Showdown at Luna Park: Chiefs vs Legacy

By Alex Manisier

The team’s name might have changed four times since its inception, but the story has been the same: Chiefs eSports Club are the clear favourites for the OPL Split 2 title. Being the overwhelming favourite for a grand final isn’t without its obstacles, however. The pressure of defending a title, the overconfidence that could worm its way into a team’s attitude - these are both traps that threaten to clip the wings of a high-flying team, and Chiefs are all too familiar with them.

And on the other side, Legacy eSports have finally found themselves back where they were in Winter Regionals and Regional Finals - staring down Oceania’s best team, with the seemingly impossible task of shutting them down and ending their reign. Both times they entered the underdogs, and both times they succeeded. Legacy enter the OPL Final with history on their side, but they also enter off four losses in a row against Chiefs.

In the words of Legacy top laner An ‘Minkywhale’ Trinh: “Everything’s on the line for the grand final. In the Wildcard regions, it’s go hard or go home. Second place gives nothing.”

Twice bitten

“Legacy did very well to catch us off guard at Winter Regionals and defeat us when we were complacent about our position in Oceania,” says jungler Samuel ‘Spookz’ Broadley. “Now that we’ve learnt very valuable lessons in our defeats, I believe we’ve developed into a much stronger team mentally. We’re confident heading into our best of 5.”

It isn’t just crippling defeat that can teach a champion a lesson, though. The regular season went as well as it could have for the Chiefs, as they surged to a 14-0 record. The reigning champions’ semifinal against Avant extended their streak against Oceanic teams to an incredible 26 wins, but they came perilously close to seeing it end.

“The last game was so close,” muses AD carry Derek ‘Raydere’ Trang. “Since we were losing so heavily, we were mentally preparing ourselves for the fourth game. We thought we were going to lose after the last teamfight went horribly for us.”

Raydere attributes the nailbiting ending of Game 3 to “some interesting shotcalling by both teams”, and Chiefs never did get to play the fourth game that they were steeling themselves for. But by focusing on winning the next game and not dwelling on their poor performance, they’ve shown that the Chiefs eSports Club of 2015 is a vastly different team to the one that choked in two consecutive tournaments.

Now, their task is to hold fast to the lessons that they learnt, and see their season through to the end.

A legacy on the line

It’s been a tumultuous season for Legacy eSports. Their star player Bryce ‘EGym’ Paule left to play for Chiefs, but they still stormed through the regular split with Curtis ‘Flying Joo’ Schembri performing magnificently as a replacement. Mid laner Aaron ‘ChuChuZ’ Bland was sidelined for their semifinal against Dire Wolves as he was in Belgium, but substitute Brandon ‘Claire’ Nguyen stepped up to get them the win. Now, Flying Joo has been suspended, and Claire has been called upon to be Legacy’s saviour in the support position.

With all the reasons in the world to be in despair, Legacy are surprisingly brimming with confidence in the lead-up to their rematch with Chiefs. Much of this comes from their uncanny ability to upset the reigning champions in the most unlikely situations, but a major factor driving the positive atmosphere in the Legacy camp is their visible improvement on last split’s performance.

This was seen most clearly in their rematch against Dire Wolves, in which they were able to turn the tables on the Split 1 finalists in a tight 3-1. “The feeling after the series against Dire Wolves was obviously pretty good,” grins jungler Tim ‘Carbon’ Wendel. “We’ve done one better on last season, so this is already a personal best for us this year.”

Still, Legacy are careful not to let their confidence become cockiness. They’ve already seen what that can do to a team – in fact, they were the very ones to strike down Chiefs in the height of their hubris.

“No question – it’s intimidating going up against an undefeated team, especially since we lost both of our regular season games against them,” says ChuChuZ. “Our legacy is on the line, though. We haven’t dropped a series against Chiefs, and despite EGym’s leaving the team, we won’t drop one now.”

There’s no denying that the odds are stacked against Legacy. Two upsets in a row do not necessarily guarantee a third, but they do justify a little bit of confidence on the side of the underdog. As dubious as Legacy’s claims seem on paper, the immutable truth is that they are a team that shows up when the pressure is on, and that they are a team that only grow stronger in front of a screaming crowd.

Bringing it home

The OPL Final will open the door to Worlds qualification for Chiefs or Legacy. Playing on the international stage is not a new experience for either team, but they’ve only improved since the last time they had a shot at Worlds. There’s just one best of 5 left before our Oceanic representatives are decided. Will Legacy continue to own the rivalry, or will Chiefs defy history and break the curse?

Catch the OPL Final live at 5PM AEST, August 8 at

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