The finish line is fast-approaching this OPL season. With three weeks left to go in the season and the bottom 4 teams closer than we’ve ever seen before, the stakes are high up and down the ladder.
This means that the stakes are high for those trying to get their hands on some of those sweet, sweet tipping rewards as well. Check out who myself and my merry band of tipsters Isaac & Jess are picking for Week 8!
Tectonic vs Dire Wolves
Reece: This matchup was brutal for Tectonic the first time around and seeing as how Tectonic couldn’t escape turmoil this week even through the completion of their intended roster, promises to be a brutal affair this time as well. Their only realistic win condition was their young stud top laner toppling the Wolves’ young stud top laner and unbalancing the map but the shine has started to come off Papryze the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what’s happened to him – maybe he suffered some sort of Maverick in Top Gun-esque confidence loss after he was thumped by MAMMOTH. There were intermittent signs of life from Value and Trance but it doesn’t strike me as enough to topple k1ng and cupcake, and I think the mid/jungle matchup is an absolute blowout for Dire Wolves.
Add on to that the now rudderless head-coaching situation that Tectonic have going into one of the best in Sharp, and it doesn’t feel good to give Tectonic even a game. I hope Tectonic surprise me, but the best teams show they are the best not in the close games they win but in the way they thump the lesser teams. So, I expect to see a professional job done here by the Wolfpack, and to dispatch Tectonic in two comfortable games.
W: Dire Wolves 2-0
Isaac: The round kicks off with a mis-match on Summoners Rift – undefeated first place against a struggling last place team that just lost their head coach mid-week. The top-tier mid and jungle combo Shernfire and Triple have been combining in recent weeks to great success, and keep one eye on their movements on Summoners Rift – once they get rolling it will be difficult to Tectonic to find a way into the match.
That said, with Value and Trance combining in the bot lane for just the second time this split there’s a chance Tectonic find an upset, especially if a new-look drafting system is implemented in a handful of days, but unfortunately it’s unlikely. Dire Wolves 2-0.
W: Dire Wolves 2-0
Jess: After celebrating their one year domestic winning streak it’s a wonder who can take down these juggernauts. Tectonic however after an impressive start to the season have farewelled their coach and are starting to take a different direction. It is unknown if they will be left coach-less at the alter but this could cause issues in the long and short term.
With Shernfire staying strong in the jungle and BioPanther still in stride for what has been a phenomenal rookie split it is no wonder that domestically the Dire Wolves have carved a path to victory unlike any team before them. Tectonic however after their massive upsets have yet to see success and Sybol constantly getting caught their going to need to really reign it in if they’re even going to take a game.
W: Dire Wolves 2-0
Bombers vs Legacy
Reece: This was a much simpler pick like two weeks ago. Now it’s tough as all heck. Both teams have a 2-0 over Tectonic within the last weeks for form, but Legacy made their second win look supremely difficult whereas Bombers were fairly clinical in their handling of Tectonic. As I look at the lanes firstly, I see the sidelanes as split. I give a slight edge to Mimic over Sleeping, and a stronger edge to Tiger and Rosey, who are on the upswing whereas Raid and Decoy have been less than impressive at times. The tipping point here is in the mid/jungle matchup. On paper, I want to give both to Legacy very convincingly, but on the rift the Bombers haven’t won a game this split where one of Looch or Seb hasn’t gone ballistic so they’re going to need this matchup to step forward.
The biggest challenge I’ve seen for Legacy is that they don’t seem to have much of an identity yet except “enable Claire to do a billion damage”. This is not a bad strategy by any stretch, as Claire is a monster. But it’s really telegraphed, and you can tell that in the way that teams have turned Claire into a target. He really feels the pressure when squeezed the laning phase and if it starts to go against him can sometimes be caught forcing plays. I haven’t seen the rest of Legacy convince me that they’ve found a way to guarantee they can enable Claire, nor show me that any of them are a reliable plan B, so I’m going to back the Bombers in this one. They’ve shown that when they deign to pick a teamfighting comp with two playmaking champions, at least one of which must be on Rosey, they have a far better grasp on the game. By way of fence-sitting, sometimes the Bombers just straight up forget who they are and don’t draft to this strength, so I predict that they lose all games in which they do this. This pick is based around doing it right every time.
W: Bombers 2-1
Isaac: Legacy and Bombers are two of the organisations that are gunning for a spot at the tail-end of the gauntlet, and with a lot on the line they’ll both come out firing in Friday’s second match. The Bombers found some momentum last weekend with their 2-0 over a struggling Tectonic roster, and that may prove the difference in this vital clash for a finals position, but you can never count Legacy truly out.
Seb also had a stand-out performance last weekend, brushing away concerns many have had throughout 2018 – if he can back that outing up with a second consecutive impact game, the Bombers should be able to take the win.
W: Bombers 2-1
Jess: Legacy, after a rocky start are still sitting 6th on the table but with some impressive wins under their belts might begin their climb to return to their former glory. Bombers, fresh off taking some big series off AV and TTC and a massive game against Dire Wolves could be the next bottom team to make their climb.
