The Chiefs golden era has come to end and what a spectacular experience it was for the OCE viewers to enjoy. Since esports’ infancy in the region the Chiefs have left a massive footprint in the oceanic landscape, with 4 back to back split victories, tantalizing and heartbreaking misses at international events, all while keeping the same core players throughout which is almost unheard of in esports.
However 2017 was the first year the organisation was unable to find success a strange feeling to the viewers who were so accustomed to the Chiefs dominance, this unfortunately marked the end of an era as this offseason 3 long serving Chiefs members decided to part way with the organisation. With such an overhaul of the starting 5, for the first time in a long time Chiefs fans could find themselves with a lot of unknowns, they can no longer expect Spookz to be in Swiffer’s back pocket of the mid lane or EGym to make his aggressive roams. Luckily for the Chiefs and their fans, they have quickly retooled their lineup to give themselves a genuine shot at the success that has been their birthright.
With the new year, new Chiefs line up, what can fans expect in the coming year? I’ll start with the bot-lane.
Unfortunately Raes has found himself on the wrong end of a 2 weeks suspension, but the Chiefs bottom half of the map is incredibly strong, Destiny is a force to be reckoned with and fans were left in awe of Raes pentakills. The Chiefs success this year will be driven from this bottom lane, it is a lane that should expect to have resources funnelled into it and be ahead most games. On top of this you could probably expect Destiny to pick up the shotcalling duties for the team. If this botlane can’t get the advantages it needs to carry the games, the Chiefs maybe in for a very average season.
One of the core members the Chiefs have retained is Swip3rR for the top lane. Big Swips has been one of the most meta-resistant top laners the region has ever seen and could partly be attributed to the Chiefs long lasting success, he can play tanks, carries, and split pushers…he really does do it all. The problem is now that top lane talent is starting to really rise in talent and it’s no longer a tier list of 2 top laners for the region, Chippys had a breakout 2017 and foreign imports have really filled the regions talent gap.
The final two spots, Jungle and Midlane is where the biggest changes have been made for the Chiefs, it’s also where the most uncertainty lies in their performance.
The prodigal son Ryoma, once a Chiefs substitute has now returned to the throne after a massive season with SIN having the biggest breakout performance of any player in 2017. However the question remains whether he can back this performance in a new team with a different patch that maybe less favourable to his champion pool.
While in the Jungle they’ve stolen what many would have seen as Carbons successor at Legacy, their long-time sub Babip. Babip has plenty of competitive experience at an OCS level with Legacy Genesis but so far to date has no experience in the OPL which leaves most OPL viewers unsure what style of jungling to expect, whatever the case he’s definitely been groomed for success on the top stage and shouldn’t take too long to find his feet.
Chiefs have also made a change in coaching structure with retired Dire Wolves mid laner Phantiks appointed as the new head coach. Phantiks in his retirement tweet did mention his passion and desire to become a coach, while not completely unexpected to find himself in this position, being a head coach for such an experienced organisation feels a little premature.
I was able to ask few questions to Phantiks about how he has found the transition from dominant mid-laner to coach, he believes his biggest strengths as a coach are drawn from his experiences as a competitive player along with “very player first focused dynamic” which he believes he can leverage to ensure the individual skill level of his players reach great heights. I continued to press him about the high expectations Chiefs fans may have, whilst he admitted last year could be seen as a disappointment for the fans, he has assured me that it’s in his nature to be a competitor and has a constant desire to win, this year will be no different with intentions to lead the Chiefs to an OPL title.
Chiefs have the building blocks of a great squad, third place is the absolute minimum for this organisation, however I think people have been over-inflating the tyres Dire Wolves and Order wagon, so if that comes to pass this team really does have the potential to do damage when we get to the pointy end of the season.