It’s Legacy’s time to shine. The most prolific rivalry in the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League is alive and well, as Chiefs Esports Club and Legacy Esports have clashed once more. After years and countless battles, the latest closed out in favour of the boys in green, cleaning up the Chiefs in a tight two to nil win.

There’s still four weeks until the semifinals, but this match-up was an important one. It bumped Chiefs from their comfortable top spot, allowing Legacy a commanding lead for the downhill run. Off the back of their two to nil loss to SIN Gaming the week earlier, I spoke to Andy ‘Cupcake’ Van der Vyer, Brandon ‘Claire’ Nguyen, Lawrence ‘Lost’ Hui and James ‘Tally’ Shute of Legacy eSports about the big win and the last half of OPL Split 1.

For Claire, the win was a high point in his early career. “It feels absolutely amazing being on top of the OPL in my first split,” he noted, “and it feels even better to reach that spot by beating the players I look up to.” Despite the camaraderie rivalry brings, Legacy was by no means confident in the straightforward win going into it.

“It’s almost a surreal feeling being able to bounce back from losing to SIN to pulling off a 2-0 victory over Chiefs,” said Tally. These sentiments were echoed by Lost,  I think it was pretty surprising that we were able to pull off a 2-0 over Chiefs.” Everyone seemed to agree on one thing though – that nabbing the top spot was a great reward for the hard work the players put in this split.

To say the win was an easy one, however, would be far from the truth. Especially in game one the Chiefs played textbook League of Legends, but Claire’s dominance caused them a lot of trouble. “I had been feeling really confident in my Viktor leading up to this series and since the chiefs are such a mid-centric team I thought he would be the perfect champ to take into them,” he explained. His ability to pressure and deal with pressure well certainly shone through.

The draft was hugely important to success, and this was where the expertise of coach Luchio ‘Soulstrikes’ Park came into play. “Our coach prepared us incredibly well for the series; both in gameplay style as well as draft,” explained Lost. “In game two our team composition was near perfect with comfort picks on both Viktor and Nautilus.”

It seemed the mid split break did wonders for preparation, allowing teams to get the extra preparation in for their week six matches. According to Tally, the break allowed legacy to “understand the meta extremely well,” a key factors in the victory.

The one repeated name when talking highlights from the match is Claire. Legacy’s mid-laner came into his own this series, enabled by strong team play that let him dominate. “The quadra kill by Claire in the second game pretty much decided the series,” said Cupcake. Consistently he pulled ahead, and with such a comfortable draft his target prioritisation and play won out the day.

Other than Claire, the ability to capitalise on the Chiefs’ mistakes made Legacy a dangerous force. “One of the key plays to our victory was when we had shut them out of the top side of the map which secures our baron pressure,” explained Tally. “Spookz came forward to check and got chunked by Claire which forced him to back off and go heal. Instantly we started baron, secured it and cleaned up the remnants of the enemy team.”

The dilemma here, off the back of his performance last week, is that Claire has just been slapped with a two week ban from the OPL. An investigation around account sharing while Claire was playing in the LJL Challenger Series found that he had in fact engaged in activities against Riot Games’ terms of service. While no evidence of boosting or other misconduct was found, he’s still going to have to sit out the team’s next two battles.

“I’m definitely gutted over the ruling,” Claire stated, “there’s not much more I can say other than i’m really disappointed and the situation really sucks. However, I’m still positive my team will pull out the win in the next 2 weeks easily.”

Being replaced by ex-Legacy and ex-Tainted Minds player Aaron ‘ChuChuz’ Bland is definitely the optimal choice for Legacy, but it’s definitely disheartening to have him sitting out after that big performance in week six. “Claire contributed a large sum to our team dynamic as well as decision making,” said Lost. “However, ChuChuz is a really suitable replacement for him as he is also super talented in his own respects.”

Tally had a different stance however, displaying an unwavering confidence for the weeks leading up to the finals. “Honestly this barely affects how we feel, we’ve already played all our hardest games for the regular season so I still expect us to go 4-0 in the upcoming 2 weeks.”

Luckily, this is true, with the Chiefs fight out of the way Legacy is very likely to make finals, thanks to the groupings. Tainted Minds, SIN Gaming, Abyss Esports Club and Avant Garde are all that’s left to stop them keeping the top spot. The other side of the groups looks much tougher, so their potential finals match up isn’t as easy to pick as it may seem. “I’m expecting either the Chiefs or Dire Wolves to bring it to us,” closed Claire. “We’ll see who comes out on top out.”

Despite the victory, the battle for the top spots is sure to rage on. With matches like this, who knows what teams like SIN Gaming and Dire Wolves can do under pressure. Even if the Chiefs and Legacy meet in the finals, it’s sure to be an explosive and tense series. “They have beaten us a lot more than we have beaten them so this rivalry is far from over,” said Tally. “I expect our next meeting with chiefs to be a lot closer than this one.”

The Oceanic Pro League is live every Saturday and Sunday from 3PM AEST. Legacy Esports is set to play next on Sunday 12th March at 3PM, taking on Tainted Minds. You can catch all the action on the OPL Twitch Channel.