Today is the end of the road for some of Oceania’s most beloved luminaries as only one of the star-studded lineups of Peace and the Dire Wolves can continue on to face Pentanet.GG in the grand final at the end of the month.
The stakes couldn’t be more clear: The Worlds dream lives or it perishes here. Win or die. A best of five away from being a best of five away from Worlds.
There are players who have seen it all, and those who haven’t even tasted all the success our own region has to offer.
The deck is stacked with all the pieces for what could be an all-time best of five. So, who takes it?
On form, I favour Peace. This is at least in part due to having a smaller sample size of playoff Dire Wolves, but I had high expectations for them and they really laid an egg against Pentanet.GG.
Peace, on the other side, have shown us both their dominance against the Chiefs, and their resilience by completing the reverse sweep against Order.
Going down the line, I also think Peace has to be favoured.
Brandon “Claire” Ngyuen against Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing has the potential to be explosive. Apii doesn’t often defer to his team in the draft phase; the closest we’ve seen being the rare Sett pick and Nocturne duty. Claire is more likely of the two to do so, but the real dynamite could be the wars over the shared Camille pick and how the ban phase will play into it.
Leo “Babip” Romer and Jordan “Only” Middleton is a slight clash of styles, and I think the most exciting matchup the league can offer for jungle puritans. Look for Only to favour teamfighting picks with Babip to fluctuate wildly between picks that can carry through dominating the opponent, and…Sejuani.
The bottom lane will be a battle of the supports. Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson has been on a mission since his return, and Vincent “Violet” Wong is always among the best players in the league.
Andy “Cupcake” Van der Vyver, despite turning in a sub-standard showing against PGG, he has shown flashes of the player he was at his peak — a player that can take it to anyone the LCO can throw at him. Vincent “gunkrab” Lin’s best shot to impact this game might just be, oddly enough, not on AD carries.
That leaves the midlane. Ari “Shok” Greene-Young remains the better pure midlaner over James “Tally” Shute, but Tally can brain-gap anyone the region has ever produced. I don’t have a real good read on how this could go. But the potential ways this could interact, especially considering the options for the mid-jungle duos, remains the tastiest morsel these teams can offer.
I think overall Dire Wolves are the better team fighting team as five, but Violet remains the best player this matchup has, and Peace fight at their best when they make their games about skill-checking the ADC’s contributions to the fights and so if they can do that, then that goes a long way to mitigating the difference as five.
I’m picking Peace 3-1. They’re better top-to-bottom, but Dire Wolves can make serious inroads, especially if they can dominate the bottom half of the map.
The three things I would highlight as the keys to this match are: The Camille battle, the mid (and mid-jungle) matchup, and dragon control.
You can watch the final lower bracket matchup of the LCO Split 2 playoffs tonight at 6pm AEST, live on the official Twitch channel.