There’s a lot to look forward to when the LCO kicks off next week— stories spanning splits and even over the course of whole careers are set to play out in the next couple of months.
Harry and I have put together a list containing four of this split’s key storylines to keep a keen eye out for.
With a handful of tweaks taking place in the offseason for some of our teams and a path to Worlds on the line, things are shaping up a bit differently this time around.
Can the back-to-back Oceanic champs go for a flawless season and conquer the PCS to light the path to Worlds once more?
At DreamHack Melbourne, The Chiefs were crowned as the LCO’s first-ever back-to-back champions and they’re seeking a perfect season to seal the deal in the history books. It wasn’t an easy journey by any means, as numerous teams gave them grief on their way—most notably debutant Team Bliss.
Their Brisbane rivals clashed with them a total of five times across the first split and even won the first seed for PCS playoffs. After the PCS playoffs, the teams met on stage one last time to settle the score–and by the end of it, The Chiefs lifted their trophy.
This split, they’ll have a chance to qualify for Worlds play-ins for the second year in a row if they take first or second seed again. Despite being a historically dominant team in Oceania, Split 1 saw some inconsistencies within the domestic match results–but they managed to find their footing.
Making his return from the NACL, Shane “Kevy” Allen has been brought home to play as the team’s jungler, reuniting with the rest of former Order topside Brandon “BioPanther” Alexander and Ronald “Kisee” Vo. That path to playoffs won’t be any easier this split, but the boys in blue are ready to fight their way there.
After an early elimination from the last split, will Pentanet remove their focus from the PCS and seek redemption closer to home?
A point of controversy for PGG during the last split was the concept players would be living in Perth and utilising their location to scrim PCS teams. With a majority of their scrims taking place against teams outside the LCO, the intention was facing off against these teams with greater international success would elevate PGG’s practice.
Although the starting roster was slated to be a contender for the title upon its announcement, Pentanet finished fourth place in Split 1, with fans left to wonder if the team’s PCS focus was a factor.
In an interview with Snowball Esports, PGG jungler Shern “Shernfire” Tai admitted that: “[Scrim] progress has been pretty bad up until [the end of the split]. We’ve always been progressing but have been unable to see results.”
While it’s impossible to cite this as the sole factor for the team’s fourth-place finish in the last split, it was certainly a wake-up call for the team to look a little closer to home. Although their physical position allows the team to gain that unique PCS experience, additional practice against local Oceanic teams may be the extra push they need to go the distance in the LCO.
There’s a reason that PGG was slated as a title contender with their roster in the preseason. This split, they have the chance to prove it.
No longer the new kids on the block, will Bliss be able to continue the momentum of their spectacular first split run?
After having a near fairytale run to Split 1 finals, a slightly re-tuned Team Bliss seeks to continue their near-perfect debut split. The debutants nearly had it all: first place after stage one, first seed going into the PCS, but they weren’t quite able to secure the title as they fell to their Queensland rivals in the Chiefs.
Now, they’re no longer the ‘new guys’ as Vertex has taken control of the slot Peace was stripped of the last split. The Brizzy org also comes into this split with a new support, as Ben “Benvi” Moore has departed the roster during the offseason; former Gen.G Academy support Lee “Akia” Yong-jin has taken his place in the starting lineup.
Nothing should stop this team from being a contender once again, but if they don’t, comments about their Split 1 success being chalked up to a “bit of rookie luck” may start to creep in.
Mammoth Esports Club
Will the new look, new mentality Mammoth be able to take the crown?
Mammoth has come into this split with their most competitive roster in years.
After winning their sole championship in Split 2 of 2019, the Mammoth mentality moved away from hiring veterans to picking up mostly younger talents, typically giving them their first tastes of professional play. This philosophy has reverted back for this Split, with their roster consisting of veteran talents once again.
Midlaner Jeung “DaJeung” Da Woon returns from the Split 1 roster to keep his place in the mid-lane, but the rest of the starting lineup was switched up during the mid-season break.
Toplaner Romeo “Thien” Tran has made his return to competitive play after a split away from the league following his time with Peace last year.
Journeyman jungler Paris “Souli” Sitzoukis returns home to his home region after a multi-year European adventure that saw him with stints in the CIS, Italy, Germany, and Poland.
The bot lane consists of Wang “Chayon” Yun-Cheng, a member of the ill-fated PEACE lineup, as well as Taiwanese star Wang “Yursan” Sheng-Yu, most known for his multiple years spent with TSM Academy. This team has risen from the ashes as a contender and is worth viewing as they are set to be vying for a PCS spot, if not the title.
You won’t have to wait much longer for these storylines to kick off as the LCO starts on Monday.
Want to read about where the other teams are at? Our ultimate coverage hub has everything covered from rosters to schedules and more.