Forget the Olympics. Beginning August 24th, Brazil will play host to the League of Legends (LoL) International Wild Card Qualifiers- a round robin tournament contested by a team from each of Brazil, Russia, Japan, Oceania, Southeast Asia, Turkey, and two teams from Latin America. The tournament determines which two teams will represent the Wildcard Regions in the 2016 league of legends world championships.
But how do we decide which team of 5 will represent the Oceanic region? Through a gruelling 10- week round robin league with a top 4 single elimination cut and a best-of-5 grand final. This is the Oceanic Pro League (OPL). And on August 13th, Brisbane (basically Brazil, right?) will host the live grand final. Think stadium, commentary, merchandise, excited spectators… it’s the kind of event you force your physical-sport- obsessed- family to watch in an attempt to convince them that eSports are legitimate, and that league is more than just hours wasted in front of a computer.
Upon learning that the OPL grand final was this coming weekend (yes, these are the kinds of things that are discussed over breakfast), a non-LoL invested friend of mine decided that the title was probably being contested by Legacy eSports and the Chiefs eSports Club. Given that the last two OPL grand finals have been a Legacy vs Chiefs affair, it was a fair assumption to make. And in fact, she was right. But looking back over the way this OPL split (i.e. season) unfolded, a Legacy vs Chiefs grand final was not always a clear bet.
This split, the road to the finals for the Chiefs and Legacy was made difficult by the two newly promoted teams- Tainted Minds and Abyss eSports (who both narrowly missed semi-final spots), and the return-to-form of existing OPL teams Avant Garde and the Dire Wolves. Relive (or, live for the first time) the drama of the ten weeks, here:
At the beginning of last split, Legacy moved into a gaming house and proceeded to have an almost flawless run to the grand final. Days before the headline match, captain Tim “Carbon” Wendel was struck down by the flu, and Legacy ADC Calvin “K1ng” Truong received a 5 match ban (forcing Sin gaming’s Harry “Cardrid” Archer to step in as substitute). Legacy went on to lose the series 3-2.
Now, with the OPL legend belt firmly in their grasp (and around their waists…), a 3-0 domination of Avant Garde in the semi-final, and a thirst for revenge, Legacy are in a good position to earn the right to compete for Oceania at the international qualifiers.
The Chiefs moved into their Sydney gaming house at the beginning of this split- you can read all about the ups and downs of their new living arrangements here. And it appears those ups and downs were reflected in the on-rift performance of the Chiefs. The team ended this split on an 8-3 record, 3rd place (though well above the ‘irrelevant’ 4th place). They suffered a mid-split slump in performance, losing consecutive games to Abyss and Dire Wolves- reminiscent of their poor performance during last split’s super week.
Then the drama went to the next level. Days before the semi-final match between the Chiefs and the Dire Wolves, it was announced that Derek “Raydere” Trang (the ADC for the Chiefs) and Quin “Raes” Korebrits (the ADC for Dire Wolves) would be part of a direct transfer. Effective immediately.
You can see the player’s reactions to the transfer here:
— LoL Oceania (@LOL_Oceania) August 2, 2016
— LoL Oceania (@LOL_Oceania) August 2, 2016
The Chiefs then proceeded to take down the Dire Wolves 3-0 in what was certainly grand-final standard (3-2 would have been a better reflection of the quality of the contest).
DW vs Chiefs semi finals tonight! Very easily has the feel of a finals event, heart breaking for whichever team loses out. #IAMOPL
— Raz (@Razleplasm) August 2, 2016
On Saturday, August 13th at 5.30pm you can watch the grand final live at the Courier Mail Piazza in Brisbane, at a Hoyts viewing party or at home on twitch.
— LoL Oceania (@LOL_Oceania) August 6, 2016
I’m sure the teams are hard at work preparing to make this event a spectacle… though their social media accounts would suggest otherwise…
omfg i forgot one of my UNDIES AT THE HOTEL NOOOOOOOOOO my life is OvVEVERRRRR
— Calvin Truong (@k1ngyb) August 2, 2016
Is it weird to have peanut butter on Weet’bix by itself?
— Spookz (@Chief_Spookz) August 9, 2016