Welcome to Snowball’s OPL Team of the Week!
This column looks to name five of the highest performers across the competition each round, from a hyper-carry performance from the mid lane to a rock-at-the-top outing from a top laner or a perfectly played supporting role.
Ju-seong Min – Bombers
A massive quadra-kill on Kennen against title contenders the Chiefs Esports Club may have been a catalyst for Mimic’s second selection in as many weeks, but overall Ju-seong Min has simply proven he’s the watermark for top laners in the Oceanic Pro League this year.
Although Tommy “Ryoma” Le was the eventual kill leader in the 22 to 7 victory over the Chiefs, Mimic clocked up eight of his own, and added nine assists on the Heart of the Tempest, confirming his place in the Team of the Week on Saturday night.
Friday was a similar story however, as the Bombers crushed Legacy Esports in a 24 minute, 19 to three kill clash, and Mimic scored a 3/0/4 statline on Aatrox with a key double kill adding to the victory.
After a bumpy welcome to the OPL, including a difficult winless streak for the organisation, Gravitas appear to have found their footing and identity in the competition, with none benefiting more than Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes.
Now studying under the watchful eye of regional veteran Brandon “Juves” Defina, Praelus was a key figure in the team’s first 2-0 weekend in the top league, first providing major early-game impact on Lee Sin as the team downed the Dire Wolves in 36 minutes, before a second outing on the Blind Monk against Avant Gaming confirmed the team’s success.
Although Praelus didn’t rack up major kills in either of his two victories, the Gravitas jungler stepped into the role of the team’s engine room operator as Harry “Haeri” Kang and Julian “Raid” Skordos were given a licence to carry the squad. Fernandes’ early impact even sent Avant’s Lachlan “Sybol” Civil down a path of despair as he knocked his opposite number down early and made sure he finished with game-high nine deaths on Zac.
While this is the first time that the Bombers mid laner has been named in Snowball’s Team of the Week, there’s none who can deny Tommy “Ryoma” Le has been one of the most inform solo laners in the OPL in recent weeks.
After seeing the Chiefs begin to take a stranglehold on the league’s top spot, and with Brandon “Claire” Nguyen claiming back to back TOTW nominations, including on MVP, it looked like the former kings of Oceania were shaping as the favourites for the Split 1 title.
Ryoma and the Bombers had other plans however, as the team’s mid laner swept aside their title rivals on Saturday evening to lock their head-to-head record to one apiece with a 10/0/8 domination on LeBlanc, avoiding death against the Chiefs and dolling out a monumental 26.9k against their rivals – just 10.6k less than the entire enemy team.
The Bombers’ mid laner also had a strong and deathless outing on Friday evening, setting the pace early with six kills, and eventually ending the 24 minute game with seven eliminations and six added assists, and capitalising on the Chiefs’ 0-2 weekend to put the Essendon-backed Oceanic organisation two games clear at the top of the standings in the OPL.
Mammoth’s 21-year-old AD Carry’s OPL resume reads like a dream for any young player coming in to the competition – six straight first place finishes in the regular split with two different teams, two runners-up results in the grand final and then finally four Oceanic championships with the Dire Wolves in 2017 and 2018. K1ng has even added a League of Origin victory, Rift Rivals glory in 2018, and has never finished outside of a top three spot in the domestic competition since his career began.
It was shocking then, when Calvin Truong and the rest of his super team Mammoth had a slow start to 2019, falling short in a handful of games to score a negative record at the turn of the first round robin. What isn’t so shocking is that somewhere between Week 3 and Week 4, the k1ng of old finally returned to the stage, and since then it’s been high-gear for one of the best bot laners to have ever played in Oceania.
In the past three games, k1ng has avoided a grey-screen completely against Legacy Esports, the Chiefs Esports Club and the Dire Wolves, collecting eighteen kills and nineteen assists along the way. Against the near-undefeated Chiefs on Friday evening this week k1ng locked in his best performance of the split, annihilating his old rivals on Vayne in just 27 minutes.
With his second straight Team of the Week performance, one thing is very clear – Calvin Truong has hit top-gear once more, and every other bot lane in the OPL should be keeping one eye on the veteran Mammoth carry.
When news broke that Damian “Yuzuki” Tu was departing Legacy Esports before the opening match of the season, many eyes turned to his replacement – William Dobie, a former AD Carry now turned support who’s last campaign in the OPL had seen he and Exile5 collect a 0-10 run to fall into the promotion tournament at split’s end.
Now, as Legacy collected one of the biggest upsets of the split against Order, Crayzee was right in the centre of the contest, dragging the boys in green right back into the mix with his Rakan engages and guiding them to a much-needed 50 minute victory.
Dobie finished with a 2/1/13 scoreline, dying just once on a deep-dive support champion, and participating in all but two of the team’s entire eliminations as they battled to the 17-12 win, and laying the early groundwork for Mark “Praedyth” Lewis and Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney to carry the game on Kai’sa and Yasuo respectively.
If Crayzee can continue to be the platform for which Legacy can create chances, win teamfights and dominate the mid and late game, he may become a lynchpin in a resurgence for the founding OPL organisation, and prove he’s worthy of the top-tier spot he’s grabbed with both hands in 2019.
The Oceanic Pro League returns on Friday afternoon, when first placed Bombers open Week 6 against defending champions the Dire Wolves.
Disagree with the list? Feel another player had a stronger performance and deserved the recognition? Feel free to voice your concerns to @everin_oce – he loves chatting about the best players of the week.