Two weeks in, and the split in the Oceanic Pro League is widening. Harkening back to original grudge-match races to the title, Legacy and the Chiefs have stormed to undefeated 4–0 records and rule the Oceanic roost.
For many teams, the season is already approaching a point of no return if they want to avoid getting sucked into a fight to avoid the spoon. Some rosters just haven’t fired, while others have been unlucky. All will be eyeing a key 2–0 weekend.
Our prediction analysts Emma “ammeplays” Van der Brug, Harry “hispanicatd” Taylor, and Alex “Alexicon” Leckie-Zaharic break down the biggest match of the week as the Pro League rolls on, starting with Avant Gaming vs Dire Wolves on Friday, February 14 from 4pm AEDT.
Emma’s Feature Match: Dire Wolves (2–2) vs The Chiefs (4–0)
Prediction: Dire Wolves def. by Chiefs
The Chiefs are looking to be one of the top contenders of the Oceanic Pro League this split, after two weeks of games on the Rift. Coming into Week 3 with a flawless record, the pressure will be mounting on them to continue their streak.
On the other side of the Rift, their opponents first up on Friday after the Dire Wolves, who are currently sitting on a 2–2 record. They’ve faced off against Legacy Esports, who are currently tied for first with the Chiefs.
In the clash between two former Oceanic kings, the long dormant dynasty of the Chiefs have the upper hand in 2020, and are all possibilities to take out the victory come Friday evening. They are currently one of two teams with a perfect record, and have handily won each of their games at breakneck speed.
On top of that, Romeo “Thien” Tran is certainly delivering after being tipped as a player to watch ahead of the split. He has stepped into the team’s top lane with confidence. He’s already seeing a lot of success too, including a 7/0/4 game on Diana against Pentanet in Week 1.
On top of that, the Chiefs have a dominant, controlling style. Each game they’ve played has been relatively even up to the 10 minute mark, and then they begin their squeeze. In their match history this split, that moment in the game—around the time the Rift Herald emerges in the Baron Pit—has been key. From there, they have snowballed four times in a row.
While the Dire Wolves do have the potential to claim an upset in the Week 3 match, the Chiefs are definitely favourites here, and with their 4–0 record only building their confidence as well, all signs point to them collecting win five on Friday night.
Harry’s Feature Match: Mammoth (0–4) vs Avant Gaming (1–3)
Prediction: Mammoth def. by Avant
It might be early to call a match ‘split-defining,’ but for Mammoth and Avant Gaming, this Friday evening match may be just that.
After finding themselves nestled in the bottom half of the ladder after the opening fortnight, these two teams will be coming into this game wanting to use this as a springboard to set themselves up on a path towards a playoff spot.
Looking ahead, the win here is critical for both squads, because the losing team will be put into an awful position in the ladder. A loss will see Mammoth be at best 1–5 after Week 3, whilst Avant could be at best 2–4 if they see “defeat” flash on their screen.
This is a tough spot to come back from in terms of playoff hop too, as they would need at least a 50% win rate for the rest of the split to get at or over nine wins, the number of victories Order needed to secure fifth in both splits of 2019.
AV should be able to take it early, and let the lead roll into a snowball, but Mammoth do have a chance to change their own record too: if they have solved their early game issues, and the retention of those leads, the game may have changed.
However, Avant comes into this game as favourites, and should be able to take the all-important win on Friday evening. While both teams have shown the ability to start strong early, the boys have blue have proven that they can push the lead into a win like they did last Friday against Pentanet, while Mammoth have continued to let leads fizzle.
Alex’s Feature Match: Pentanet.GG (1–3) vs Order (2–2)
Prediction: Pentanet def. by Order
After two weekends in the OPL, we’re beginning to see a clear picture of where every team stands, and this match in particular holds two teams that have—so far—coughed up performances a little way off where they were expected to land.
Coming into 2020, Order featured prominently as one of two teams that were ostensible title favourites alongside Legacy. Four games in, however, they’ve failed to fire against Legacy, and were obliterated by the new-look Chiefs lineup. Their two wins have come against Avant and Gravitas (both 1–3).
Pentanet are another roster that have struggled to meet expectations so far this year. The Perth org acquired a Pro League slot from the Bombers, and collected two former champions in Jake “Rogue” Sharwood and Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander.
Despite that, however, the team has slipped past the middle table battle, limping to just a single victory against the Dire Wolves so far this split.
It’s crunch time for both teams. Order need to prove they can go toe-to-toe with the tabletoppers and Pentanet needs to fire up now to turn their season around. Order, meanwhile, have a game against the 0–4 Mammoth and are poised to jump to 4–2 if they win both games this week.
For this game, keep an eye on the mid lane. Both Harry “Haeri” Kang and Jarod “Getback” Tucker are regarded as the forefront of the new wave of Oceanic talent, and in a battle against each other it will be extremely interesting to see who claims the ascendancy.
Pentanet have failed to make an impact so far, but this week Order will be out for blood following last week’s loss, and are clear favourites to take the win this week. However, Order should win both games this week and firmly establish themselves as a top-three team in a crowded middle of the standings.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.