This week a series of battles across the standings determine who drops behind in each race, and who takes the upper hand a month in — not least of all the return of the table-topping El Classico clash.
With the end of the first round robin approaching, the Oceanic Pro League has seen a fair share of fixtures but has also left some of it’s best for last.
The two undefeated squads, Legacy Esports and the Chiefs, will come face to face in the El Classico on Friday evening, where the victor will come out supreme and claiming the sole share of first place.
Along with myself, Emma “ammeplays” Van der Brug and Alex “Alexicon” Leckie-Zaharic break down the biggest match of the week as the Pro League rolls on, starting with Gravitas vs Order on Friday, February 21 from 4pm AEDT.
Emma’s Feature Match: Order (3–3) vs Dire Wolves (3–3)
Prediction: Dire Wolves def. by Order
Sitting in the equal third after Week 3 of the Oceanic Pro League are Order and the Dire Wolves. The two teams are facing off on opposite sides of the Rift in a match that will give the viewers an insight into how the placings will fall into place over the split.
Last week was a 1-1 week for both teams, as Order lost to Pentanet.GG and looked shaky in their performance against bottom-placed team Mammoth. Dire Wolves had a win to start the week against Avant, but had to face the Chiefs, who defeated them and remained lossless.
This week could fall into either team’s favour, especially since both teams have the exact same record so far against other teams. They have wins against Gravitas, Mammoth, and Avant Gaming, with their losses to Pentanet, Legacy, and Chiefs.
Order has shown to be an incredibly emotional team when they play, with their decision making in-game being influenced by their performances in-game. Last week against Mammoth, the team had a very shaky early game that had viewers wondering if they would be able to take the win against the last-placed team.
The early game emotions seemed to cause some mistakes, with missed skill shots and questionable fights, however, the player experience gap was a deciding factor and they eventually took the win.
The Dire Wolves are still seemingly finding synergy in the early game and the ability to translate those small wins into victories. It seems communication is also being worked on, with Ha “Vital” In-seong in their match against the Chiefs teleporting into their team and dying, with an 0-5-3 performance on Aphelios, and 2k gold behind his opponent Robert “Katsurii” Gouv.
It’s tough to decide on the winner for this week, as both teams seem to be on a level playing field. Personally, the Order roster looks more consistent if they have a good early game, and they will take out the win this week, due to the advantage of having already played on Friday.
They will get a chance to play against Gravitas who they’ve beaten previously and with the memories of that game fresh in their minds, face off against the Dire Wolves roster.
Harry’s Feature Match: Legacy Esports (6–0) vs The Chiefs (6–0)
Prediction: Chiefs def. by Legacy
The El Classico. The fixture named after the rivalry of two of Oceania’s oldest and fabled franchises, harking back to a time before the Oceanic Pro League even existed, and before the Chiefs and Legacy Esports were known under their current names.
After the intensity of the rivalry lessened as their ladder positions drifted apart over the last few years, the heat is back as the two teams find themselves tied for first, each undefeated at 6-0. Both teams will be coming in at full force looking for the win, as the rewards of sole possession of first place on the ladder are too valuable to lose.
This game is hard to predict. Arguments can be made either why but I have Legacy as the slight favourites. Legacy as a team is just that slightest bit better on paper. Whilst both teams are clearly by far and away the number one and number two in this league at the present moment, the raw skill from Legacy is just that bit higher and may become crucial in a matchup like this.
I also see the Chiefs have seemed to develop a focus of winning via getting an early dominance in the top lane with top laner Romeo “Thien” Tran and jungler Park “Croc” Jong Hoon as a negative, as I think that will not work against Kim “Topoon” Jihoon and Leo “Babip” Romer and the rest of the boys as green, as there closeness in overall ability will rebuke this technique.
This technique did falter last week for the Chiefs, as Thien fell behind in his matchup, with Croc and bot laner Robert “Katsurii” Gouv picking up the slack. Even though I have Legacy as the favourites, they will need to be work hard and clean to get it.
The Chiefs will be one of if not the hardest team that Legacy will face on an Oceanic level and they will have to be on their best. Any mistakes will be costly and too many will be detrimental to their ability to win.
Alex’s Feature Match: Gravitas (2–4) vs Avant Gaming (2–4)
Prediction: Gravitas def. by Avant
Gravitas and Avant Gaming’s clash this week is a difficult one to untangle. On one hand, they have identical records, winning and losing against the same teams.
But apart from victories over Mammoth and Pentanet.GG, the other lowest teams on the ladder, these two squads have been relatively unremarkable this split.
With their match on Saturday rounding out the first round-robin of the split, one team will break into Gauntlet territory while the other languishes at the bottom of the table, a stone’s throw away from the wooden spoon.
This match will be decided by which team’s shining light is the brightest, with both Gravitas and Avant having clear standout players this split. Jordan “Praelus” Fernandes, by far the most experienced player on his team, has dragged his squad to their two wins this split, and has been the main reason they haven’t been completely and utterly blown out in their losses.
Facing off across from the underperforming Thomas “LeeSA” Ma, he can carry the game through the jungle, but depending on how much you rate AV’s victory over Mammoth, LeeSA seems to be on the uptick.
AV’s shining light at the moment is Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney, who stepped up massively in his squad’s victories, and will be looking to do the same this weekend.
Dominant performances on Zoe and Ekko last week show he can carry when he needs to, and despite that Ekko game ending in a loss, he’s shown he can go toe-to-toe with other teams vying for a playoff spot. If he has a similar performance this week, he could blow the game open from the mid lane.
Saturday’s game sets the tone for the race for the Gauntlet, and with looming matchups against Order and Legacy for Gravitas and Avant respectively, there’s a real chance that one of these teams ends the fourth week of play 2-6.
Pentanet, on the other hand, have their game against Mammoth this week, which offers a huge chance to crawl out their spot at the bottom of the standings.
By the time the dust clears on the Gravitas v Avant match, one team will push into the middle of the pack and leave the other with a whole lot of work to do come the second and third round robins of the split. Avant has the higher ceiling, and this team begins to gel more and more together, their potential only grows.
A battle against Gravitas is a chance to prove that they belong where the pundits placed them prior to the beginning of the split, and they’ll be hungry to slay the demons that have plagued their games. AV will take the win, but it will be close, and it will be bloody.
The Oceanic Pro League returns this Friday.