With Rift Rivals now behind us and Oceania achieving their first international title coming out on top against South-East Asia in a thrilling 3-1 grand final, we’re still thinking about the amazing carry performances out of Legacy’s mid laner Claire and the armoured titan in the top lane for The Chiefs in Swip3rR. However the OPL starts back up again this week so here’s a mid-season review to get you caught up..
We are entering the second half of the most competitive split that the OPL has seen for a long time, maybe ever. There are no clear favourites on who will be making the grand final in Melbourne this September, which is both an amazing and scary prospect for me.
We’ve seen the meteoric rise of Tectonic, who had gone from losing 22 regular season Bo3s in a row, to nabbing convincing 2-0s over top seeds in ORDER and The Chiefs. We have seen the struggles of Legacy, MAMMOTH, Bombers, and Avant, who had looked promising at points over the first four weeks, but have also looked lost for a good majority of the time. They’ve all had moments of under performing expectations from both themselves and the fans. All the while the Dire Wolves still have managed an undefeated split thus far yet again.
Let’s take a run down the current OPL standings before the games start back up this week for split 2.
1st – Dire Wolves (4-0, 10pts)
The Dire Wolves have been dominant once again this split, having dropped only two games in their first four matches. They look in red-hot form and have quickly and successfully adapted to the change they made in the offseason, which saw their Challenger series player BioPanther replace the split 1 MVP in Chippys in the top lane. The Wolfpack did run into a bit of turbulence at the start of the split, where they showed signs of weakness, dropping the second game in 2-1 victories over ORDER and Avant. Although seemingly fixing their weak points, then taking dominant 2-0 victories over Tectonic and Legacy.
The Wolves were also dominant at Rift Rivals, going undefeated in the group stage to help secure OCE the first seed into the final. The Wolfpack are once again the team to beat, but for the first time in almost a year, they are starting to look vulnerable in the Oceanic region.
2nd – The Chiefs Esports Club (3-1, 8pts)
The boys in blue have been vocal about believing they are the best team in Oceania, and besides a few blips in the radar, they are able to claim that with confidence. As one of the few lineups to not make player changes during the offseason, with the only change being the departure of Coach Phantiks, who was replaced by Doruk, The Chiefs were hyped up as one of, if not the best team in Oceania. Their season started strong, with a pair of dominant 2-0s over Legacy and MAMMOTH, but things started to look shaky after a unexpected dropped game against the Bombers, followed in the very next week by a 2-0 loss to Tectonic. It is looking up for The Chiefs however, with a successful and dominant showing at Rift Rivals They went 3-1 in groups before claiming the second and third victory to net OCE their first international victory in the grand final.
With the captain and the rock-in-the-top Swip3rR looking like he’s on the best form in his career, and the rest of the team clicked back into the right gear, The Chiefs look on track to achieve their goal of both a 5th OPL title, as well as international success at the World Championship.
3rd – Tectonic (2-2, 7pts)
The story of the split so far has been the meteoric rise of the New Zealand-based org. After 2 0-10 splits in a row, with the former being under the moniker of TM Gaming, Coach Saiclone and manager Smite have retooled and strengthened their lineup In the offseason they acquired jungler Sybol, as well as the NA bot lane pairing of Value and Trance. So far, this has paid off immensely for them. They caused the upset of the split in week 2, by 2-0ing ORDER in emphatic fashion, only to top that a fortnight later, with another split-defining 2-0 victory over then ladder leaders The Chiefs.
The most interesting prospect out of all of this is that we are yet to see Tectonic bring their full strength lineup to the table, as bot laner Value is currently stuck in Visa-limbo and has therefore been unable to play with the lineup on stage. (Maybe one day we’ll actually say he is playing and we’ll finally be right.) Tectonic are the new force in town, and they’re now a threat going forward in this split that most teams didn’t think they’d have to worry about.
4th – ORDER (2-2, 6pts)
After a rough start to the split, the boys from Melbourne have returned to form and are looking to make their way into the live finals right in their backyard. ORDER spent their midseason in Korea, working on both themselves and their team play. It didn’t look like the trip had done them all that much good, with losses to both the Dire Wolves and Tectonic respectively.
