recent years marred by COVID. And aren’t we glad it’s back.
Their opponents in The Chiefs have proven dominant, remaining undefeated across the season, and levelled up again in their own victory against Order last week to qualify for the grand final.
The Chiefs are no stranger from the stage. With a wealth of experience spanning numerous regions and world championship Play-In’s they come in as the clear favourites.
The best-of-five in the upper bracket final of Split 1 went down in Oceanic history as one of the greatest playoff matches. However, I do not believe that this will be the case this time around.
I am of the firm belief that The Chiefs are heads and shoulders above the rest of the league, and will prove dominant once again.
For as dominant as The Chiefs have been, it’s their completeness as a squad that proves their defining trait, being malleable to play to suit the conditions.
For Pentanet, this inability will prove their downfall, as The Chiefs will have the answers to shut down the aggressive nature of the squad and more notably shut down the bottom lane that has led them to victory in recent weeks.
I predict the Chiefs will come away with a 3-0 victory, and likely follow the one sided nature of the match ups during the regular season to an undefeated season.
However, with one key distinction. Once The Chiefs have the advantage, they will take it and close the game — a departure from the long winded closings of their previous two matches.
Taylor: The decider is here. Our world representatives and champions will be crowned, and the two top contenders will be there to settle who deserves it most.
Chiefs punched their ticket here nearly two weeks ago. A quick 3-0 against Order was all that was needed to make it today, thanks to their undefeated record.
Looking to take the juggernaut down today is Pentanet. They slayed Order on Friday with ease in a quick 3-0, denying Order’s “Last Dance” and reaffirming their position as one of LCO’s best after a shaky split.
Pentanet were able to put the pressure on from the first moment of the series, with Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin controlling the map early and draining all the resources from their opposition.
Game 2 saw more of the same, with Mark “Praedyth” Lewis showing why he was the player that delivered as he piloted his signature Aphelios to a 10/0/3 scoreline. Game 3 was the closest, but Pentanet snowballed and called time on Order’s stint in the LCO.
Pentanet has gotten themselves back in white hot form, and the timing couldn’t be better. In a split full of inconsistency and some questionable performances, they are back to the beast we expected them to be at the start of this Split.
The Chiefs, however, are a different beast entirely. The undefeated squad, 24-game win streak, the expert-chosen All-Pro team. This team is different gravy.
The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was in the Split 1 upper bracket final. This series went 3-2 in the favour of The Chiefs, in a back-and-forth series that was a contender for one of the best five-game series in Oceanic history.
However, I don’t think this is going to happen again. As much as I want this series to go long, I’m expecting a 3-0 in one way or another.
Time and time again the stage environment has proven that what we know as truth outside of it can be thrown away, and a new normal is made inside it.
Praedyth believes Pentanet has the stage buff coming into today, which if coupled with The Chiefs LAN curse in Melbourne, having lost the OPL grand final in 2018 and 2019 3-1 and 3-0 respectively at MEO, could lead to a series ripe for Pentanet’s picking.
Despite this? I have Chiefs winning. The Curse is from a different era, and should be broken. I don’t see this going long either, and bar no more technical issues, I expect an early night.
Perry: After a loser’s final game that had action and close contests that belied its 3-0 scoreline, it all comes down to this.
We have a Pentanet.GG riding the wave of an undefeated lower bracket run meeting a Chiefs riding the wave of an undefeated…well, split.
We haven’t seen Chiefs since the beginning of the playoff run, but whenever we’ve seen them, they’ve been dominant.
While they may have tried to distract us by claiming they weren’t happy with the fact that their play wasn’t bona-fide mistake-free perfect, they dispatched the obstructions on their road without serious problem.
Their paths to victory are many. Any one of their lanes can been set up to win, and Park “Arthur” Mi-reu has been good enough to set either himself or those dangerous lanes up to have an easy time of it.
When you have the best teamfighter, and arguably the best player in the league in Quin “Raes” Korebrits on your team, it is hard to go past The Chiefs to take this series.
Pentanet.GG have seen this match as one step short of their destiny made manifest. Throughout all the trials and tribulations of this inconsistent split, they have had an unshakeable, unwavering belief that they’d be right here in this match.
The last time these two teams met in Bo5 play, Mark “Praedyth’ Lewis delivered a series out of his damn mind; as his play in the LB finals reinforced, he plays big games and plays them REALLY well. This gives PGG options to exploit a numbers game in their solo lanes.
This last issue is the factor I expect to tip the series — the skirmishes and early teamfights that establish leads and let you build your plan onto the Rift.
And when The Chiefs have Arthur and Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson leading the pack, it is hard not to take the chalk here as nigh-unbackable favourites.
The Chiefs should win, and win comfortably. PGG may take a game, or even two. But it will feel almost “on accident” next to the juggernaut that is the best Chiefs team since the days of Swip3rR, Spookz and Swiffer.
Callum Matthews’ Prediction: The Chiefs 3-0
Harry Taylor’s Prediction: The Chiefs 3-0
Reece Perry’s Prediction: The Chiefs 3-1
Only one can be crowned Champions.
The LCO Split 2 Grand Final is here. Pre-Show kicks off at 3.15pm AEST, with Game 1 set to go at 4pm AEST — catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.