It’s that time of year again, time for the best two teams in Oceania to duke it for the title of champion. This split’s final is bigger than ever, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, you’ll know that the Dire Wolves and the Chiefs will be centre-stage at the Melbourne Esports Open at Rod Laver Arena this Sunday. Today, in a special issue of OPL Lowdown I’ll be running down the matchup between these two titans of Oceanic League of Legends.
The Dire Wolves had another very strong regular season, once again going undefeated to set up their final challenge for a clean sweep this weekend. With a 20-4 game record to match Split 1, they dropped two games in the first two weeks as their new toplaner Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander slotted into the roster, and only losing the other two as a one-off against the Bombers due to some stellar drafting from the Essendon-based side as well as one against ORDER in the final week of the split. However, the most important thing is they swept Chiefs 2-0 in Week 5, with the boys in blue last taking a win against the defending champions in Game 2 of the Split 1 Final before they were epically reverse swept to send the Wolfpack to MSI as Oceania’s representatives.
The only change that the three-time champions made from Split 1 was promoting BioPanther from their academy team, the Dire Cubs, to their starting roster to replace Chippys (who played out this split as the toplaner for Mammoth). It wasn’t long before he started taking the OPL by storm, quickly becoming a fan favourite with his attitude and persona, not to mention his joyful smile that graced OPL broadcasts week after week. He proved extremely versatile in the toplane, boasting a 4.98 KDA this split with a combined win count of 12 out of 13 with Dr. Mundo and Ornn (his two most played champs). The rest of the squad has played phenomenally this split, all posting KDAs above 5 and still look as in control of the OPL as they did in Split 1.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, have produced more of the same style that took them to match point against the Wolfpack in Split 1. With their teamfight-oriented gameplay remaining true to their team’s style, even with the changing of coaches from Richard “Phantiks” Su to Doruk “Doruk” Hacioglu, the Chiefs only went down to the Dire Wolves as well as a shock loss to Tectonic (who also claimed a scalp against ORDER). The only time that the Chiefs have one-upped the Wolfpack this year was at Rift Rivals, where it was up to Swip3rR and the boys to fight back for Oceania after the Dire Wolves dropped their match against Mineski. The Chiefs went on to win the final two games of the finals series against the SEA teams to win Oceania’s first international event.
Just last week we saw the Chiefs take down Legacy in what was for all intents and purposes a commanding 3-1 victory, losing the first game to take the next three in a series reminiscent of the same Gauntlet matchup in Split 1. The first game really caught the Chiefs off-guard, with the Akali pick from Claire as well as a surprise Swain from Raid decimating teamfight after teamfight, while Only was playing out of his mind to completely shut down Babip and Swip3rR. However, it wasn’t long before the slumbering titans awoke to convincingly shut out Legacy over the next three games to book their finals berth and a chance once more at redemption.
Photos by Riot Games Oceania