Last Hit: the final four

By Alex Manisier

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Such was the final week of the OPL’s regular season -- a week of crazy matches topped off with four do-or-die tiebreaker games. While Legacy eSports and Dire Wolves clashed for the top seed in the semifinals, Avant Garde had to contend with newcomers Tainted Minds and Abyss Esports for the fourth spot in playoffs. More on that below, along with a partnership with Fox Sports and semis predictions, but first a recap of the end of the regular split:

Abyss vs Hellions 

Abyss made a statement against Hellions by ending game two in just under 18 minutes. The constant position swapping for Hellions is not paying off, and they’ll have to come up with another plan of attack for relegations.

Chiefs vs Avant 

Split after split, Chiefs keep giving us more reason to trust them, righting the ship in time to finish the regular season with a win. Still, Avant repeated their week three feat of stealing a game off the reigning champions -- things could go either way in playoffs.

Sin vs Tainted Minds 

Game three of this set will be remembered as one of the greatest games played in OPL history, if only for the last few minutes. Sin found themselves on the winning end of a base race, forcing TM to hit the B button. But top laner Mark ‘Praedyth’ Lewis had another idea.

“We kinda just wanted to fight 5v5,” explains support Andrew ‘Rosey’ Rose. “We thought we were going to as well when Prae said “I’m teleporting.” We soon realised he meant bot lane [instead of the base], and it was up to us to hold 4v5. We never were good at saying where we’re Teleporting to!”

Praedyth’s gamble paid off, and TM earned themselves a spot in tiebreakers.

Dire Wolves vs Legacy

The top of the table clash saw both teams playing towards the laning phase, aiming to win all three lanes and ending the game before it could really start. But that meant that Legacy would be facing Dire Wolves on their home turf. Raes stepped up in game one, while Chippys sealed the deal on Gnar in game two to take the wolves to a tiebreaker.

OPL Rewind:

Check out this week's installment courtesy of Skyen!


Dire Wolves vs Legacy (0-1)

Dire Wolves faced Legacy in a sudden death tiebreaker, and started off comfortably. Unfased, Legacy leaned on their macro game, setting up superior vision after the 20-minute mark to catch the wolves attempting a high-risk, high-reward Baron. A good fight would have been enough to get them in the driver’s seat, but Legacy took it one step further as Carbon stole the objective away, turning the game faster than you can say ‘smite’.

Tainted Minds vs Avant (0-1)

The presence of AD carry Lawrence ‘Lost’ Hui was sorely missed by TM in their first game of the night, but one can’t help but feel that it wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway. Bradley ‘Chelby’ Williams was shutting down TM’s options left and right, until Zhi ‘Paradise’ Xiao decided he’d be the one to carry the game instead.

Abyss vs Tainted Minds (0-1)

With Lost returning to the lineup, Tainted Minds were a different team entirely. Two Infernal Dragons meant that his Jhin was hitting for over 1,000 damage on each autoattack. Abyss were wise to hold on for a good fight, but when they finally hit their item timings, it was too little, too late. Their earlier loss to Avant meant they had to hope Abyss could take down Avant to force another round of tiebreakers.

Avant vs Abyss (1-0)

Avant’s momentum from their first game of the night carried them through against Abyss, specifically in the top lane where Paradise, in Rusty’s words, “just got a giant fly swatter and slapped them all.” Paradise’s performance helped carry them to fourth place, and locked Avant in for a playoffs run.

Casters weigh in on semis

Legacy vs Avant

Rusty: Legacy 3-1
Spawn: Legacy 3-0

Legacy’s tiebreaker win over Dire Wolves proved two things: that they’re never afraid to fall back to the time-tested playstyle that has kept them on top of Oceania for years, and that they’ll bring the ruckus when the pressure’s on. But Avant have a deadly weapon in Paradise, who has been making waves this season as one of the standout rookies.

“I actually believe that Tally hasn’t been popping off as much lately,” says Rusty. “Good top laners are giving it to him in the laning phase, and Paradise is one of those top laners.”

Legacy have the advantage of experience, but Avant have already shown they’re capable of taking games off top teams. They are a massively improved team, and this will be their first big test.

Dire Wolves vs Chiefs

Rusty: Chiefs 3-1
Spawn: Chiefs 3-1

Chiefs have won too many titles to be counted out, even though they enter as the statistical underdogs. Time after time, we’ve seen experience reign supreme in best of fives, and no team in Oceania has as much best-of-five experience as Chiefs -- particularly the duo of Samuel ‘Spookz’ Broadley and Simon ‘Swiffer’ Papamarkos.

Still, the tide is slowly starting to turn against Chiefs. They are still an elite team, but they have not been as individually dominant as in earlier years. The new class of players is rising, and Chiefs could be in for a rude awakening if they sleep on players like Ryan ‘Chippys’ Short.

“Swip3rR has found form,” admits Rusty. “But if Chippys has a good game, he dismantles entire teams piece by piece.”


Fox Sports

In other news Fox Sports will be producing some short-form videos of OPL players as they approach semis and finals. They'll also be flying with the Oceanic representative to the International Wildcard Qualifier in Brazil and filming interviews and key moments with the players.

The videos will be put in client and as well as shown on Fox Sports and their online channels. We’ll still be doing our regular round of content for the OPL finals, this is just additional videos being made available.

As with all creative work it doesn’t always turn out how you thought it would, and some may take a little longer than expected. So we can’t give hard dates on when they’ll appear or how many times you’ll see Fox Sports video pieces.

2 years ago