The Chiefs Esports Club took full advantage of the silly season transfer window as they head into 2019, stocking up on talented Oceanic names to give further credence to their target of returning to the throne.
While legendary top lane rock Swip3rR and Kiwi sharpshooter Raes have been retained by the former champions, the Chiefs made three key player pick-ups in the off-season – Only and Claire made the switch from a live-wire Legacy outfit, while promising support Eyla made the move from the former Chiefs Academy squad to OPL starter. Former head coach Volt has also returned to the Chiefs hotseat after time away from esports.
Show all the boys, new and old, some love and give them all a follow!
— The Chiefs Esports Club (@ChiefsESC) December 14, 2018
Top Lane: Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland
Jungle: Jordan “Only” Middleton
Mid Lane: Brandon “Claire” Nguyen
ADC: Quin “Raes” Korebrits
Support: Bill “Eyla” Nguyen
Substitute: Andy “Cupcake” van der Vyver
Coach: Tim “Volt” Clay
Who will provide major impact
You can never go past Swip3rR, one of the most seasoned players in the Oceanic competition, as someone who is going to stand tall in any given split. After falling to the Dire Wolves in three grand finals in a row, Holland will be at the forefront of the squad that are looking for revenge, and a chance to show the organisation hasn’t lost the prestige that saw them claim four back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016.
As one of the key leaders in the squad, and a workhorse in the top lane no matter what the meta holds, ‘Big Swips’ will be a key factor in the Chiefs’ charge back to the final.
Dark-horse in the squad
With new faces across the squad, including an academy product moving to the top ranks, many of the Chiefs could be named a ‘darkhorse’ for the upcoming season, but former Legacy jungler Only may provide the biggest X-factor for the boys in blue. After a mixed 2018, Middleton clicked into a gear many didn’t realise he had in the 2018 Split 2 playoffs, as well as the miracle run-in to qualification itself.
Leading from the front for a struggling Legacy, Only put in top-tier performances across a number of series to put Legacy into a bronze finish. If Middleton can repeat those performances across the extended regular season, he will be a focal point of the Chiefs’ offensive plays.
The Chiefs open their 2019 season with a rematch against their grand final rivals the Dire Wolves. The current reigning champions have made a number of changes in the off-season, with most of their core moving across the rest of the OPL as players or coaches. If the Chiefs can show their improved strength with a victory against their rivals, before beating out Avant Gaming in the opening weekend, they will be set for a strong run into the early half of the season. Question marks begin to be raised in the second week of the competition as they clash with Melbourne’s Order, a regular top table competitor in 2017, before they face the Bombers in their fourth fixture.
If the Chiefs can secure three or four victories across their opening two weekends, they may be able to keep the momentum going until at least the half point of the season, especially if they can earn a 4-0 right off the bat in the OPL. Chiefs fans – and former Legacy combo Claire and Only – will also have their eyes fixed on February 8, as the squad come face to face with their oldest rivals in the ‘OP-El-Clasico’. This fourth week clash should also be a good judgement of the Chiefs new-look team, and if they can swipe aside their long-standing rivals in one of the longest grudge matches of the competition, they will be sitting pretty for a deep run into the playoffs in Split 1.
The Chiefs will have a strong split if…
For the Chiefs, nothing but the crown is good enough now that there’s been major change in the OPL. Four splits without domestic silverware is long enough for the once-reigning champions of Oceania, and a dominant first split may lay the groundwork for a return to Worlds in 2019.
Pass mark for Split 1
Returning to the grand final may be the only pass mark that the Chiefs can earn in Split 1 of 2019, but a top two finish in the regular season and a strong showing in the playoffs off the back of that may also be fine for the organisation as they bed in their new recruits.
Using Split 1 to work out the kinks in the squad before they ramp it up in the Worlds qualification split in the second half of the year may be the target for the former kings.
The Chiefs have returned to coach Volt for the 2019 season. Major question marks will swirl around the Chiefs’ returning helmsman at the beginning of 2019, after Clay’s last season at the head of the organisation’s training and drafting saw the team finish fourth in the playoffs after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Sin Gaming.
While Split 1 of 2017 was arguably one of the worst in the Chiefs’ storied history, many believe it was outside circumstances that led to the disappointing finish rather than any specific coaching failures, and fans of the Oceanic scene will be eager to see the org’s new coach stepping back into a leading role since he took a step back from the scene in mid-2017.
Snowball Esports predicted finish
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