In the penultimate round of the Oceanic Pro League, there are two key battles being fought in the standings – the race to participate in the postseason, and the threeway fight to claim the automatic bye straight to the grand stage of the Melbourne Esports Open.
Our prediction analysts Emma “ammeplays” Van der Brug, Bernadette “Nadette” Wong, and Harry “hispanicatd” Taylor break down the biggest matchups of the week as the conflicts across the table come to a head in the second last week of the regular season.
Emma’s Feature Match of the Week: Bombers (10-6) vs Avant Gaming (8-8)
Coming into the second half of Split 2, Avant Gaming was looking like one of the top teams to beat and had a two game lead on the Bombers. However, everything changed as the games played out. Avant has had a tough time navigating the tail end of the season, with teams improving around them.
The Bombers have won every match against Avant this year, and I don’t think that’s going to change this week. Bombers are currently improving every week, and clawing their way up the ladder into a better position for the gauntlet. Avant has lost momentum coming into the back end of the split, and are currently trying to keep their gauntlet dreams alive.
For the Bombers, their key to victory against Avant has historically been through the bottom lane. Carlo “Looch” La Civita and Jake “Rogue” Sharwood, with the assistance of Jeong “Wilder” Jin-woo, have been the dominant players in these matches. By transitioning this strong bot lane into the mid and late game, the Bombers have a stable opportunity to take these wins.
This weeks matchup is sure to be exciting, as Avant and the Bombers need to get every possible win to secure a higher position in the ladder as it’s possible for every team except Legacy to still make finals, and with only five seeds, it’s every team for themselves.
Nadette’s Feature Match of the Week: Chiefs Esports Club (13-3) vs Dire Wolves (8-8)
With only weeks left before the fast-approaching gauntlet, tensions are rising high as teams compete for a chance to see the crowd at MEO. Among the teams battling it out for the third time stand old rivals the Chiefs and Dire Wolves.
After both teams locked 2-0 results last weekend, the Chiefs currently hold the best chance for the crown with a split of 13-3. The Dire Wolves sit in equal fourth with Avant with a record of 8-8.
With a track record of 2-0 in favour of the boys in blue, I believe that this matchup will continue in their favour during their next clash on the Rift.
Their last meeting showed a substantial difference in the bottom half of the map, with Chiefs mid laner Brandon “Claire” Nguyen dominating Jarod “Getback” Tucker’s Sion on his 7/1/1 Vladimir. This consistency carried into the bot lane, with a 3/5/5 score for Robert “Katsurii” Gouv and Ian “Corporal” Pearse as opposed to the 6/2/13 score from Quin “Raes” Korebrits and Bill “Eyla” Nguyen.
The league’s long rivalry has had a tug-of-war of results over the years, with the Dire Wolves wrestling the crown from the Chiefs back in 2017 and retaining it over the 2018 season.
In more recent history, the Chiefs manage to maintain consistency over the Wolfpack in their roster, gameplay and results. Currently, the Dire Wolves face a problem of instability with their ever-changing roster, with their gameplay unable to remain consistent as a result.
With their current placement, the Chiefs aim to stay at the top of the leaderboard come gauntlet, and will stop at nothing to reach their goal. With consistent results and gameplay, I believe that they’ll achieve victory over the Dire Wolves on Friday.
Harry’s Feature Match of the Week: Gravitas (6-10) vs Order (6-10)
Saturday evening will see Gravitas and Order clash in what will be a defining fixture for both of these teams’ seasons. The two rosters come into week nine tied for sixth place with 6-10 records, but within striking distance of the playoffs with five games to play.
The win in this game will be ideal as it will set the victors with the best chance of sneaking a gauntlet ticket, while the loser will find themselves floundering with nearly no hope of competing in professional play after August 17.
These two teams from Melbourne have shared the victories so far this split. Order came away with a clean win in Week 4, before Gravitas took home the W in the seventh round. Gravitas will also come into this match with extra confidence due to their recent victories over the Dire Wolves and Avant Gaming.
The lane in this match to watch will be bot and top. Both teams have seen their bot laners, Julian “Raid” Skordos and Ronan “Dream” Swingler respectively, carry their teams to victory, and both known how to turn any lead given to them into a match win.
This game will be fought tooth and nail due to the pressure surrounding the result. Ultimately I see it going to Gravitas, due to their stronger form in the previous weeks against higher placed teams.