Recap: League of Legends OPL Week One
Chiefs Esports Club vs. LG Dire Wolves
2-1 win to Chiefs Esports Club
The opening match for the 2017 Oceanic Pro League Summer Split saw a rematch of last year’s semi-finals between defending Oceanic champions; the Chiefs Esports Club and Dire Wolves coming off the back of a lengthy boot camp in South Korea. This match-up was more than just a season opener: it was a stage for both teams to show how they’ve each grown in the off-season, and the contest didn’t disappoint.
The Chiefs came flying out of the fountain in Game 1, aggressively applying pressure to the mid lane in attempts to shut down Richard “Phantiks” Su. Despite obtaining first blood, Samuel “Spookz” Broadley’s Lee Sin was far from flawless: he continuously failed to land sonic waves on low members of the Dire Wolves throughout the game.
This aggression by the Chiefs would cost them dearly, however, as they repeatedly over-committed early in the bot lane, running into the jaws of Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw’s Tahm Kench. Shortly after this mistake, the Chiefs would again make a foolish move, choosing a 4v5 fight at Dragon that secured a brief gold lead for the Dire Wolves.
Even with their zeal, the Chiefs managed to stay in the contest by both having a hold of game maps and tactfully picking off members of the wolfpack as they over extended. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they failed to maintain this balance, as mid-laner Simon “Swiffer” Papamarkos got caught up in the team’s aggression and carelessly used Syndra’s ultimate on the tankiest members of the Dire Wolves.
Advantageously, the Dire Wolves capitalized on the Chiefs’ missteps, setting up Phantiks and Calvin “k1ng” Truong to pour free damage in several team fights. After multiple back-and-forth exchanges, the Dire Wolves snagged themselves the win.
In the second round, the Dire Wolves ran a similar composition seen in the first, setting up K1ng and Phantiks on Ash and Syndra behind a tanky wall comprised of Ryan “Chippys” Short’s Poppy and Lachlan “Sybol” Civil’s Rek’Sai. Considering the Dire Wolves’ win in Game 1 and their strong start in Game 2, the Chiefs struck back hard, utilizing Spookz’s unconventional friend of the forest, Ivern, to turn the tides to the top lane, countering Sybol’s ganks. From this, Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland became comfortable on his Nautilus pick, marking him as essentially un-killable as he caused nightmares for the Dire Wolves throughout the match.
Once the Chiefs settled in, every attempt made by the Dire Wolves to take control was struck down. It seems Game 2 was the redemption round for the Chiefs, and it paid off with a win.
The Chiefs and the Wolves dove into the third and final game hungry for victory — and it showed. With the series hanging in the balance, the Dire Wolves went the tried and true route with comfort roles and snagged a power pick in Malzahar support. Contrarily, the Chiefs ran a surprising long-range engage composition, picking Sion in the top lane, Aurelion Sol for the mid, and the potent combination of Jhin and Miss Fortune in the bottom.
The game went back and forth for the first 35 minutes before boiling over into a crucial team fight that left the Dire Wolves’ top-laner the sole survivor on the rift. Just as it looked like the Wolves might come away with the victory, they attempted a risky Baron, leading to an almost easy team fight for the Chiefs and a win to secure the series.
Bryce “EGym” Paule also had a hell of a game on, crafting a mini highlight reel of massive plays with his damage support Miss Fortune.
Exile 5 vs. Tainted Minds
2-0 win to Tainted Minds
Though Exile 5 showed great efforts to secure a win at the start, both Game 1 and Game 2 in this match-up went to Tainted Minds.
Many had anticipated a clean double victory for the fan-favourite Tainted Minds, but their first match in the summer split was anything but smooth. After a rocky entry in Game 1, with Exile 5 threatening a win up until the 25-minute mark, Tainted Minds barely rebounded in a series of blood-bath team fights. Tristan “Cake” Côté-Lalumière slaughtered Exile 5 in a chaotic fight in Tainted Minds jungle, and quickly became too overwhelming for Exile 5 to deal with.
After a mistake-ridden first game on both teams’ behalves, Game 2 started awfully for Exile, as Eldin “Guts” Skenderovic gave up two easy kills only a minute in. Their misfortunes snowballed, and Tainted Minds savagely dealt out damage while Exile 5 was unable to gain advantage. Ryan “ShorterACE” Nget was explosive as Rengar, with his impressive 11 kills pushing Tainted Minds to their second win.
You can check out day one games here:
Abyss Esports vs. SIN Gaming
2-1 win to SIN Gaming
Marking the second half of week 1 were two the fresh-faced rosters of Abyss Esports Club and Sin Gaming. Expectedly, this match-up was slated to give audiences both a glimpse into the players and playstyles of each teams’ line-ups, especially Sin’s new kid on the block, ADC Victor “FBI” Huang, who made his OPL debut this week. What they got were three intense rounds of gameplay that exceeded expectations.
Game 1 started as a tight competition, but Abyss were led by Sebastian “Seb” de Ceglie’s incredibly-fed Rengar and Leon “Frae” Lee’s Viktor. While the latter had a shaky early game, he pulled it together later to land some crucial Orianna ultimates.
Game 2 hung on a tilting point until the 30-minute mark where Abyss’s Zach “Pacman” Bayne made the crucial mistake of overcommitting to a teleport that led to a winning fight for SIN and an easy baron take. After this, Abyss managed to defend their base for as short time until a flanking Joshua “Wzrd” Russell destroyed Abyss’s backline securing the win and equalizing the series.
Game 3 saw Sin Gaming running off the adrenaline and satisfaction of their mid-match win. Frae’s Viktor was monstrous, but the mid-laner couldn’t hold Sin out by himself. The thought of killing Ta “Flaresz” Binh as Poppy became nigh impossible: he stood directly in front of Sin, taunting Abyss while his teammates took apart both their base and any chance of them securing a win. Flaresz was fittingly on fire in this last round, and closed the series without a single death, his final score an impressive 4-0-6.
Legacy Esports vs. Avant Garde
2-0 win to Legacy Esports
Legacy Esports versus Avant Garde was potentially the second biggest matchup of the opening week of the OPL. After losing their bot lane and mid-laner to opposing teams the the off season, Legacy looked to recruit younger talent in Andy “CupCake” Van der Vyer and Lawrence “Lost” Hui. Avant Garde, a seasoned OPL franchise, served as the perfect test for the young players. Under the experience and gameplay precision of OCE veteran and Legacy captain Tim “Carbon” Wendel, Avant Garde stood little chance, making the back-to-back win look entirely too easy for Legacy.
Theoretically in the hopes of blowing up Legacy’s carries before they could gain any steam, Avant Garde selected two high-damage assassins in Ekko and Khaz’ix. However, their apparent hopes wouldn’t become reality. Like quicksand, the more Avant fought back, the more Legacy took; the team completely swallowed them up. Lost took full advantage of the opportunity and showcased his talent, coming out of Game 1 with a spotless score of 7-0-5.
Avant Garde continued to attempt to pull the trigger on plays during the second game, but, yet again, Legacy slowly but surely bled Avant of any chance of winning. Legacy convincingly won nearly all lanes on several high-damage picks, and out-classed Avant Garde in every team fight across the map. Even a creep score advantage Myles “Blinky” Irvine had built up over Lost was nullified Brandon “Claire” Nguyen, whose Syndra blew away the Avant carry every chance he got. Despite persistent efforts from the Avant boys, they never truly got close to a win in the first place. It was a case of deja vu in round two: Legacy ruthlessly seized the second win, snuffing out their opponents with ease.
You can check out day two games here: