As the playoffs hurtle towards us, we see another top-level battle in the Oceanic Pro League between the Chiefs and Mammoth, while Order, Gravitas, and the Dire Wolves continue their mid-table scrap to be counted among the finals hopefuls.
Our prediction analysts Emma “ammeplays” Van Der Brug, Bernadette “Nadette” Wong, and Harry “hispanicatd” Taylor break down the biggest matchups of the week as playoffs, and a potential ticket straight to the Melbourne Esports Open, loom.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Dire Wolves (6-8) vs Order (5-9)
With the Gauntlet looming ever-closer and these final matches counting even more, it’s time for either the Dire Wolves or Order to prove that they deserve a shot at the gauntlet run, and a chance for victory.
I think the Dire Wolves will take this week’s win. They have previously shown up big against their matches against Order, and they’ve already ousted the Melbourne team twice this split. With the Dire Wolves able to transform their leads into wins, but also able to show resolve and turn around losing games, they may just have the mental edge in this battle.
In their last match, Order held a lead until Oh ‘Raise’ Ji-hwan snuck a Rift Herald kill as Sylas and transformed that small lead into a larger one, before dominating the map with the assistance of Brandon ‘BioPanther’ Alexander on Renekton.
I think this pair of players will be the ones to watch in this game against Order, as the leads they get in lane and across the map can be transitioned into victories as they crush the rest of the map with their strength.
The Dire Wolves will also draft towards this advantage, and generally give both BioPanther and Raise strong mid-game champions either through pure stats or utility.
I think Order do have a chance at taking the win if they can draft to their strengths. This week will be a big hurdle for Order, however, and with the Dire Wolves nipping on the heels of Avant Gaming after taking a game off them last week, they’ll be fighting with everything they have to ensure they get the victory.
Nadette’s Feature Match of the Week: Avant Gaming (7-7) vs Gravitas (5-9)
This Friday marks the third and final meeting between Avant Gaming and Gravitas in the regular season.
Last week, Avant dropped both of their games against the Dire Wolves and the Chiefs and slipped to fourth on the ladder. On the other side of the Rift, the newest Pro League team defeated Order last weekend to collect spades of form. Although the 2-0 score in this head-to-head is stacked against them, I believe Gravitas will be able to pick up the victory. With their recent success over Legacy, Order and the Dire Wolves, Avant is next in line.
In their most recent meeting, top laner Ryan “Chippys” Short was the highlight player on the winning team. He finished 7/2/3 on Camille against Jackson “Pabu” Pavone’s Kennen, but even then, this game was closer than the first, with a final score of 15-6 in opposition to 21-8.
At this point, I believe Gravitas take the victory over Avant due to where the teams currently stand. Over the past few weeks, the Gravy Boys have been rising to a positionwhere they’re able to defeat the current mid-tier teams with ease, especially with their confidence and momentum.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Mammoth (12-2) vs Chiefs Esports Club (11-3)
Friday evening sees a top of the table clash that should define the upcoming gauntlet, as well as the final at Melbourne Esports Open, as the league leaders Mammoth take on the Chiefs Esport Club.
These two teams have shared a pair of close games this split, with Mammoth taking victory on the opening day and the Chiefs securing the win in Week 4 through Brandon “Claire” Nguyen after he secured a gaming winning triple kill on Azir that allowed the rest of his team to march to the base and knock down the nexus with little contest.
Patch 9.14 has seen several changes that should benefit the Chiefs, in particular in the top half of the map.
With favoured Chiefs champions like Akali, Kled, Leblanc Renekton and Ryze all receiving positive changes, they should see an advantage in this side of the map as even they will be to play something comfortable and strong or potentially force bans.
Despite this, the lane to watch in this match is the bot side. Calvin “k1ng” Truong and Quin “Raes” Korebrits are two of the most prominent bot laners currently in the Pro League, and both have seen more than a fair share of their carry performances.
Flanked by their top-tier supports in Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw and Bill “Eyla” Nguyen, both sides of the lane will be looking to take an early lead and attempt to shut down their opponents.
With both teams looking to secure the top of the table and the guaranteed spot at MEO, both teams are willing to go to any length to secure the victory. It’ll be close, but I ultimately see it going to the Chiefs, whose top half of the map has received enough in-game changes through patch notes to push them in favour of victory in their respective lane matchups.