It’s seeding time. The finals of the group stage are upon us. After moving down to the lower brackets, both Dire Wolves and Bliss seek vengeance on their opponents Pentanet and The Chiefs in a repeat of Monday night’s matches.
Dire Wolves and Bliss both bounced back last night in dominating fashion — but as we know in the LCO a clear divide is drawn between the top four and the rest.
Anything but domination would have boded poorly for their chances at victory this evening.
The matches this evening may deviate from matches played on Monday, and while a respectable litmus test took place, the likelihood that we would return where we started was astronomically high. This has provided all parties with adequate time to perform last-minute adaptations.
Due to the nature of the format and strength of teams, it is also possible that full hands were not revealed on Monday, and saved for the more important of the two series this week.
For the challengers, learnings from the first series are invaluable and how these teams adapt will prove crucial in determining this evening’s victors.
Callum’s Pick of the Week — Dire Wolves v Pentanet
In our evening opener we look back to Monday, where Pentanet unexpectedly took out the Dire Wolves. Two wins to zero.
Pentanet, in their first challenge since returning from the mid split break, have come in far more refined than previously seen. More importantly, stylistically there has been an observable shift.
Coming into the group stage Pentanet was very much unrefined, playing a heavily skirmish oriented style, which led to very clear strengths and weaknesses being shown. This is likely to have stemmed from practice against teams in the wider PCS region.
An explosive and high impact style still exists, however refinement increases the overall consistency of performance for this squad. This makes weathering the early storm a less consistent marker for success.
For Dire Wolves, it should be noted: they certainly were not the team that finished the regular season 6-1, again only dropping a match to Pentanet.
While appearing to some degree out of form on Monday in the first match post break, last night they quickly dispatched of Mammoth — it is difficult to use this result to inform opinion as to the current standing of the Wolfpack.
Fighting fire with fire in the bottom lane, alongside muted performances on the top side of the map does not appear to be a successful tactic for the Wolves against their opponent tonight.
Without significant adaptation from Dire Wolves, I expect to see Pentanet close out the series 2-0, with improvements to performance replication being the driving factor behind the decision.
Harry’s Pick of the Week — Team Bliss vs The Chiefs
The battle of Queensland comes back once again, 48 hours removed from the previous one, as Team Bliss and the Chiefs clash in the Group B seeding match.
Team Bliss play in their third series in three nights, having taken down Kanga in a decisive and dominant 2-0 win last night.
The Kanga team, with the exception of mid laner Dmitry “fighto” Botov, honestly failed to show up on the Rift and were easily taken down by a Team Bliss who were determined to make sure they qualified for the playoffs.
The entire Bliss squad were on point as a unit in both game and will need to carry that today if they want to beat The Chiefs. Their team synergy became disjointed at times on Monday, especially during the first and third game of the series.
The Chiefs got last night off. Having taken down Bliss 2-1 on Monday, their ticket into the final four was secured and they were able to instead prepare for the seeding match today.
I fully expect to see this series go the distance once again. The series can go either way, but I see Bliss pulling it out in three games. If they can keep themselves all on the same page as a unit they become hard to beat and a force to be reckoned with.
No matter what, with the Pride of Queensland™ and a top two seeding on the line, I expect a banger today.
Week 5 Day 3 Predictions
The final round of LCO Split 1 Stage 2 begins tonight at 5pm AEDT, with the winners seeding as top two heading into Stage 3’s finals. Keep up with the LCO via our ultimate coverage hub.