– Dominic Powell
If you’re not familiar with the massively popular online game League of Legends, I suggest you dust yourself off, crawl out from the rock you’re under and go and download the ‘free to play’ game (my wallet disagrees) and have a blast. However, not only is LoL a whole lotta fun alone or with some friends, it’s also got one of the largest e-sports scenes in world.
League has been played competitively since its inception in 2009, yet Australia only had a serious pro scene start up in 2012. Since then, its grown drastically, and while we may not have the following nor size of the European, American and Asian scenes, the OPL (Oceanic Pro League) is home to some seriously talented teams and players. If you’re not familiar with this seasons wannabe champs, I’ve provided a convenient primer on the who and what of the OPL.
Currently at the top of the table, Chiefs are the dominant force in the Oceanic scene. Throughout the 2014 season the team held a record of 16-1, and Chiefs returned to the 2015 season without falter, winning the first split and currently holding a record of 12-0. Chief’s roster contains some of the strongest players in the Oceanic region, with ADC Derek ‘Raydere’ Trang being internationally recognised. Their roster has taken the Oceanic place at the 2013 wild-card tournament under the Immunity organisation. Star support player Andrew ‘Rosey’ Rose recently left the roster, however ex-Legacy support Bryce ‘Erectgymnast’ Paule (who regrettably had to censor his name) has fitted comfortably into the team. With three games left in the season, Chiefs are poised to take home another win.
In second place is team Legacy. Formerly known as the squad from Avant Garde Ascension, the team had a strong showing throughout 2014, earning them a spot in the International Wildcard Tournament. Although they were unsuccessful at taking home the title (the Aussie international tournament curse strikes again!), the team went 4-1 in the first weeks of the 2015 second split. The team has gone through a lot of roster changes this season, losing star support player to Chiefs and ADC to Sin Gaming. Despite this, the team holds its head high above the squabbling middle of the pack and is currently second in the league. With their last two games being against Immunity and Sudden Fear, Legacy should maintain their position for the playoffs.
A newcomer in the Oceanic scene, Dire Wolves have done well in 2015. The hungry wolves (not to be confused with the Copenhagen Wolves) finished second in the first split with a 11-3 record. Currently the Wolves are treading water in the middle of the standings, having gone 2-2 in their last four games. This can perhaps be attributed to the recent departure of support player Trevor ‘ChuffeR’ Lao, the team picking up Korean player Samuel ‘NADA’ Woo for the last two games. Dire Wolves face off against teams Sin Gaming and Absolute for the final matches which could test the mettle of the team.
A long time player in the scene, Avant Garde has been around since its inception in 2012. Throughout 2014 the team was a powerhouse, winning the Oceanic Regional Tournament Finals and attending IEM Taipei. The team came last at this tournament, which cursed them (of course) for the 2015 split. Whilst not doing exceptionally badly, Avant Garde isn’t doing exceptionally well either. They’re smack bang in the middle of the table with a score of 6-6, which is fairly respectable. Jungler Bradley ‘Chelby’ Williams is a scene veteran, member of the much hyped but short lived Team Curse OCE in 2014. He’ll be looking to carry his team to a spot in playoffs.
Though Sin Gaming is a new team (this being their first ever OPL split), the current roster is stacked with talent. Ex-support-now-toplaner Andrew ‘Rosey’ Rose (no awards for names here) participated in the 2013 Wildcard tournament with Team Immunity, and ADC Harry ‘Cardrid’ Archer was a key player in Avant Garde’s 2014 season. Despite this, the team has seen better days, currently being 5-7. Will they pull it together? Who knows!
With members from previous two-time Oceanic Tournament runner up Team Nv, Absolute are re branded and remade for their crack at the 2015 season. Unfortunately, the team had a rough start, losing to Chiefs and Legacy in their first weeks. The team is looking okay, and are not absolutely written off (that was a pun), but may struggle to make playoffs. With two weeks to go, I still have faith. As they say, nothing is Absolute.
Oh how the mighty hath fallen. Immunity is an Australian organisation that originated in 2003, and developed a LoL squad in 2012. For two years, the team totally dominated the Oceanic scene, winning every minor and major tournament and representing Oceania in the 2013 Wildcard Tournament. These wins can be attributed to the roster of strong players that currently reside with Chiefs. In August of 2014, that roster departed the organisation, and the rest, as they say, was history. Using their B Team, Immunity managed a respectable 4th in the first split of 2015. That was not maintained during the second split, and the once revered Immunity rests penultimately at the bottom of the standings. With a win over both Legacy and Avant Garde required to tip the scales, Immunity is likely to be relegated. So long and thanks for all the fish.
A new squad with new players, there’s not much that can be said about Sudden Fear. The team has managed to take one game off Immunity, and has unfortunately not quite been able to cut it in the rest of their matches. At 1-11 play-offs are a distant (and unreachable dream) for Sudden Fear, and I fear that the team will suddenly be relegated.
Tune in at Riot Games’ twitch channel Thursday 9th @ 6.00 to see these teams go at it for one last crack at playoffs, all from the comfort of your couch. Who will represent us at Wildcard this year? Will the curse continue? Will @RiotAtlus learn to breathe? Watch the OPL and find out!