The return of the LCO in 2023 marks the beginning of the PCS era. Major shifts in the LCO landscape occurred at the end of the last year, with the removal of Oceania’s direct MSI and World Championship slots.
The change in status marks an important change in player residency, with Oceanic players becoming PCS residents. This means that all PCS residents moving forward will be welcome to play in the LCO without taking up an import slot.
As time progresses, this will hopefully expand the competitiveness of the LCO both internally and externally. It has been well documented that one of the LCO’s greatest struggles are those provided by the geographic location of the league and the population size.
Peace are the first team to look to take advantage of the change in ruling, signing a primarily Taiwanese line-up. This also saw the Peace social media strategy shift away from catering to the primary LCO audience with roster announcements occurring on Douyin and Weibo.
Because of the above, it will be particularly interesting to track Peace over the course of the season as they become the litmus test for years to come.
Unfortunately, we’ll be waiting a week until we get to see them in action, as Peace have been forced to forfeit their opening week due to incomplete documentation.
Alongside the shift in Oceania’s status, we say goodbye to perennial bottom dwellers Gravitas (finally) and Split 1 2022 winners Order as we welcome Bliss and Ground Zero to the LCO.
Bliss will be stepping into the fire as they take on the defending champions The Chiefs as the Queenslanders go head-to-head in our first match of the year.
Matthews’ Pick of the Week – Chiefs vs Bliss
The season opener introduces us to the revamped defending champions in Chiefs after the departures of their top side Topoon, Arthur and Tally.
These three leave exceptionally large holes in their wake that only a few players could ever hope to fill.
But The Chiefs have managed to do just that — bringing in BioPanther and Kisee, while Babip moves from the coaching position to the starting jungle position.
These changes will see a significant change in the way that The Chiefs will play in 2023, particularly due to the shift from Tally to Kisee — two players who stylistically serve opposite functions.
Dominating mid lane 2v2 control will likely be the driving force for The Chiefs in 2023 before proceeding to transition the leads into dominate bot lane duo Raes and Aladoric who make their returns.
On the other side, newcomers Bliss have broken from the shackles of Gravitas, signing a majority of last years Kanga roster. Picking up Lived, Leemas and Benvi, the core made a late split surge to playoffs after a woeful early season.
To fill in the gaps, Whynot comes in to the jungle, waiting on the side-lines for many years, and will finally grace the rift as a fully fledged starter. In the mid lane, Daystar comes in as the latest Korean mid lane import to the LCO shores.
Bliss have their work cut out for them in week one, going against the top talent the LCO has to offer. However, I do believe that they will be able to make the game competitive.
The performance of Bliss will likely hinge on the performances of unknown quantity Daystar. With the return of Chazz, breaking into the top three will absolutely depend on their mid laners abilities — but maybe not quite in the same likes that Kanga depended on the performances of Fighto.
Bliss are the dark horses of the LCO and are likely to fly under the radar, as the focus is placed on more long standing players and teams.
They may be slow out the gate, following the path of many before: bringing in a Korean import as the language barrier dissipates over the weeks.
Week 1 Day 1 Predictions
The LCO Split 1 resumes tonight at 6pm AEST, with game of the day Bliss and The Chiefs set to open the season at 6pm AEST. Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.