Avant Gaming in recent times have always found a way of finishing fifth no matter the circumstances.
As one of the oldest organisations in the OPL, it’s been a long spell between their success in 2014 to celebrate anything. In fact, in the nine splits of the OPL, they’ve finished fifth five times. Their other results include two fourth place finishes in the pre-gauntlet era, a seventh place finish at the end of last year before they fought tooth and nail to avoid relegation, and this season. They finished third.
Rebuilding their team from scratch after last year’s disappointment, Avant stormed out of the blocks in 2019 to leave the heads of state scratching – well – their heads. Bringing in one-time Raydere medallist Ryan “Chippys” Short as team leader, Avant have built a strong roster of misfits from other teams.
Bot lane duo Vincent “gunkrab” Lin and Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson showed a lot of promise in last year’s OCS on Chiefs Academy and Intuition respectively. Ari “Shok” Greene-Young was a standout performer on an otherwise underwhelming Tectonic in 2018, while Ryan “Swathe” Gibbons has clawed his way back into the OPL after being dropped from Tectonic in Split 2 2018.
damn that first game of gauntlet was intense, getting me excited to play tomorrow ?
— Aladoric (@AladoricOCE) March 28, 2019
Avant Gaming in 2019 has defied most people’s expectations. A riff-raff of signings looked to be hinged on a franchise player carry performance from Chippys. While Chippys has been a key part of Avant’s success, the likes of Shok and Gunkrab have done the heavy lifting for the team during the split as well.
The team has been known to cause teams, especially their coaches, a restless night’s sleep thinking about what four-cheese pasta they’re cooking up in the draft. Whether it be Mordekaiser mid, Zac support or Fiora-Evelynn, Avant’s innovation in 2019 has been a driver to their third place finish in the regular season, with the team not afraid to experiment.
Player to Watch
It’s the year of redemption for Chippys after being unexpectedly dumped from the Dire Wolves on 2018. The former league MVP had a split to forget at Mammoth, but this year at Avant Gaming, Chippys has found his swagger again and his pocket picks causing headaches for teams.
“Making it back in playoffs means a lot to me,” said the veteran. “After my split on Mammoth where I worked my hardest every day and didn’t make playoffs due to the environment, it really took its toll on me.”
Excelling as a carry player in a lane notoriously known for tanks, there’s a reason he’s a Raydere medallist. His teammates don’t have any OPL playoffs experience and Chippys will be looked at as a leader for Avant in the gauntlet.
“After that I wanted to help build a roster of players that could take feedback and improve fast, and I can’t wait to see how well my teammates play this weekend,” Chippys added.
While having a system that seems to let him thrive with his carry picks, he’s got the best opportunity ahead of him to show that he still has ‘it’ without Shernfire in his back pocket.
“My main goal for gauntlet is to make sure our preparation is as good as possible so no matter what happens in the draft or on stage, all my teammates have full confidence we’ll win.” – Ryan ‘Chippys’ Short
The lads in the blue, gold and white will have to test their mettle initially against the an uphill battle having a 0-6 record against the Chiefs and Bombers above them.
Coach Zack “Rusty” Pye isn’t too concerned about who they face though. “I think Avant matches up quite well actually against both Mammoth and Order, which has been shown during the regular season.
“For which team is a tougher opponent though? I’d say Mammoth is for sure. I think they have generally better players role for role, and their bot lane in particular has a crazy high carry potential if given their signature champs.”
Bucking the trend and finding the blueprint to beat the Chiefs and then the Bombers however is playing in the back of the team’s mind, even if it’s not the primary focus.
“The first thing we need to focus on is winning our first series against either Order or Mammoth, but there’s a couple of ways to approach this idea of bucking the trend,” said Rusty.
“One, we just fix where we’ve been going wrong in our games vs both respective teams – these issues have been identified so this is a plausible solution.
“Two, we cheese the ever-living hell out of them until we win. Now I’m not gonna say we’ll just do the latter, but there’s a time and a place for everything.”
Avant Gaming are a team that ask other teams questions but lack the results against the top of the competition, leaving doubts as to whether they’ll be able to make an impact.
One thing is for sure however – they’re going to deliver an exciting gauntlet leaving viewers in awe with the potential champions they could see on the rift.
Tune in to see Avant Gaming’s gauntlet journey begin tonight against Order at 4PM AEDT on the RiotGamesOCE Twitch channel.