Newcomers Ground Zero face immediate week one test: LCO Split 1 Team Preview

It won't be an easy start, but GZ are ready for their Rift debut this split.

With only one day remaining before the start of Split 1 of the 2023 LCO Season, we’ve got two more contenders to look at. Debutants Ground Zero enter the Rift, hoping to shake up the competition with a bit of new blood.

For those unaware, Ground Zero is no stranger when it comes to Oceanic esports. Founded in 2017, they’ve found success across multiple titles, including Rocket League, Pokemon Unite, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros and NBA2K.

And in 2023, they’ll be adding League of Legends to that list.

This is Ground Zero’s first foray into higher-tier League of Legends, intending to “add the globally popular game title to [their] portfolio.”

“The LCO is one of the most impressive leagues in Oceania”, said Ground Zero CEO Beau Melia. “We’re excited to add the Ground Zero brand into the mix, and provide an opportunity for Australian talent to showcase their skills on the world stage.”

The Perth-based organisation purchased the LCO slot previously occupied by Order, who entered administration last August.

With Order’s demise in the latter part of 2022, Ground Zero is looking to claim their space within the circuit. However, if they want to live up to Order’s standards, they’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill.

Officially announcing their roster yesterday, Ground Zero’s debut to the LCO will also feature a number of new faces to the top-flight league.

First up is Thomas “Tron” Garnsworthy up in the top lane. After competing with Mammoth for Split 1 last year, the 20-year-old dropped back to team substitute for Split 2 behind Daniel “papryze” Francis. He returns to the starting top lane role now with GZ.

Tron will be playing with two other experienced LCO players — both Alvin “Dante” Wong and Drekani “Bulldawg” Akuhata will be representing Ground Zero in the bot lane after their time with Dire Wolves.

Alongside those is jungler Jason “Gooby” Nguyen. Whilst having a brief stint with the Chiefs as a substitute jungler, he’s looking to prove himself on a permanent LCO roster.

Finally in the mid-lane, An Quoc “mfis” Phan is new to the LCO, the young challenger at only 19 years old will be competing against some of the league’s greatest to stand out.

The organisation has also listed three substitutes, with former Gravitas top laner Rhys “Toppy” Topham, ex-Mammoth support Sean “Ali G” Lancaster and new jungler Carter “Invictis” Brewer rounding out GZ’s bench.

The new squad will have their work cut out for them right off the bat, facing off against both 2022 Split 2 finalists in Pentanet and The Chiefs in their first week in the LCO.

Most will be excited for their final week two match, which will see them go up against fellow LCO debutants Team Bliss, in what will surely be a great progress indicator.

Fresh-faced and bushy-tailed, Ground Zero will definitely be looking to prove themselves as not only an org but a team within the league from the outset. However, they’ve got a tough battle ahead of them facing off against arguably the top two squads within the first week.

One sleep left. The 2023 LCO Split 1 is right around the corner, and over the weekend Snowball Esports will preview each squad ahead of the season opener. Follow Snowball Esports for the up to date details and predictions as season 2023 begins.

PhotographyGround Zero
Liam Ho
Liam Ho
Liam is a Media student in his fourth year at UNSW Sydney. If he's not watching or playing games he's probably writing or at least thinking about them. You'll catch him playing almost anything multiplayer socializing with mates and having a grand old time. He hopes to continue his writing career into esports and the video game industry in general.



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