The first week of the Oceanic Pro League is in the books, and a picture is already forming of where teams could be battling for the remainder of the split.
In particular, perennial—for the most part—Oceanic contenders Legacy Esports and the Chiefs both announced their return in 2020 in style results-wise, bagging 2–0 records to claim equal places atop the ladder for the opening round.
A mid-table pack has also formed, though it feels remiss not to mention that this could change very quickly considering just two matches have been played per team. Right now, however, the host of teams on 1–1 consist of the Dire Wolves, Gravitas, Order, and Pentanet.GG, all of whom will be looking to wipe away a mixed start with a 2–0 weekend.
Our prediction analysts Emma “ammeplays” Van der Brug, Harry “hispanicatd” Taylor, and Alex “Alexicon” Leckie-Zaharic break down the biggest matches of the week as the Pro League rolls on, starting with Mammoth vs Legacy Esports on Friday, January 31 from 4pm AEDT.
Emma’s Feature Match: Pentanet.GG (1–1) vs Avant Gaming (0–2)
Prediction: Pentanet win
Even with Week 1 results in the bag, it can still be difficult to pick the placement for each team, especially when only two games have been played each. Avant Gaming and Pentanet are two such examples, with both facing 2–0 teams in the season opener.
This match looks, from early expectations, to be falling in Pentanet’s favour. Avant went up against two tough teams in round one, with a 6-13-11 overall on Friday evening against Legacy, before clocking up a 7-19-15 overall against the Chiefs the next day.
The Oceanic stalwarts had a good start to their Saturday game, but ended up being unable to use the momentum to close out the game, especially after Legacy netted a 16-minute Rift Herald which cracked open Summoner’s Rift.
Avant’s matches this week will be tough, but it’s their opportunity to step up to the plate and notch their first win of the year. They have a big weekend again, but if they want to keep up with their competitive spirit, it’s time to shift gears.
On the other side of the Rift, and the continent in terms of representation, Pentanet had a mixed start to life in the Pro League. Their Friday match showed some nerves, especially with a shaky 1-6-4 performance from Jarrod “Getback” Tucker.
The mid laner redeemed himself on Saturday, however, flipping the KDA for a soaring 6-1-4 run on Veigar against Ari “Shok” Greene-Young’s Akali. Getback’s performance in the game was a big influence, and seemed to decide if Pentanet were able to take the win. With a few kinks ironed out, and focus around Getback, PGG is beginning to look exciting.
Scott “Westonway” Farmer’s pick/ban phase is something else to highlight heading into Week 2. In the match against the Chiefs, he was able to counterpick the hyper-mobile Chiefs comp with a CC-heavy fighting team. Even though they lost, their drafting was impressive, and this will be another avenue they’ll look to succeed in next weekend.
With another week of practice under their belts, and Westonway’s eyes cast over the first eight matches of the OPL split, Pentanet are sure to strengthen their position heading into Week 2, and step into the leading pack with a win over Avant on Friday.
Harry’s Feature Match: Legacy Esports (2–0) vs Dire Wolves (1–1)
Prediction: Legacy win
After an opening week in the Oceanic Pro League that saw both Legacy Esports and the Dire Wolves fall below their own expectations, the two green teams come face to face in Week 2 looking to strengthen their weaknesses.
Despite a 2–0 week from Legacy, the early title contenders—though don’t call them that if you can help it—emerged with plenty to work on, and some doubt from the public about whether they truly were the top dogs.
Having a pair of bad starts against both Avant Gaming and Order, especially by bot lane duo Quin “Raes” Korebrits and Jonah “Isles” Rosario, they were able to bring themselves back into both matches through a series of team fight wins, as well as shining performances from Korean duo Kin “Topoon” Ji-Hoon and Jang “EMENES” Min-soo.
Dire Wolves also have aspirations for a high placement in the Pro League regular season after a rough Week 1 start, where tactical mistakes from both before and during the game cost them the chance to start 2–0.
The Wolfpack deployed their seven-man roster against Mammoth in a “team-based decision,” allowing jungler Toby “UDYSOF” Horne and support/coach Andy “Cupcake” van der Vyver to replace Park “Mir” Mi-reu and Ha “Vital” In-seong. To round out the changes, starting support Daniel “Decoy” Ealam shifted to the bot lane.
This move was limited at best, exposing the lack of synergy between the duo-supports in the bot lane. The swap allowed their opponents a slim advantage, before the Wolfpack were able to secure a 5–2 teamfight at dragon pit to snowball to victory.
On Saturday, the starting lineup returned to the fold in a close affair against Pentanet.GG. While coach Ben “Kai” Stewart admitted on broadcast he had “buggered the draft,” the Dire Wolves were able to earn advantage for most of the game. A risky Baron call cost them, in the end, however, and slapped them with a 1–1 record after the opening round.
With both teams likely less than pleased with their first-round tactics, the second week will be an interesting matchup as both sides look to make up for their failings on the Rift early.
Even with their early starts looking lackluster at the moment, Legacy seems to be in a leading position to take this win. The trees should be able to fix any early-game mistakes, and dominate all aspects of the game with their star-studded roster. If the Dire Wolves can keep it clean though, the game could prove rough for the Adelaide team.
Alex’s Feature Match: Order (1–1) vs The Chiefs (2–0)
Prediction: Chiefs win
In what will be the biggest match of the Oceanic Pro League this so far this year, four-time champions the Chiefs will take to the stage against three members of their 2019 lineup, now wearing the magenta and black of Order.
Chief among those departures, if you’ll forgive the pun, is Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland, who flew the Chiefs banner between 2014-2019. Now, he faces his old team for the very first time, more than five years after first putting pen to paper with the org.
If you were to pick this result before the OPL started, the probable answer would have been to give it to Order. They’d recruited the Armoured Titan, Jordan “Only” Middleton, and Bill “Eyla” Nguyen and rounded out their additions with Gravitas mid laner Harry “Haeri” Kang.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, were forced to dig deep to rebuild their roster. They luckily kept hold of Swip3rR’s protege, top laner Romeo “Thien” Tran, as well as mid laner Brandon “Claire” Nguyen, however, the rest of the roster was all new.
Their two imports Park “Croc” Jong-hoon and Kang “KoreaCK” Cheol-gyu impressed on debut, helping the team to a 2–0 start. Robert “Katsurii” Gouv also went a long way to allay concerns about his fit with a dominant 11-0 Miss Fortune game against Avant.
Order, on the other hand, tossed away a lead against Legacy, and only took a win over the rookie-filled Gravitas. There were plenty of positives, but failing to close the game out when it really mattered puts a firm question mark beside their name, and they’ll need to strengthen their late-game if they’re going to have a chance to lift their first trophy come April.
This will be an explosive match, both on the Rift and behind the scenes. Expect plenty of emotion in this one, especially towards the top lane as the student takes on the master in the first chapter for the new-look Chiefs. It’s extremely early in the season, but Order will have to put on a good showing if they want to make this title a three-horse race.
At the end of the day though, when you couple the performances of the Chiefs’ debutants with an Order struggling to deal with a little chaos, it’s quite hard to give Order the W. It’ll be close, it’ll be messy, but the metaphorical money is on the Chiefs to take the win, and move to a 3–0 in the OPL standings before they face off against Mammoth on Saturday.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.