LCO takes the long road to international qualification in 2023. With the reassembling of the League of Legends competitive landscape coming up into the 13th season, Oceania saw its biggest shake since the start of the OPL — losing its direct path to international events it has had since the beginning of 2015.
Our Aussie reps will instead have to qualify via the Pacific Championship Series Playoffs. Each split, the LCO will send their top two qualifiers to the PCS to battle against the best of South-East Asia.
This split, our two reps couldn’t be more different, outside of the location of their bases of operation — the almighty capital of esports that is Brisbane.
Team Bliss, an organisation that is still in the process of its first competitive split, shocked the LCO in their debut season in the league. Joining them is The Chiefs, a veteran org that has been here since the start of the eight-team era.
These two squads will have to face six potential PCS opponents in a double-elimination bracket, with the oceanic hopefuls sliding into the first round of the upper bracket against the third and fourth seeds of the PCS.
From there, dependent on results, they will play any of the six teams in the bracket — with the ultimate goal of winning out the PCS square in their sights.
But who are these teams that Bliss and The Chiefs will face? Join us as we go Behind Enemy Lines.
The Chiefs’ first challenger: CTBC Flying Oyster — 3rd seed, 12-6
As the second qualifier into the PCS, The Chiefs must take on the third seed from the PCS, CTBC Flying Oyster. Flying Oyster are the defending PCS champions, with a core of the roster who finished 11th-14th at last year’s world championship with the team still making up the current line-up.
Mid laner Tseng “JimieN” Hao-Chun leads the charge for the Oysters. Having spent 2022 with 100 Thieves academy, JimieN returned to his home region and became part of a very balanced and successful all-Taiwanese line-up.
Team Bliss’ first challenger: Impunity — 4th seed, 11-7
Impunity comes into the PCS playoffs having had its most successful regular season ever since joining the PCS back in 2021.
The Singaporean organisation rebuilt almost their entire roster after their early elimination from the PCS summer playoffs, retaining only jungler Chen “Alex” Yu-Ming.
They have also constructed an all-Taiwanese line-up, having acquired veteran midlaner Chen “Mission” Hsiao-Hsien and botlaner Sung “Atlen” Ya-Lun from CFO in the offseason, as well as picking up top-laner Shen “Driver” Tsung-Hua from J Team and rookie support Tsai “Natur3” Ting-Hsuan.
Driver leads the line for the team as a top laner not afraid to get aggressive but also plays the more supportive tanks as needed.
Beyond the opening round
PSG Talon — 1st seed, 15-3
PSG Talon is arguably the largest and most successful team in the region — at least during the PCS era.
After missing out on Worlds last year — the first time the club had missed an international event since their formation in 2020 — they decided to rebuild their roster almost from scratch.
Holding onto top laner Huang “Azhi” Shang-Jhih, who only played a single game in 2022, they brought in jungler Huang “Husha” Tzu-Wei, bot laner Tsou “Wako” Wei-Yang from Beyond, mid laner Chen “ubao” Chang-Chu from J Team, as well as support Lin “Woody” Yu-En from Deep Cross Gaming to build yet another Taiwanese super team.
Rounding out the lineup as a late addition is prodigy jungler Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia. JunJia had spent most of the last 3 and half years before this with the EDward Gaming, besides a one-split stay with Rare Atom as an unused substitute in Spring 2022.
He spent time with both the main LPL team and the EDG Youth Team in the LDL, before joining PSG Talon prior to week three. Since then he has led charge for this team, undefeated in all 11 games he has featured in so far.
Frank Esports — 2nd seed, 12-6
2022 was a middling season for the Hong Kong-based squad.
Coming 5-6th in both splits, the team retooled slightly, bringing in veteran support Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing from PSG Talon and top laner Mak “Solokill” Fu Keung from the Edward Gaming organisation to strengthen their all native Hong Kong line-up.
The moves worked to strengthen the team and brought them up to being championship contenders, with Solokill leading the league with seven match MVP awards in the regular season.
Beyond Gaming — 5th seed, 10-8
The region’s second seed for Worlds 2022 has seen themselves take a step back this Spring.
Beyond lost the core of their line-up to their rivals or retirement in the offseason, retaining only top laner Liao “Likai” Li-Kai and support Chu Wu “Kino” Hsin-Jung from the squad that The Chiefs faced in Group A of the Worlds 2022 Play-In stage.
They decided mostly to promote from their academy squad when rebuilding, bringing in substitute jungler Yang “RenYe” Yu-Jen, mid laner Chien “1116” Mao-An and bot laner Chen “Feng” Chun-Feng from the team that represented the organisation at the Asian Star Challengers Invitational last September.
Beyond also brought in starting jungler Hsiao “Kongyue” Jen-Tso from J Team, who is tied for second in the league for individual MVPs and brought much of the success this team has had so far.
Deep Cross Gaming — 6th seed, 10-8
After a pair of fourth place finishes in 2022, Deep Cross Changing made minimal changes coming into 2023.
After losing support Woody to PSG Talon, they would make it a trade with the top seed, acquiring top laner Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang, with the popular star departing Talon after three years.
They also brought in support Cha “Cha” Shao-Chun who spent 2022 with J Team 2, playing in the ASCI event.
Leading the line however is Hsu “Nestea” Chia-Lun, with the star mid laner in a tie for second place in the MVP race. This team may have taken a step back from 2022, but is still a top squad on their day.
How will Oceania do at this tournament?
With 8 teams fighting for a single MSI place, it will be a hard-fought and gruelling contest over the two-and-a-half-week playoffs, but I expect Bliss and The Chiefs to throw their hats in the ring and hang with their competition, taking maps and series off pretty much anyone.
We should all rally together and support the region as they do there best to represent us on the international stage once again — and remember to ヽʕ •ᴥ•ʔﾉ Raise Your Koalas!ヽʕ •ᴥ•ʔﾉ
The PCS playoffs kick off tonight at 8pm AEDT with the best-of-five between Chiefs and Flying Oyster, before Team Bliss takes on Impunity on Friday.