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.
Jihoon Kim – Mammoth
The former Dire Cub turned Mammoth in the top lane has locked in his second Team of the Week appearance with two technical games on Urgot and Sion, delivering all-round solid performances on the current meta picks in the oft-isolated solo lane at the top of the Rift.
While Jihoon Kim collected just three kills across his two matches against Order and Gravitas, with all three coming in the Friday evening outing on the Undead Juggernaut, his positioning and integral play on the bruisers and tanks Richard “Phantiks” Su put him on in Round 5 played a key role in the two drawn out victories over teams close to Mammoth in the standings, and gave the team a favourable base with which to continue their now-five game winning streak in the OPL.
Topoon continues to remind viewers of the talent coming out of the Oceanic Challenger Series each year, and if he can continue to be a vital cog in the wheelhouse of the ever-improving Mammoth, his organisation may find themselves right in the mix for a championship season in just his first split in the top league.
Hyun-jin Choi – Bombers
What can be said about the Bombers’ import jungler that hasn’t already been said this split – question marks around the new-faced South Korean quickly disappeared as he proved he was as much at home in the league-leading super-team as any other outfit, providing a dynamic presence in the jungle while the hyper-carries lower on the map charged the Essendon-backed organisation to the top of the standings.
For BalKhan, two games on Kha’zix against the Dire Wolves and Order locked his position into the team this week, as the Bombers jungler proved to be a focal point damage and elimination-wise however, as Choi confirmed he can also play the role of the team carry. BalKhan delivered two massive performances on the Voidreaver, dishing out more than 34k damage to champions as he collected 16 kills and a further 12 assists, and clocking in the second most damage in the game in both the Bombers victories. The real question at this point is who isn’t able to play carry for the first placed roster.
Stephen Li – Mammoth
After a handful of weeks with mixed results, Stephen “Triple” Li has announced his return to the upper echelons of the OPL in a big way, with two strong performances in the mid lane to keep Mammoth’s red-hot form burning bright.
Triple, who enters the 2019 season as the most recent mid lane champion in Oceania, has slipped from the conversation of the best carries in recent weeks, as Mammoth’s botched start to the split cost all its players in statistics and recognition.
Now, Triple is back with a vengeance and he’s gunning for that top spot and a return to the international stage, with two hard-carry performances on Zoe against Order and Azir against Gravitas made sure everyone remembered why he was one of the most feared solo laners in the region.
With both matchups key for Mammoth, Triple earned the MVP slot for Week 6 with aplomb, first running the tempo of the game on Zoe late as the team battled to a 16-7 victory over Order in 37 minutes, while a similarly lengthed match the next day confirmed Li’s top-tier performance.
Locking in one of his favoured champions in Azir – his most played character on the professional stage – Triple made sure no one had forgotten the Emperor of the Sands as he claimed eight kills in 37 minutes, and recorded a game-high 25.6k champion damage. This week’s MVP even managed to throw in a little bit of national pride during the broadcast, though that hasn’t counted either way for his Most Valuable Player nomination.
Quin Korebrits – Chiefs Esports Club
The Chiefs Esports Club’s bot lane star had an interesting week in the AD Carry role, as he was given licence to flex into the Yasuo pick on Saturday evening against third placed Avant Gaming.
While Raes is no stranger to non-marksman selections in the bot lane – one of his recent career pentakills came on Karthus in the second split of 2018 – his Yasuo choice was only the second time he’s locked in the much-maligned solo queue special.
Korebrits continued his 100 percent win rate on the fighter as well, contributing to two thirds of his team’s kills as he clocked in eight kills and six assists with bruiser, eventually standing out as the clear carry with a fight in the bot lane that saw him dive deep to turn the fight on its head.
Raes also had a standard outing on a marksman on Friday evening this week, locking in out-of-meta Tristana and securing a 4/0/4 performance against Gravitas, topped off with the most champion damage in the game and a staggering 28k damage done to objectives.
Bill Nguyen – Chiefs Esports Club
It seems whenever Raes makes the Team of the Week, fellow Chiefs bot laner Bill Nguyen is not far behind, and it’s small wonder – since taking the step up to the OPL from the organisation’s OCS-based academy team, Eyla has been a force in the duo lane as he contributes with engage supports and frontline tanks.
Having already played a handful of Thresh and Alistair games this split in the blue-black of the Chiefs, it was small wonder Week 6 saw Eyla back on the two valued picks, first as the Chain Warden against Gravitas on Friday, before he turned in the hooks and lanterns for the headbutts and ground-pounds of the Minotaur.
Both games were strong from Eyla, but the bloody clash against close rivals Avant Gaming was where the rookie really shone, as he delivered 16 assists in the 37 minute battle, and suffering the disappointment of the grey screen just once in a game that saw 33 deaths between nine of the players of the Rift.
Whenever Eyla has a dominant game, Raes is sure to follow, and the Chiefs bot lane continue to put their name into the ring for one of the best duos currently in the OPL, a statement they’ll want to continue as the shadow of gauntlet appears on the horizon.
The Oceanic Pro League returns on Friday afternoon, with a massive clash between in-form Mammoth and league leaders the Bombers, kicking off at 4pm AEDT.
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.