After five weeks of exhilarating action, the OPL takes a pause for IEM Katowice before the business end of the split begins. We’re halfway through the split, and once again there’s a clear divide between the big three teams and the rest of the competition; with two teams lagging behind the chasing pack.
First Place: Chiefs eSports Club (14 Points)
Another OPL split, and it seems the Chiefs are destined for another regular season first place finish. They’ve got one of the most experienced rosters in the OPL, and they’ve picked up right where they left off from last year.
Questions were raised about Raes’ ability to adapt to a utility meta after he struggled during the International Wildcard Tournament, but he’s entered this split with a far better grasp of the meta. The Chiefs have even been confident enough to entrust him with his favored carry champs in recent weeks as he played Lucian and Ezreal in a couple of resounding wins.
The rest of the team is a known quantity at this point, all incredibly potent players on their own, but together they form the strongest team in the OPL.
Second Place: Legacy eSports (12 Points)
Perennial runner-ups, Legacy once again find themselves in second place leading into the back half of the split. This is, however, a much different lineup to the ones that previously played under the Legacy banner. Gone is longstanding mid-laner Chuchuz, replaced by Claire, who returns to Oceania after a split in the Japanese Challenger league.
Their top side of Tally and Carbon remains, but they’ve got a new bot lane in Lost and Cupcake. Two lane focused players who have begun to open up their repertoire of champion pools and have been given the resources to succeed. Their Lucian/Braum bot lane against Dire Wolves was dominant, and a sign that they’ve begun to come together both as a bot lane and as a team and this synergy will be crucial going into the second half of the split.
Third Place: Dire Wolves (10 Points)
Ah, the Dire Wolves. Always nipping at the heels of the alphas of the OPL pack but never quite catching them. The big story last season was them trading away Raes to the Chiefs in one of the most questionable roster decisions in OPL history. It seems the Dire Wolves have somewhat redeemed that decision by bringing back K1ng from Legacy to consolidate their bot lane.
The big story for the Dire Wolves this split was picking up Shernfire. An incredibly potent mechanical jungler who had spent last year in the NA Challenger Series before moving to Korea to spend the final half of the year playing in their much vaunted Solo Queue system reaching as high as the top 10.
For the first half of the split, the Dire Wolves experimented with rotating their junglers throughout their series, and it hindered their play and overall synergy as the roster took time to gel with two different junglers. Going into the second half of the split the Dire Wolves have chosen to release Sybol and commit to playing with Shernfire full time. It’s Shernfire’s job now to prove that that was the right call.
Fourth Place: Avant Garde (9 Points)
Avant Garde finds themselves sitting comfortably inside the playoffs positions, but they’ve yet to challenge any of the top 3 teams in the OPL. They were swiftly defeated 2-0 by the Chiefs before the IEM break, and they’ve had two weeks to solve some of their issues so that they can continue their climb up the table.
The big story for Avant Garde this split has been their top laner, Ceres. Not afraid to push the boundaries of the meta, he’s shown great team fighting on tanks and great laning and split pushing on carry top laners like Fiora, Irelia, and even Tryndamere.
AD Carry, Blinky, has been another standout player for Avant Garde as he’s shown his Challenger performances were no fluke, leading Avant to several barnstorming wins. These two players are the key to Avant’s playoffs aspirations, and if they want to be more than simply making up the numbers, they’ll need to be fit and firing.
Fifth Place: Sin Gaming (6 points)
Another split and another inconsistent affair for Sin Gaming. Just when it looked like they were stepping into hyper drive with a dominating win against Legacy they were brought back down to Earth with a thumping loss to Avant Garde.
Despite several roster changes, once again Sin live and die by Juves’ sword. When he gets a favorable matchup on an early game focused champion like Elise he tears up Summoners’ Rift. Ganking lanes all across the map while keeping a watchful eye over the enemy jungler. However, if they don’t get an early lead, they’ll begin to flounder and rely on the classic OCE ARAM tactic as they try to team fight their way out of deficits. Sin need to develop a mid-game strategy for when they aren’t ahead out of laning phase, or they risk missing out on the playoffs.
Sixth Place: Tainted Minds (6 points)
Tainted Minds were looking like a potential dark horse with severals after bringing in several high-profile imports to play in the OPL. Then suddenly the team imploded. First, the team manager and coach left the team abruptly and then four of the five players left the roster, leaving their top laner Praedyth as the only player on the team midway through the split.
Whatever momentum Tainted Minds had in the early part of the split is well and truly gone now. Praedyth will look to take his off the wall top lane picks into the mid lane after swapping down, however, with so many roster changes mid-split there’s only so much the lone original TM player can do.
Seventh Place: Abyss eSports (3 points)
The strategy for Abyss coming into the OPL was to take a couple of the strongest players from an assortment of bottom dwelling teams to try and piece together a roster that could challenge in the OPL. Unfortunately for them, that hasn’t been the case. Their lone win coming against the Tainted Minds sub squad and even that set was a mess.
It’s not that Abyss have terrible players, it’s that they’re all middle of the road players for the most part and they have some of the worst decision-making in the OPL. Their top laner Pacman has underperformed heavily after coming across the Tasman to play with Abyss. On Trident, Pacman was left on an island as he somehow endured a barrage of enemy pressure. On Abyss, he’s once again left on an island, but he’s become extremely easy to kill and pressure all the while Abyss struggle to do anything else on the rest of the map.
Eighth Place: Exile 5 (0 points)
Exile 5 are the only team without a win in the first half of the OPL. They’re a crazy roster of mostly rookies and simply put, they’re not quite ready for the center stage of the OPL. Some of these players have shown some promise of their hidden skill, but as a team, they simply lack the composure and skill to match the other teams in the OPL.
Current Ladder Placing
League of Legends Oceanic Pro League Split One returns this weekend on Saturday, March 6th, 2017. Watch live on www.twitch.tv/opl