Competition tight as the League of Legends OPL returns

Jayden Perry Editor

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    The LG Dire Wolves, ready to take on the world. (Riot Games)

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    With Worlds on the line, every Oceanic League of Legends team is out to impress in split two.

    Last split of the Oceanic Pro League came to a much more dramatic head than expected. Instead of the usual Chiefs powerhouse and Legacy close runner up, viewers were treated to an explosion of skill in the form of shake-up artists Dire Wolves and Sin Gaming.

    After some time away, a few international boot camps and a League of Origin, players new and old are making waves on the Oceanic rift.

    Over the weekend, in probably the most anticipated match up, the Chiefs came up against Dire Wolves. Obviously eager to retain some of their reputation, the Chiefs were no push over, but the Dire Wolves’ dominance won out in the end.

    The Dire Wolves’ lead after the last split win proves something quite new for the region; that the gods can be felled. With this attitude in mind, we’re already seeing teams ramping up their skill through experience, both domestically and internationally. Despite a rough time at MSI, what they learnt there will surely help them perform even better as a team this split.

    But that’s not to say that the Chiefs themselves are worth counting out. Game 2 in their match up was a landslide of solid plays and objectives, winning with ease to even out the series.

    The team bootcamped overseas both at the close of split one and during the off season, and were already the tightest knit unit in the scene. I doubt that a Week 1 loss is what they wanted, but it won’t shake their confidence much. One thing’s for certain though – no one will be going on an extreme undefeated streak this time.

    Legacy, less underdogs than ever before, opened this split with big news and the team plays to back that up. Being acquired by the Adelaide Crows in the off season has obviously bolstered the courage of the team. Fresh back from a Korean boot camp, they faced off against SIN and came out on top. Legacy have proven time and again their capacity for disruption, as well as being ahead of the curve with houses and team infrastructure. Oceania should be proud if Carbon and Co. end up representing them at Worlds 2017.

    With one of the biggest personalities in the scene, Juves, Sin Gaming have returned to the rift in dominant fashion, even if they didn’t find themselves a win in Week 1. Having knocked out Chiefs before, and taken wins off Legacy, the growing fan-base and dominance of the squad could be more than enough to rival even the Dire Wolves. If there’s any team to watch for surprises, it’s Sin.

    Avant is currently number one on the OPL ladder, being the only team yet to drop a game this split. While this number is likely to change as the split continues, it’s got to be a confidence boost for the up-and-coming team. Both them and Abyss are growing as teams, and through their experience in the OPL, shaping up better than ever.

    It’s this growth that’s beginning to show throughout the entire competition. Aside from it being a good sign all round, it keeps the match ups against the heavy hitters interesting – everyone loves when there’s room for an upset.

    The last two teams in the OPL both had unlucky weeks, with the new Tainted Minds roster failing to get a single game on the board. Ultimately, they may need more time to mature and develop together as a unit, and with Tgun and Praedyth on their side, their potential is far from lacklustre.

    Regicide is the new team who entered the league after last split’s relegation. For their first time in the next tier up, they performed fairly well – taking a game off of Abyss is a good start for sure. Keep an eye on these guys as they continue in the coming weeks, they may do better than you’d think.

    After Week 1 of the second split, it’s easy to call – it looks like the closest season yet, right when it counts. With some of the best competition on offer, there’s a new level of room for improvement within the sport.

    In turn, that leads to Oceania getting their strongest representative for our first time in the Worlds spotlight.

    Week 2 of the Oceanic Pro League kicks off on Saturday at 3pm (AEST), streamed via the OPL Twitch page.

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