Oceania’s patriotism was shown in full force over the weekend, as teams from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand battled it out for victory in League of Origin.
At the end of a chilly Sunday night, Victoria got a taste of Victory, slaying New Zealand then New South Wales in the inaugural event. It was a wild weekend of smack talk, out-there picks and unorthodox strategies, but it certainly made for great viewing.
The first day saw Queensland’s team land the bottom spot, losing in every one of their three games. Putting them out of the running for top 3, that left New Zealand to find the win they needed against Victoria to close out the day second. New South Wales landed the top spot of day one, but day two held a bunch of excitement to shake up the status quo.
Coming in as underdogs, team Victoria was first set to take on New Zealand. With a lot of strong personalities in their roster, they didn’t seem to have the same growing synergy that NSW and New Zealand had found over the course of day one. Whilst looking strong to begin, the two defeats in the end of the group stage did little to instil a large amount of confidence.
The combination of Chippys, Cupcake and Lost on the side of New Zealand worked well to quell Victoria, but Soulstrikes’ dominant play really shut down Carbon’s jungling. Game one went to New Zealand in dominant fashion in around 35 minutes, with a strong teamfight in the nexus securing the match.
Game two however looked very different as team Victoria picked up Urgot and Anivia, the sheer surprise of the draft paying off very well. As a whole the Victorian chaos composition kept them alive through teamfights like nothing seen in the tournament. As a last ditch strategy (or a well executed surprise) New Zealand’s momentum just couldn’t carry them through to the end.
Everything was on the line for the last match of the best of three semi final. Victoria swapped Carbon out for Spookz, continuing to pick up some less orthodox champions that even had the casters a little concerned. New Zealand opted for the much more standard style of composition, but in the end, the variety won out in twenty-two minutes.
Advancing to the finals against New South Wales, Victoria rolled up with a lot more competence. The idea echoed during the finals was we were down to a strong team unit versus a team of strong players.
The first two games were fairly normal, netting each team a win in much more conventional League of Legends. It’s clear that this wasn’t a last ditch effort in a semi, all the players were ready to prove that they were the best there is.
Game three was the turning point as the more dramatic moments emerged. Egym’s Rakan play gave New South Wales a lot of hope for the game, offering them the early game lead. Victoria’s objective control kept them in the game long enough to swing back and close out their second win.
For the final match of the day, the pressure was on for both teams. Victoria’s top laner, Phantiks, did well to keep the pressure on as their individual laners gained strength. At the close of the game the gold lead for Victoria reflected the action on the battlefield – after all the surprise picks and underdog mentality, they really showed New South Wales how to play the game.
In the end, Victoria walked away with plenty to brag about ahead of the Oceanic Pro League second split. The League of Origin event seemed to be quite a big success, tapping into the stately patriotism that underpins most Australian sports. As a preview for the next split and an ultimate team tourney for the region, hopefully League of Origin returns next year to settle the grudges created over the weekend.