The trees of Legacy enter the gauntlet from the fourth position, sporting a 5-5 (10-13 games) match record. Legacy spent most of their campaign losing 0-2 and winning 2-1, but managed to eke out the points to secure fourth thanks to 2-0’s in ugly and gritty fashion versus Tectonic and MAMMOTH respectively.
Legacy bring literal meaning to their name, bringing a long history of success in Oceania. As has now been covered and re-covered into infinity, they were born of the first team to defeat then-Team Immunity in series play and attended the Season Four World Championship Wildcard Qualifier. As the OPL entered existence, Legacy put forward four second place finishes (2015 Split 2, 2016 Split 1 & 2, 2017 Split 1) and three 3rd place finishes (2015 Split 1, 2017 Split 2, 2018 Split 1). Most of this history was accomplished behind firstly strong bot lane play, having starred with ADCs such as Lost, k1ng and Wallythacka (whatever happened to Wally, anyway?!).
Secondly, it was all strung together behind the strong leadership of talismanic jungler Tim “Carbon” Wendel. I spoke with Carbon about the evolution of Legacy and he also identified the shift in focus of Legacy as time has evolved, stating “I think in terms of playstyle we’ve definitely had a lot more focus on our solo lanes this year. We draft towards, and spend more time playing around those lanes.”
Legacy entered the second split making a substitution in their jungle position, replacing veteran Sybol who had spent the clear majority of split one struggling mightily before coming alight in the gauntlet run. However, Legacy saw an opportunity to bring in the young and promising Only and develop him in the jungler-friendly environment created by coach Soulstrikes and Carbon. Team Captain and star player Claire was able to confidently move forward with integrating this addition into the fray, telling me that he leans on his experience to adapting to the synergy of the new mid/jungle combination.
Legacy entered the first week against their arch-rivals in The Chiefs Esports Club with a point to prove, but encountered a speed bump in the likes of the mid-season patch shuffle landing a fearsome Ornn/Alistar bot lane in game 1, and an 11 kill Raes in game 2. Legacy then dropped games en route to series victories over Bombers and a rebuilt Sin Gaming reformed as MAMMOTH before getting belted by the Dire Wolves in scarcely over an hour. This left Legacy heading into the Rift Rivals break in a weird spot – they were 2-2, so neither amazing nor awful. But they’d dropped games when you felt they could have taken their wins 2-0, and been utterly belted and looked awful in their losses. But then you consider the quality of their competition and you could almost-kind-of make an excuse for them.
WATCH: Claire outplays the Nautilus gank and lives on 3HP in week 6 of the OPL Split 2.
Of course, the Rift Rivals performance became the stuff of legend, Legacy and Captain Claire became Oceanic Heroes, and Legacy promptly moved their international experience into… yet another regular season loss to Avant. Then two weeks after that, they were belted by ORDER. Then two weeks after that, another shattering loss to The Chiefs.
“I think I just don’t play scared or worse when the stakes are high.”
Team Captain Claire
All of a sudden, thanks in no small part to dropping yet another game to the Bombers, Legacy were sitting in week 10 on the outside of the gauntlet, looking in, and effectively faced with two best-of-ones against MAMMOTH, for they could not afford to drop either game. Despite the stakes, Coach Soulstrikes said that the “preparation was the same as it was every week. I believe it all comes down to our execution at the end of the day” and so Legacy went in with absolutely no margin for error and needing a hero one more time.
And one more time, along came Claire. Despite his humble nature shining through when he commented “I do not think I am a big game player”, instead offering “I think I just don’t play scared or worse when the stakes are high.”
While he may try and downplay his ability in the clutch, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore his ever-growing resume of phenomenal performances in the highest pressure scenarios and he added two more to the list against MAMMOTH. Alongside Raid, the two carries for Legacy, put out gigantic damage and held their nerve deep into two straight late games to dig Legacy out of 6th and deliver them to the 4th place gauntlet spot we now see them in.
Awaiting them in the gauntlet is the Bombers – a tantalising series despite the 2 wins from 2 matches Legacy posted during the regular split. Legacy took a pair of 2-1 victories where their wins were convincing and the losses baffling. Coach Soulstrikes told us that he didn’t think that playing the full three games both series, nor taking the series 2-0 would give Legacy an edge, saying only that they were preparing new strategies, and that they would not be looking past the Bombers to prepare for ORDER or The Chiefs without taking care of the Bombers match first.
A Legacy/Bombers set brings two interesting elements to it. Firstly, the tempting tussle in the mid lane between Claire and Looch. Claire is Legacy’s captain and start player, and Legacy tends to go as he goes. Looch has historically been a player dominant among OPL mid laners for his mid lane play – but only his mid lane play, as his ability to translate leads into other lanes and general teamfighting ability were both rightly panned. Claire acknowledged the growth Looch has experienced, commenting that “I don’t think Looch has been as much of a lane-dominant player this season. I think that has to do with his adaptation into a complete competitive player.”
WATCH: Legacy pick up kills across the map against the Bombers in their clash from week 2 of the OPL Split 2.
The other intriguing prospect lies in ADC Raid facing his former organisation, as he was the starter for the Bombers when they were known as Abyss. I asked Soulstrikes if Raid’s motivation grew with the chance to stick it to his former team and he confirmed with a laugh that he “can get very excited about the Bombers matchup so I need to put him on a leash! Raid knows within himself that it would mean a lot to beat his former team so I am looking forward to seeing him succeed and showing the Bombers his growth this weekend.”
Legacy sports genuine top threats in three roles, and a capable if unspectacular bottom lane. They have one of the most dedicated and well-networked coaches in Oceania and come in with a side selection bonus. On the surface of matters they should expect to do well against the Bombers, but they have a worrying 0-8 game record against the remainder of the teams and both the stats and the eye test suggest they should be underdogs if they do get past that first hurdle. But they won’t be an impossible underdog – they have the talent to take games and they have the gauntlet history to cause a ruckus. They’ll be competitive as long as they’re in it.
Carbon has been on both the playing and behind-the-scenes aspect of being a gauntlet threat, stating “It’s a lot more stressful sitting on the side as I can’t directly impact the outcome! At the same time, I have found a lot of enjoyment in drafting and developing game plans throughout series. Last split’s gauntlet run was super exciting because I felt like the changes we were making between games was having a real impact on the result and that was sick to see.”
So, if you’re looking to support Claire, Soulstrikes, Carbon, and the rest of the trees they’ll be up first in the Gauntlet against their AFL rivals in the Bombers, this Friday 24th August from 5pm AEST on Twitch.