Both teams are the holders of the bottom of the table but even so there’s going to be excitement. If Only can dominate the jungle over Seb this may be an easy victory for them. However, with Bombers strong bot lane and Looch it could be hard fought.
W: Legacy 2-1
MAMMOTH vs The Chiefs
Reece: In the first go-around of these two teams, The Chiefs looked in dominant form and MAMMOTH succumbed 2-0 in a series that didn’t highlight just how well they’d played, especially in game one. Chiefs enter this series having shown some early game flaws, but some exemplary team-fighting. This series poses an interesting dichotomy, as MAMMOTH do best when they find early advantages through their jungler and then ram it down their opponents’ throats by fighting over anything they can try and turn into a turret take. However, Chiefs have shown now two straight weeks where they cede an early lead and take it on the back of mid and late-game team fighting.
When both teams want the game to go to the same place, you’d give the edge to the Chiefs on paper as their players are stronger up and down the line-up. This is where I’m looking – unless MAMMOTH turn up on game day with a new look, or there’s a huge disparity on performance, I think Chiefs take this through their superior botlane outperforming the opposition in teamfights. I’d like to see three games of these two biffo-friendly-squads, but I’m taking the boys in blue in two.
W: The Chiefs 2-0
Isaac: Saturday’s first game brings the second placed team face to face with fourth placed contenders, but despite just four points separating them the Chiefs will be clicking into high gear as the season begins to come to a close – their win last week over Avant wasn’t perfect, but it showed signs of a strong platform for playoffs form.
On the other side of the rift, MAMMOTH desperately need points to keep ahead of the chasing pack, and will likely channel that desire into at least one of the three games up for grabs. Their 0-2 runout against the Dire Wolves last week still saw Chippys put in a strong Game 1 showing on Gangplank, and if he can repeat that with the backing of his roster that may prove the difference in one of the three games.
W: The Chiefs 2-1
Jess: The Chiefs’ performance over the last few weeks is a far cry from their earlier split. After putting the region on their back they’ve had a swift regression in form. MAMMOTH, led by their 600iq jungler have shown they’ve had the headspace necessary to carve out a place near the top.
This will be the match to watch this week, these powerhouses are matched across the map and hopefully will be a match of classic Sin team fights and hopefully a smite-fight or 2. This match will be exciting as anything though if Chiefs show up in the form we saw at Rift Rivals it may be hard for even the poster boy of good mental to overcome.
W: The Chiefs 2-1
ORDER vs Avant Gaming
Reece: It’s very interesting to see where these squads find each other relative to last time they met. ORDER had just suffered the stunning (at the time) defeat to Tectonic, were 0-2 and looking for someone to take it out on. And ran into the poor Avant, who had beaten that same Tectonic squad and looked reasonable against the Wolves, but were promptly shredded by the ORDER line-up looking to prove itself.
This time the shoe is on the other foot. Avant fell to MAMMOTH when they clearly didn’t expect to, and then followed it up with an 0-2 to the Chiefs from two strong positions. They’ll have been stung, be frustrated and heading into this match, much like ORDER were in week 3, looking to tear someone’s head off.
The only way that I can see this going Avant’s way though is through a superhuman performance from Praelus and Frae. The sidelanes from ORDER have been their strong points and I think both are head and shoulders above their counterparts. Spookz and Swiffer have been by no means bad, but they are the only way in I see for Avant in this set. Take control over these two players, and you can disrupt the fulcrum of ORDER and they’ll be vulnerable in the same way that Chiefs did to ORDER in two comebacks during Week 6.
Ultimately, I think this match might go not-unlike the first one did. I see Avant falling, but it won’t be through lack of effort or desire. Tune in early here, as I suspect they’ll go hell-for-leather to take the game to ORDER and put them off their rhythm.
W: ORDER 2-0
Isaac: Eight weeks in and Avant Gaming still haven’t found a victory over any organisations above them in the standings, a feat that may see them tumble out of the opening week of the gauntlet should they pick up the fifth spot at campaign’s end.
ORDER’s roster has also had a lock on clean-sweeping teams beneath them on the ladder, with high placed teams their only difficulties so far in Split 2. Expect more of the same from ORDER as they keep their eyes on a confirmed gauntlet position, especially with FBI running redhot in recent weeks – even more so if the team can draft Kai’Sa for their bot lane carry, a pick he’s currently undefeated on with a 9.83 KDA.
W: ORDER 2-0
Jess: For the final match of the week we have an interesting matchup. Avant have taken some unfortunate losses in the last few weeks while ORDER has steamed ahead to place themselves at the upper end of the ladder.
AV do not lack the ability to teamfight or pick however it just seems their ability to find the enemy nexus seems to be lacking. For their part, ORDER seems to be back in style – their victories in recent weeks have seen their Swiffer and Tally outclassing their laning opponents. ORDER have shown some growth this split while Avant’s hype has slowed. AV’s Botlane is showing some promise but can it face up to the power couple of FBI and Rogue?
W: ORDER 2-0