League of Legends OPL Gauntlet Recap
The OPL did not disappoint in its first ever playoffs gauntlet as three best of five series were played across the weekend. From the first minute to the last, it was exhilarating and action packed. The big story of the first week of the gauntlet was undoubtedly Sin Gaming’s scintillating run through the gauntlet as they took down Avant Garde and the Chiefs in back to back five-game series. They then fell heartbreakingly short of a debut finals berth, as Legacy reverse swept them and ensured their own place in the grand final.
Sin Gaming (3) def. Avant Garde (2)
In a rematch of the last week of the OPL regular season, Avant Garde and Sin once again slugged it out in an evenly matched series. Game one saw Sin get off to a quick start as Flaresz dominated on Renekton to pick up first blood and used his lead to snowball the bot lane.
Sin initiated their 1-3-1 split push, and while Avant tried to turn it around by grouping as five and pushing down mid, they overstayed their welcome as Flaresz and ry0ma ran rampant on the flank. It was a case of deja vu just five minutes later as once again, Avant were caught at the Sin inhibitor turret for another ace and this time it cost them the game.
The next three games went back and forth as Triple and Ceres went blow for blow with ry0ma and Flaresz, with Avant getting leads in one game and Sin getting leads in the other. In the fifth and final game, it was the Flaresz Fizz show as he absolutely dominated the game, going 16/1/5 to seal Sin’s passage into the next round of the gauntlet.
Sin Gaming (3) def. Chiefs Esports Club (2)
With only a night’s rest, Sin took on the reigning OPL champions, Chiefs Esports Club in another five-game series. Sin started off the series strongly as ry0ma dominated Swiffer on Syndra and took over the game to lead Sin to an early 2-0 lead.
It seemed like the Chiefs sluggish start to the series was going to cost them, but finally, the found their rhythm, drafting a team fighting focused composition and allowing Swiffer and Swiper to control the game with Orianna and Renekton. In the fourth game, the Chiefs once again drafted a team fight focused composition, bringing in the utility of Ivern to help support the DPS carries of Ashe and Taliyah. Spookz had had a pretty quiet series so far, but in this game, he was all over the map in the early game, counter ganking, counter jungling and being an all around nuisance.
You’d be forgiven for predicting that that was the end of Sin’s gauntlet run as Juves looked into his screen blankly after game four. But somehow, Sin were able to reset their mentality and come into the deciding game fit and firing. They target banned Spookz and then took the Gragas for themselves and picked Flaresz his game five pocket pick, Fizz.
An incredible body slam-flash prediction from Juves on Swiper brought back the confidence for the Sin captain, and his excitement was infectious as Sin began to out rotate and outplay the Chiefs at every turn. Finally, in the 29th minute Sin caught Spookz out of position and pushed towards the Nexus to seal another victory and march on to the next round of the gauntlet.
Legacy (3) def. Sin Gaming (2)
It seemed like another case of deja vu to start of this series as once again; the experts did not believe in the Sinderella story, predicting Legacy to come out on top. Sin had no intentions of being an easy beat, however, as they pulled out to a 1-0 lead off the back of some fantastic counter ganking from Juves.
Game two saw ry0ma struggle a little bit as he was caught out of position several times and Legacy looked to be in prime position to lock up the series. However, their indecisiveness at Baron meant that Sin picked up back to back Baron buffs to help them claw back the gold lead. While Legacy still had a gold lead, Sin were using their sixth member in the game smartly, setting up a massive minion wave in the bottom lane to force Legacy into a flurry of mistakes. Finally, after their third Baron buff, a second Elder Dragon and three inhibitors destroyed, Sin were able to end the game.
However, after 12 games in less than three days, finally, Sin crumbled as Claire destroyed Sin with some well-timed shockwaves to set Legacy on the path to a reverse sweep. Carbon then got in on the action in game four with an incredible Lee Sin performance where he picked up ten kills to put Legacy a game away from their fifth straight OPL grand final. Finally, it was Legacy’s bot lane of Lost and Cupcake who drove the final nail in Sin’s coffin as Lost went legendary on his Lucian pocket pick to seal the reverse sweep.
Player of the week: Sin Gaming
The story of the first week of the gauntlet was undoubtedly Sin’s incredible gauntlet run. As such, it seemed unfair to single out one player from what was indeed a team effort. Flaresz brought out his veteran edge (and a very fed fish) to pull out two game-winning performances in the fifth game of both the Avant and Chiefs set. Juves, the heart and soul of the Sin lineup, a player who has had his fair share of criticism, led his team valiantly through the most taxing weekend of their lifetimes.
Ry0ma was a player who at the start of the season didn’t even have a starting spot. Ironically, he was the substitute for Chiefs’ mid laner, Swiffer, and it seemed only fitting that he would save his best performances for his games against Swiffer. In his first season in the OPL, FBI performed admirably, often taking on the silent role as the initiator for his team. And finally, Rogue, his performances on Zyra were critical in several of Sin’s wins as he out damaged solo laners and controlled choke points in and around Baron extremely well.
Despite not being in the Final, Sin Gaming can hold their heads up high. Despite being knocked down at every turn, they got up and fought till the bitter end with determination to steal everyone’s hearts and firm themselves as a legitimate threat for the next OPL split.