OPL Week 5 kicked off yesterday with Legacy Esports playing against Avant Gaming. This is due to be a big week in general for OPL, with six games between various leaderboard-toppers and underdogs alike.
The leadup to yesterday’s first game, though, was surrounded by tension. Legacy Esports, a team which has placed consistently well in OPL splits in the past, has been dawdling behind on the leaderboard with a 2-2 score. On top of that, Avant Gaming beat Legacy Esports in a 2-0 sweep in Week 3, making this matchup all the more personal for both teams. Their rivalry was detailed by the OPL staff yesterday; AV, the underdogs looking to prove themselves, and Legacy, the former kings seeking their redemption.
Kalista somehow got through the bans and was grabbed by LGC, which allowed LGC to build an extremely strong engage comp in tandem with her. AV, on the other hand, picked up the Ryze top. “Puba’s known for his unorthodox picks,” SoulStrikes, coach of Legacy Esports, commented in regards to the strange choice.
In practice, though, most of the early action took place in AV’s jungle. Sybol and Only would constantly contest each other’s blue buffs, but it was at Only’s blue buff that LGC secured first blood. LGC proceeded to pressure all around the map, maintaining a lead through methodical layering of CC and quick, potent followup on catches. The game was further pushed towards LGC with excellent play from Claire, securing a teamfight LGC would have otherwise lost. LGC later took Baron into Elder and used the momentum to wear down AV’s base, while AV remained somewhat scattered. LGC continued their methodical, gradual control, holding to their advantages and eventually winning game 1 at 51 minutes.
Game 2 was almost like a reversal to witness. AV controlled the entire map and every lane barring Claire’s, and with threat of such a strong teamfight with Ornn and Orianna, LGC felt the pressure. LGC eventually tried to force a baron play, but turned when AV arrived; that was the beginning of their fall behind. AV didn’t hesitate with their new lead, frontlining for Blinky so that he could completely dominate the midgame teamfights. With confidence in their lead and strength in objective control, securing both baron and elder dragon, AV closed out the game in ignorance of any resistance LGC put up.
Game 3 is where things really got interesting. Despite getting first blood, AV let their bloodlust get the better of them. An attempted dive by Pabu in the midlane saw three kills going to LGC with nothing gained for AV. Taking their lead by the horns, LGC steadily accrued another three kills without giving away any deaths. By the 18 minute mark, LGC had taken four towers, six kills, and had a massive 6,000 gold lead. Unfortunately, this lead was not enough to save LGC from themselves.
In a turn reminiscent of game 2’s mistakes, LGC attempted to abandon baron to fight AV; however, Gnar was mini. AV won the fight and regained baron control with an extra three kills. In desperation, another fight was held in the mid lane at 29 minutes. There, unfortunately, Mimic missed his ultimate on Frae, and AV cleaned up the fight while closing the gap on LGC’s gold lead. With LGC actually falling behind in gold near the 40 minute mark, one last fight showed us that even if Mimic could redeem himself and hit a four-man ultimate, it was too late to save LGC. AV pushed down the base, and won the game 2-1 against LGC.
Celebrations from AV were at an extreme high, judging by team captain Jayke’s comments on Twitter. LGC, on the other hand, resolved themselves to fix areas where they showed up sloppy. Team captain Claire commented that he thinks LGC’s current place on the ladder accurately reflects their current level of play. Hopefully that level will pick up a bit in the coming days.
Avant’s confidence on the high of winning was reflected in their post-game comments. “The Chiefs are a difficult opponent,” said Pabu, Avant’s top laner, when asked about the team’s upcoming matches in the post-game interview. “They’re definitely top two in the OPL by far… [but] Legacy took a game off Chiefs, and we just beat them.”
It’s important to remember that this was only the beginning of a packed few days for OPL. The LGC vs AV game was followed by underdogs Bombers against current leader Dire Wolves, the VOD of which can be viewed here on OPL’s Twitch. More games are due today and tomorrow, including more matches from AV and LGC; more chances for both teams to prove themselves.