The Final Hurdle - LCO Grand Final Preview: Split 1
This preview proudly presented by Energizer
Six years ago, our Chiefs roster triumphed over old rivals Legacy Esports in one of the best series in Oceanic history to take our third OPL title and a spot at IWCI 2016. Our fourth title in a row came a few months later, cementing Chiefs as one of the first League of Legends dynasties in Oceania.
Since then, the Chiefs Esports Club have stood firm as the esports landscape rapidly changed around us. Teams joined, left, rebranded and established dynasties of their own, while we fought tooth and nail to replicate the success of the 2015-2016 era. Our quest to return to the peak of Oceania League of Legends came agonisingly close time and time again, but we never lost faith. Coming in 2022 we were ready to believe once again, having picked up veterans of the scene to form an extremely strong outfit who have only become more polished as time went on. We even brought back Raes, who was a crucial part of our 2016 Split 2 title following the retirement of the legendary Raydere.
Throughout this split, we’ve focused on three core tenets: focus, retrospection, and atonement. The dedication our boys have shown so far to those ideals yielded us our first minor championship since 2019 and our first in the LCO era. However, with our team preparing to throw down in our first Grand Final in three years, we’re going to need to add one more to that list: willpower.
Our road to the finals has been full of lessons. Our battle with former champions Pentanet.GG was our greatest challenge of the year, being forced all the way to five games in a highlight-laden display. While the last game of that series felt extremely one-sided, we were only able to get there through the sheer strength of will shown by our players, especially in the clutch call made by our championship ADC in Game 3 to barrel into the enemy base and steal the win when all odds seemed stacked against us.
Lengthy retrospections aside, tonight’s final against ORDER promises to be a special one. Now one of the oldest League teams in the region, ORDER have stormed through the playoffs gauntlet, knocking aside the Dire Wolves, Peace and Pentanet in consecutive 3-0 sweeps. Towards the end of the OPL era, they had our number come playoffs time, knocking us out in both a 2019 and a 2020 split. However, during the first LCO split we were able to put them away in a strong 3-0 performance, and we’re eager to face off against our old foes once again.
For those taking cues from the regular season, you might be tempted to believe that we should be rolling over ORDER later today. However, it isn’t going to be as easy as that, as playoffs ORDER have shown themselves to be a different beast. The midlane should be all fireworks, as our up-and-coming former midlaner Kisee faces his old team for the first time in a playoffs series, with our own veteran Tally having proven himself to be extraordinarily reliable over the course of this year.
Since his gunpowder-laden debut last year for Peace, ORDER jungler Kevy has gone from strength to strength. However, he’s facing off against our equally explosive jungler Arthur, who after a strong showing against former OPL champion BalKhan two weeks ago, is ready to see off another rival standing in the way of his first championship title. Expect a fast-paced and bloody early game, as both players are very willing to roam all over the map in an attempt to snowball the rest of their teams.
Moving down to the botlane, Puma and Corporal should prove fierce opposition to our own Raes and Dragku, with both duos having proven instrumental to their team’s success this year. While Puma has swung many a game in his favour, Raes has shown again and again that he should never be left alone if a teamfight breaks out as he will gladly wreak havoc on his enemies.
Up in the toplane, it’s a matchup we’ve seen plenty of times before. Veteran fans of the scene will probably remember when both Topoon and BioPanther were fresh-faced newbies to competitive League, but now they’re two of the best toplaners in the region’s history. Both have proved exceptional time and time again and expect an intense battle as the two try and claim championship glory once more. Topoon’s clutch factor has proven invaluable multiple times this year and we’re ready to set him up to succeed once again.
We’re one series away from claiming our fifth championship title, and our first since 2016. The boys and the team behind them have put in tremendous effort to get us this far, so be sure to tune in tonight at twitch.tv/lco for an absolute treat of a series as we chase a return to the international stage six years in the making, and give the Chiefs faithful something to celebrate for a long time to come.