However they have managed to find their form again with a drubbing 2-0 victory against Avant They followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Mammoth. Spawn’s boys have managed to get everything back in order within the team, and they look to march to victory and dominance in the second half of the split.
5th – MAMMOTH Esports (1-3, 5pts)
After a confident start in week one, it’s has all gone downhill for the lineup formerly known as SIN Gaming. Their offseason was one of acquisition, which started with ROAM Esports’ purchase of the team as well as the OPL slot and the rebrand to MAMMOTH.
They continued with the acquisition of Remind, the former mid laner of the LJL’s Unsold Stuff Gaming, as well as NA free agent Mash, formerly of Echo Fox and the pickup of Chippys, reuniting him with Juves after 3 splits with the Dire Wolves. It started off well for the new team, with a dominant 2-0 victory to open up the split, but it all came crashing down when they lost to The Chiefs 0-2. While it has been looking somewhat better for them in the last 2 weeks with game victories against Legacy and ORDER, Mammoth are hoping once again get back into the series winning books. Because if not, a second MAMMOTH extinction may be looming on the horizon.
6th – Bombers (1-3, 5 pts)
After a slow start where it was a struggle for them to #TAKEFLIGHT, the Bombers have managed to get their season off the runway and into the air. After showing some promise at the end of split 1, the Bombers jetted off to NA for a midseason bootcamp, working on their ability and teamplay to make them a formidable unit.
The split started turbulently for the Bombers however, going down 0-2 to MAMMOTH, before picking up the forward momentum somewhat as they took the first game against both Legacy and Chiefs although unable to clench a series win. They finally came out with their first victory of the split in a 2-0 against Avant. The Bombers are looking poised to keep their upward trajectory towards the top of the league.
7th – Legacy Esports (2-2, 4pts)
The boys backed by the Adelaide Crows have had a really flawed start to the split. Having taken third place in split 1 and strengthening their lineup with the acquisition of jungler Only from Avant during the offseason, things were looking up for Carbon’s boys. The start of the tree’s split has been one of inconsistency and poor losses with an 0-2 loss to The Chiefs. However they followed that up with a pair of 2-1 victories over the Bombers and Mammoth Finally in week 4 garnering another 0-2 loss, this time at the hands of the Dire Wolves.
Things looked once again inconsistent at Rift Rivals, with a convincing win over the LJL’s Unsold Stuff Gaming , but were caught out by the chaos brought by Hamezz and the Mineski lineup in the group stage. The highlight of Rift Rivals was their critical win over Ascension in the grand final which saw team captain Claire single-handedly save the game for Legacy and the OCE region. As the OPL returns this week, Legacy are looking to find some consistency on the rift so that they can gain points needed to qualify for the gauntlet once more.
8th – Avant Gaming (1-3, 3pts)
At the start of the split Jayke went on record saying he does not want to end up in 5th place for their fourth split in a row. While Avant are currently achieving this goal, it’s not in the way that Jayke meant when he said this, currently being at the bottom of the OPL standings. Avant also did some reshuffling in the offseason, replacing their bot laner Blinky with import Darkside, as well as inserting Praelus into the jungle.
Avant’s split started well, with a 2-1 victory over Tectonic and a narrow 1-2 loss to the Dire Wolves This led some to put faith into Avant (myself included) and see them as the most underrated team in the OPL. It has however all gone wrong in the last couple of weeks, with a pair of 0-2 blowout losses to both ORDER and the Bombers. Avant are hoping they can get their season back on track, otherwise we could see them be destined to drop into the relegation zone, fighting for their survival.
People keep talking about this being the closest split in OPL history, and the stats are there to back it up. This is the first time since Split 1 2016 in which every team has won a series, and this is also the quickest amount of time in OPL history that they’ve achieved this feat, including the Bo1 format in 2015. You simply cannot count anyone out, and for most teams, it is a legitimate coin toss on whether or they will make the gauntlet or the live final. All I can say to you is sit down, buckle up, and prepare to enjoy the high quality League of Legends that Mr. Oceania’s Wild Ride has to offer.
The Oceanic Pro League resumes this Friday for Week 5, with the Melbourne Derby between ORDER and the Bombers, followed by the Split 1 finals rematch between The Chiefs Esports Club and the Dire Wolves. Catch the action live on twitch starting at 5pm