The OPL ladder looks like a cycling race, with leaders, stragglers, and a big pack in the middle. Let’s dive on into the guts of that pack and see who looks like rising and falling over the next few weeks!
The tour winds on
We’ve reached the end of the first round robin, and the league really does resemble a great cycling event, with the bottom of the league a full two wins behind the pack, and the pacesetters have pulled themselves two wins ahead of the peloton.
Some of what was expected has come to pass – Legacy are very good, Mammoth are struggling mightily, and the Dire Wolves are comfortably in playoffs ?– a distance away from challenging for first, but equally far away from being outside of the playoffs.
Pentanet.GG and Chiefs have surprised us, despite most reasonable projections having both in the playoffs. What we knew about each roster before seeing any play has been outweighed by what each has brought to the table.
And despite a social media propaganda campaign trying to convince us otherwise, it may just turn out that Gravitas was #NotVeryGood after all.
Tune into a future Ties’ Takes for some mid-split award contenders. We’ll have played over half the games by then, so it’ll be a good time to have a look at those. But for now, I want to have a look at three teams who we might not have the full picture of through eight games.
The Wolves are sitting pretty in third, but I become filled with dread when I think about them hanging onto the spot. And it’s all for weird, intangible, and arguably arbitrary reasons.
Of all the teams I’ve watched play this year, I think the Wolves draft to a plan the best. I’m not saying that the plans are the best, or that their picks are the best for that plan. What I’m highlighting here is that when you look at a DW draft, more so than other teams, you know exactly what they’re trying to do, and when they win games it looks like how you imagined it would in their head. In my mind that says that they have the best grasp on their identity. By having this approach to their draft on lock, their success is the most repeatable.
Where they fall down is in their sometimes baffling gameplay. The standout in this is the Week 1 game against Mammoth, where they made exceptionally hard work of the win and really should have swept them aside. Now, that was the sub roster and so you can point the finger at not having Ha “Vital” In-seong, and perhaps a little of the Shernfire-era Dire Wolf arrogance coming back to roost, but make sure you can get the job done first. If the Wolves can clean this up, they’ll be in great stead.
The other elephant in the room for this team is we’ve literally seen this before from the trio of Ben “Kai” Stewart, Ryan “Chippys” Short, and Ari “Shok” Greene-Young and it went completely up the creek. So, while I’m cautiously optimistic for the Dire Wolves, their next three weeks is as hard as it gets. I won’t declare them legit contenders until the core can improve on their win rate heading into playoffs.
Will the real Order please stand up?
Will the real Order please stand up?
We’re gonna have a problem here
Y’all act like you’ve never seen an inconsistent Order before…
I’ll spare you all terrible spoof song lyrics, if only to sing the Ballad of Mighty Haeri. The young Harry Kang has been magnificent on an Order lineup that has at times struggled with Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland’s deaths in the early game, and Ronan “rare7” Swingler’s in the mid-late.
I bring up Order here because their record itself is a bit questionable if you expect them to be a top three team insofar as they lose to teams above them and beat up on the teams below them. Also, they’ve played Gravitas twice. This says to me they’re about where they should be. They need to ramp up if they want to maintain their current spot, and quickly if they expect to climb.
Maybe some of that coach difference that was hinted at in a tweet before the season could help here?
Pentanet for my money is in the opposite situation to the Dire Wolves. And not just because of the obvious third-versus-third-last comparison. While the Wolves are falling victim to their gameplay not matching the quality of the game plan, at times Pentanet.GG’s gameplan is obtuse, inaccessible, or just plain absent.
At their worst, they look like a team bereft of identity. “Getback Friday” memes sprout and Souli looks very much like the rookie that he is.
In full flight they look decisive, full of purpose and committed to their goals. The teamwork is abundant, Jake “Rogue” Sharwood’s engages enable the team and Paris “Souli” Sitzoukis is given ample opportunity to explore his competitive limits and plenty of space for mistakes. At their worst, they look like a team bereft of identity. “Getback Friday” memes sprout and Souli looks very much like the rookie that he is.
What I want from this team is just to let Mark “Praedyth” Lewis carry. I don’t know if this is being stopped by coach Scott “Westonway” Farmer, or Praedyth himself. Let the man auto-attack some time. Dare him to deal some relevant damage, challenge him to perform in these midgame fights. As Legacy fans from last year will attest, he’s rather good at it when he does it.
If they can fix this up, accept and understand that this is a Praedyth-centric team and make sure he’s there contributing to kills and not just irrelevant Ezreal damage, then they can turn this split around. He’s third-bottom in kills despite being fourth in KDA and second in gold share in his role which, combined, is a sign that indicates he isn’t converting his safety and leads into impact in games. They’ve played the Chiefs twice already, so when you look at the ladder as it stands, they have the easiest last 13 games of all the teams.
Big Stat Energy
I’m working on something for future Big Stat Energies that should be a bit more meaty, but I just wanted to take today’s column to highlight a few intriguing numbers that I’ve seen on Games of Legends:
- The Chiefs have three of the top individual kill games, on three different players.
- Mammoth have given up three of the top individual kill games, to three different teams. (This one perhaps not so surprising)
- Raes has three of the best four CSPM (CS per minute) games
- Pentanet.GG have given up three of the best CSPM games. (I would cynically argue this is indicative of not being pressured enough in lanes and that Praedyth needs to be unleashed more, but even though two of them are ADC’s this is not prescriptive)
- Shoutout to Avant’s rookie ADC Violet for crashing the top two’s KDA party. He’d been touted behind the scenes as one to watch and while KDA is a fairly useless isolated statistic, it’s still an achievement.
The second round robin is where we really see the teams settle in to what we can expect from them as the season closes, so it’s now the teams at the bottom have to make their push if they want to be in the scrap for finals places.
Friday from 4PM AEDT is when we’ll rejoin the action, so make sure to see if these three teams can better their split trajectories for that fight!
Follow Reece “Ties” Perry on Twitter.