League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) – Teams, Schedule and Expectations
The new chapter of the Oceanic League of Legends is upon us. ESL and Guinevere Capital took up the mantle to organize and bring us the best League of Legends the Oceanic region has to offer. The two organizations are going to make sure that competitive LoL returns to this region – starting on February 23rd.
Plenty has changed in the off-season in terms of teams, players and league structure. The last few weeks have been a nightmare for several organizations scrambling to complete their rosters ahead of Day 1 of competition.
Here’s a breakdown of whats coming in the new League of Legends Circuit Oceania, and what are the key teams to watch.
League of Legends Circuit Oceania Overview
The Australian and Oceanic League of Legends competitive circuit had a bit of a rough go-around. It was far less popular than other leagues, and as such it wasn’t overly surprising when it was cancelled. In October 2020, Riot cited financial losses and operation costs as reasons for why the league was over. They did immediately create a small rule change that still made it possible for Oceanic players to compete in official League matches – specifically, in the North American LCS. As a result, several players were signed into new teams across the pond.
After the new partnership was ESL was announced, several teams were forced into a rebuild mode after some have released their players and staff following Riot’s earlier decision.
League of Legends Circuit Oceania (LCO) is the name of the new 8-team LoL competition that will now take up the role of the biggest Oceanic regional competition in League of Legends.
The format is pretty standard, with 8 weeks of plays featuring 19 matchdays. The teams participating in the “inaugural” split are: ORDER, Pentanet.GG, Chiefs EC, Dire Wolves, Legacy, Mammoth, Peace, and Gravitas. Avant Gaming was initially a part of the pack, but had to forfeit their slot after being acquired by Dire Wolves.
The teams will be competing in a double round-robin format with the five top teams advancing into Playoffs. The post-split Playoffs and Final are slated for the first weeks of April with the actual final taking place on April 10th.
The winning team will get to represent OCE at MSI 2021.
LCO Teams and Players
Much of last year’s team lineup returns to compete in the LCO. However, due to the termination of the OPL several teams released and required new rosters in an early February roster scramble. While most of the rosters are now known, they won’t be set in stone until the first day of competition which is February 23rd.
Chiefs EC (Lived, Swathe, Kisee, Mboma, Dragku) went through an entire roster revamp and acquired four new players for this season. The only remaining player from the previous season was support player Dragon “Dragku” Guo, who was also their last roster move of last season. While most of their new roster is comprised of “veterans” from either MAMMOTH or their Academy team, the real unknown is midlaner Kisee, who is a well known SoloQueue prodigy in the region, but yet to play any real competitive game on the big stage.
ORDER (MAXIMIZE, Vengeance, Chungy, Puma, Beats) was a team that got hit hard with Riot’s decision to drain OCE talent into NA. Three out of five players from their former roster were signed into North American teams leaving ORDER empty handed and rebuilding. The new roster is a blend of former Mammoth and Gravitas talent, and on paper looks like a solid contender. As most teams will need time to get into their own this season, we cannot be sure how well they gel on short notice.
Mammoth (Nectaar, Buggy, Wayy, Shyfrit, Shinki) ended up as the scouting grounds for LCO rivals Chiefs EC and ORDER as they picked apart the Main and Academy rosters for spare parts. Lived, Chungy, Mboma, Maximize and Vengeance went to either of their rivals. As a result, Mammoth comes into 2021 with a brand new roster built on Academy and Soloqueue players from the region. Their entire roster will experience big stage play for the first time in the season opener against Pentanet.GG.
Legacy Esports (Winterer, Incursio, styled, andemelg, Sybol) is another team that got hit hard in the off-season with all of their players ending up in North America. The reigning OPL champions had to dig deep to form a roster for the new season. They ended up with five Challenger level players on their new roster with the full roster only being finalized a week ago. We can’t expect a trophy defending Legacy from this team, but its good that the organization is looking to put more Academy level players in the spotlight.
Pentanet.GG (BioPanther, Pabu, Praedyth, Chazz, Decoy) had the “easiest” off-season out of the entire lot. They had three players return to the roster from the previous season and acquired Jesse “Chazz” Mahoney and Daniel “Decoy” Ealam from AvantGaming/Dire Wolves. Coming into the season they are going to have the easiest job of creating synergy between their players considering the entire roster is built on main stage talent.
Gravitas (Nobody, Safa, Azus, Kyose, Piglet, Aziyah) turned to Pentanet.GG’s Academy roster for talent when building their new lineup. Lachlan “Nobody” Keene-O’Keefe is the only returning player to the roster, but his starting spot is not guaranteed with the signing of Mahmoud “Safa” Safa to the roster. The roster is further enforced with former UTS jungler Blake “Azus” Schlage. Lineup wise Gravitas hits the middle ground between old and new talent and is likely going to hit the middle ground in the standings as well.
PEACE (Apii, LeeSA, Halo,Violet, Aladoric) is the newest addition to the league slotting in for the vacant slot of Avant Gaming. The new team also inherited three of the five Avant Gaming players in Apii, LeeSA and Violet. Furthermore, Aladoric makes his return to the scene and will likely share his support slot with Yuncheng “Chayon” Wang. The roster is rounded out with former Legacy midlaner James “Halo” Giacoumakis. