We’re back! The OPL returned this week after the IEM break, and there were a couple of roster swaps that occurred over the break that we got to see in action this week. This week in OPL the Dire Wolves kept Abyss at bay, Sin took down Exile 5, Avant Garde squeaked home against a new look Tainted Minds, and Legacy crushed the Chiefs.

Dire Wolves vs. Abyss eSports

2 – 0 Dire Wolves

This was the Dire Wolves first weekend with their concrete five man roster after putting aside their original plans to rotate junglers and sticking with Shernfire for the remainder of the split. Dire Wolves were given the dream composition in this meta in game one after gambling by keeping Camille, Rengar and Leblanc unbanned in the first round of bans. Instead of trading power picks with the Dire Wolves, Abyss tried to counter pick the Wolves’ comp, and for a while, it looked to be working. But once the Camille gathered her core items and Phantiks was able to roam on Leblanc, the game quickly spun out of hand.

Game two was a particularly surprising game as Shernfire showed a different side to his normal hyper-aggressive damage oriented side as he first picked Ivern with both Rengar and Graves available. Once again Phantiks edged out a lead in the mid lane on assassin pick, this time Talon, and roamed to great effect with Shernfire’s Ivern to snowball the game into a 2-0 victory.

Sin Gaming vs. Exile 5

2 – 0 Sin Gaming

Sin was another team that went through some roster changes over the IEM break as they parted ways with former mid laner, Wzrd, to pick up Chiefs’ substitute mid laner. Their reasoning was that with Ryoma they’d be able to play a playstyle which they weren’t able to play around Wzrd. Their first test was against the winless Exile 5, and while they picked up the victory, it was the same old Sin playstyle where if they weren’t able to snowball a lead through Juves they’d flounder in the mid game.

Game one was just that as Exile 5 picked away Juves’ most successful champion, Elise, and forced him onto Rek’sai. Without the early pressure that Juves typically provides on Elise, Sin were unable to pull away from Exile 5 and returned to their tried and tested method of trying to out team fight the enemy around the mid lane. In game two, Juves was able to pick up the Elise, and all went to plan for Sin as they closed out the game in 24 minutes.

Avant Garde vs. Tainted Minds

2-1 Avant Garde 

Another week and another roster for Tainted Minds as they try to salvage their season. After playing with a sub squad in the last week of the OPL, they recruited Wzrd and Squidgy from Sin Gaming. Avant Garde, on the other hand, were attempting to bounce back after a rough loss to the Chiefs before the IEM break and to keep within touching distance of the top 3.

Game one saw Avant Garde come out with a single target CC focused composition while Tainted Minds drafted a full AD comp with a Kog’maw and Lulu in the bottom lane. While Squidgy was able to get off one or two decent fights on the Kog’maw, the rest of his team were completely neutered by the CC and tankiness of the Avant lineup as they pulled away for a comfortable win.

In the next game, Tainted Minds repeated their bot lane picks of Kog’maw and Lulu but supplemented them with a far more balanced composition with Ryze and Ekko for magic damage as they levelled the series 1-1. In the deciding game, Avant banned away the Kog’maw and Ryze, and after another slow start their composition turned online at 25 minutes, and they rampaged through TM’s base to finish the series with a 2-1 victory.

Legacy vs. Chiefs eSports Club

2 – 0 Legacy

It’s the ‘El Classico.’ The biggest game of the OPL regular season and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The Chiefs were already on the back foot after losing a ban due to them not replacing their former substitute Ryoma in time. Legacy had the upper hand in their previous regular season match against the Chiefs, and they repeated their performance with a dominant display.

Once again, Legacy banned away the meta mage supports in Zyra and Malzahar and picked up Lucian and Braum for Lost and Cupcake. The Chiefs responded with a CC heavy bot lane of Morgana and Ashe as they looked to fight fire with fire, picking up even more CC with Syndra and Nautilus. The early game went exactly to script for the Chiefs as they used their heavy CC composition to bully Legacy, but a strong split push pressure from Tally’s Camille meant that towers were falling all across the map. The Chiefs tried to counter this by forcing a Baron call, but Tally remained steadfast on his mission and Legacy contested the Baron with four members as Tally picked up an inhibitor in the bottom lane. From then on, Legacy edged out some team fight victories, and after destroying two inhibitors, it was split push Tally back on the job as he backdoored the Chiefs Nexus and ended game one in 48 minutes.

Game two was all about Claire’s Viktor. He edged out Swiffer in making it to an attempted Chiefs dive on the Legacy bot lane at 17 minutes and picked up a quadra kill in the process. After that, it was a simple routine as Legacy pushed up the mid lane and then controlled Baron vision before picking up the objective as well as an ace in the ensuing team fight and they pushed up the mid lane to end the game and push the Chiefs off the top of the OPL ladder.

Player of the Week – Claire (Legacy)

We’ve discussed Claire’s relatively weak start to the split before but this was well and truly the week he stepped it up. He played two games on Viktor with his second performance on the champion almost single-handedly tearing the Chiefs apart. He matched Swiffer in the laning phase and out roamed him in the second game to truly stamp his name as the elite mid laner that many thought him to be.

Unfortunately, we can’t focus solely on his performance on the weekend. An anonymous tip revealed to Riot that Claire had borrowed an account to play on the Korean servers during his time in the Japanese Challenger scene and as such he was hit with a two-match ban meaning he won’t be available until Week 9. This is a crucial blow to both Legacy and Claire, as he was just starting to pick up some steam and we’ll have to find out just how much this ban will affect his confidence going into playoffs.