We welcome Ellis Longhurst to Snowball as a guest contributor for this week’s match predictions
The Chiefs and Mammoth currently sit at the top of the leaderboard, having both defeated their respective opponents 2-0 in the opening week of split 2. For the Chiefs, it seemed like an easy win over their long-time rivals. Each player had flashes of individual brilliance (pun definitely intended), but it was their composure and synergy as a team against Legacy that has now pushed the Chiefs above the Dire Wolves on many a power ranking.
By contrast, Mammoth did not appear to be the most cohesive team and some fights became classic SIN affairs. However, an upgrade in skill across lanes with the inclusion of Remind, Mash, and Chippys meant that Mammoth came out on top of these scrappy fights. They seem to play with much more confidence than the SIN team of last split. Chippys had a quiet series, but will hopefully click into gear this week – many may forget that he spent several splits playing with Juves on SIN Gaming.
The individual lane match-ups are very exciting: Swiper (the rock in the top) vs Chippys (the MVP from last split); Babip (had a strong performance last week) vs Juves (the leader); Ryoma vs Remind; Raes/Destiny vs Mash/Cuden.
But ultimately you have to give it to the Chiefs based on consistency and team synergy.
W: Chiefs 2-1
Neither Legacy nor Bombers were particularly impressive in the opening week of split 2. Having moved to Tectonic, Sybol – when playing well, felt like Legacy’s game changer- was missing from the match this week, and sadly it felt like Only was missing too. Perhaps the game was lost in the very- 8.11 drafts, as it felt like Legacy were on the back foot from the beginning of both games.
With the Bombers, it is a bit difficult to tell what is happening. They have had a whole split and an NA bootcamp to find their synergy and deliver a memorable performance. They take games off teams, but struggle to make it two in one series. The drafting consistently seems tired and lacking any real X- factor.
On the strength of the Legacy roster (in particular, Claire) and their past performances, I think Legacy are a safe tip.
W: Legacy 2-1
NB: I would be really happy if Bombers proved me wrong.
Order had the toughest opening match last week, as they faced down the only undefeated team and champions of last split, Dire Wolves. Despite a 2-1 loss, it felt like the Order line-up was starting to live up to the unofficial “Oceania all-star” tag. Ultimately, the series was decided by a few missed skill shots.
Last week, Tectonic lost to Avant Gaming. On paper, this may seem like more of the same from Tectonic. However, the team has clearly had an upgrade in skill across lanes, and were able to take a game off of Avant rather convincingly.
I think Tectonic are the dark horse of the bottom half of the competition. They still haven’t fielded their AD Carry NA import (Value). On instinct, I would place them as high as fifth in my end-of-split ladder prediction.
Order may underestimate Tectonic, but will still come out with the win.
W: Order 2-1
Last week was a test of composure for the Dire Wolves. New top-laner Biopanther did not crack under the pressure of his OPL debut and neither did the team after their game 2 loss to Order. In the past, Dire Wolves have been an emotional team, much to their detriment. Now, their individual skill, team synergy, and ability to stay calm under pressure makes them an easy top 3 in the OPL.
Avant had a shaky start to split 2. Their matches against Tectonic were scrappy, and they weren’t able to execute on their 8.11- inspired draft choices in game 2.
If Avant are going to find any success against Dire Wolves, they will need to punish Shernfire when he overextends and apply pressure to Biopanther. Banning Bard (Cupcake’s specialty champion) might be a good idea too.
W: Dire Wolves 2-0