Speaking of respectable draws, that is what the last day of play contained in week one.
Pentanet, looking to seek redemption from their early dismissal in the Split 1 playoffs, took on the rebuilt Mammoth lineup. A back-and-forth game one went the way of Mammoth, before Pentanet struck back, taking a dominant game two, showing they are still one of the top contenders in the league.
In the second series of the day, Kanga and Ground Zero—two of the earlier eliminations from Split 1—faced off. Game one saw Dmitry “Fighto” Botov lock in his signature Cassiopeia, which saw him lead Kanga to victory in the fastest game of the split so far at 19 and a half minutes. The second game went the other way with Ground Zero, led by Thomas “Tron” Garnsworthy on Olaf, taking the game in decisive fashion.
In today’s second series, we see the battle of the wolf-logoed teams as the long-standing Dire Wolves take on the league’s newest cubs, Vertex. Both teams were slain 0-2 last week by the Split 1 PCS representatives Team Bliss and The Chiefs respectively. They will both be looking to bounce back as they begin their playoff hunts.
The game of the day, however, will be the first series, as Team Bliss takes on Mammoth in a high-stakes clash.
Harry’s Game of the Week — Team Bliss vs Mammoth
The road to the PCS—and then hopefully Worlds—is a long one this split. To even have a chance at the PCS, you need to make LCO playoffs, and for the ideal chance, a top-four spot is what you would need.
Coming into Split 2, both Team Bliss and Mammoth will have their sights aimed at the top. Bliss, having made it into the PCS as the region’s top seed in Split 1, will be looking to return and gain redemption, both for their winless performance in Taiwan, but also for their LCO finals loss at DreamHack Melbourne.
The team has come out of the gate swinging in Split 2. Despite a slight personal change, with Lee “Akia” Yong-jin replacing Ben “Benvi” Moore in the support role, the team returned like it was business as usual, dispatching the Dire Wolves 2-0, with Akia gaining player of the series honours in his first professional series in Oceania.
For Mammoth, however, the start of the split was a bit more subdued. They faced the Perth Powerhouses Pentanet, in what ended up being a 1-1 series draw. Game one went the way of the newly formed Mammoth lineup in what ended up being a tight contest.
Both teams kept trading the lead back and forth, before mid-laner Jeung “DaJeung” Da Woon sealed the contest in Mammoth’s favour, with a four-man Pop Blossom on Neeko 23 minutes into the game seeing momentum permanently shift towards the new veteran lineup.
Game two was a much more one-sided affair. Pentanet took control early and Mammoth was never really able to get into the contest, with the matchup ending in a 33-8 victory for Pentanet.
Coming into today, both of these teams will be wanting to secure all three points. Both teams are, on paper, title contenders—but Bliss has been the one performing thus far.
Both teams will be super competitive in nature and will recognise that in this format, every point matters, as one or two points could be the difference between making the upper bracket of the playoffs, starting in elimination, or missing out entirely.
I think this series will be the closest one this week, and both teams will share in the spoils. If I had to call either team a favourite it would be Team Bliss, but it wouldn’t be by much.
Week 2 Day 1 Predictions
The LCO resumes tonight at 6pm AEST opening with Bliss vs. Mammoth, followed by Dire Wolves vs. Vertex. Keep up to date with the split schedule, stream, and more via our ultimate coverage hub.