The LCO returns today after a Mid-Season Invitational-guided hiatus between Splits One and Two and all eight Oceanic teams have their eyes locked on the second League of Legends championship of the year and the illustrious prize it carries—a grand journey to Worlds in North America.
As LCO 2022 Split Two begins, everyone will be keeping a close eye on one particular League team—ORDER, the reigning Split One champs, who return from Busan.
That doesn’t mean ORDER is the stand-out favorite by any means, however. The Oceanic League scene has several heavyweight rosters who all had every chance to claim victory last split, but fell short at the final hurdle.
Alongside ORDER, teams like Chiefs, PGG, and PEACE are title threats.
Violet, Gunkrab fire PEACE back into conversation
PEACE fell well short of a proper title defense in Split One after being unceremoniously dumped out of the postseason via back-to-back sweeps at the hands of Pentanet in the upper bracket and ORDER in a do-or-die round two meeting.
Everything has changed for PEACE heading into Split Two, however.
Thien (top), LeeSA (jungle), and Apii (mid) remain on the team and are joined by two blockbuster pickups: Vincent “Violet” Wong and his support of choice Vincent “Gunkrab” Lin.
The combo bot lane change puts PEACE right back in the hunt for their second LCO championship. Violet was a clear standout as ADC in 2021 and played a key role in leading PEACE to Worlds last season. His explosive play in the southern lane even earned him a spot on the All-Pro team for the campaign.
Look to the Vincents to be the difference for PEACE—if Violet can shake off the dust from his Golden Guardians troubles he will be in the MVP conversation in August.
PGG shows faith in roster
Of all the LCO title hopefuls coming into the new season this evening, Pentanet holds a unique advantage; the Perth squad (partially pictured above at a PGG meet-and-greet) hasn’t changed one bit from Split One.
That will play a big role for PGG right out the gates.
Pentanet’s fixtures help too. This week they face Kanga and Mammoth and could walk away with a 2–0 start to their campaign. Then, in week two, PGG gets their first shot at Order and Chiefs, back-to-back. The opening fortnight will be vital for the unchanged team and provides a key chance to make a statement. Starting 4–0 and setting the pace of the season could give PGG the leg up they need in the hunt for Worlds.
Pentanet, like Chiefs (below), also only has one place to point at last season. One against-the-odds loss to ORDER doomed their Split One campaign to a third-place finish and no international competition. Days earlier they had pushed Chiefs in a memorable five-map epic that had all the looks of an LCO grand final preview.
If that PGG—and not the swept squad from Round Three—turns up then Pentanet will again be a deadly challenger for the Oceanic throne.
Keep a close eye on Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin in the jungle too. When the Korean star is playing to his highest level, he dominates Down Under. With Kevy gone, expect the Pentanet gamebreaker to hit an even higher level in the regular season.
Veteran-heavy Chiefs know how to win
The Chiefs are stinging from their Split One failure.
That’s the feeling around the blue and white camp heading into the second LCO campaign of the year. Raes returned to Oceania in 2022 to play internationally again and the roster was certainly built to do one thing—win. So, it was a major shock when they fell a game short in Split One.
But, remember, they fell just a single game short.
And the balance of power has shifted.
ORDER, who relied on 2021 MVP jungle Kevy as a vocal point, have lost their star playmaker to Counter Logic Gaming in North America while the Chiefs have signed Worlds representative Ryan “Aladoric” Richardson to partner Raes.
These major Oceanic roster moves, combined with the fact the Chiefs roster is dripping with experience on the domestic and international stages, hand the LCO ball right back to the once-long reigning kings of Australia. Their top-side Korean duo still stands as a dominant weapon and Tally is—as always—a solo lane rock.
This Dot Esports writer is tipping Chiefs as the favorites for the Split Two title.
ORDER look to early Goodo impact
That brings us to our LCO 2022 Split One champions.
ORDER stunned the Oceanic League scene with their monstrous run through the postseason bracket last season. Before a button was clicked in the Australian postseason many would have ranked the Melbourne org as outside chances to make a dent in the playoffs. Fourth was their ‘ceiling,’ said agreed.
Tell that to their Busan journey, which they only just returned from.
The 2022 Mid-Season Invitational didn’t hold the greatest of pleasures for the ORDER, unfortunately, but it did give the young squad something just as valuable—hard, well-earned teachings.
The now-Kevyless roster returns with those teachings fresh in their minds, and every League rival will be waiting to see how they apply them. Weaving Jeong “Goodo” Min-jae into their on-the-Rift plans will likely take some time, but we’ve seen ORDER run from deep before. All they have to do is be in the mix, and they’re a threat.
Outside the big four in the 2022 LCO season, Dire Wolves and Kanga are lurking in the wings. Kanga have stuck firm from Split One—though it did shuffle slightly mid-split—while Dire Wolves made major changes after losing Goodo; the Wolfpack have added Poltron, Siuman, Danteh, and Bulldog to the starting lineup.
Mammoth added former OPL top laner Papryze as part of their Split Two reshuffle and signed newcomers Sean “Ali G” Lancaster and Michael “Mikru” Kim.
Gravitas currently has 13 players on the books in 2022.
LCO 2022 Split Two begins tonight. ORDER start their title defense at 6pm AEST before facing Chiefs at 9pm tomorrow in the traditional opening week grand final replay.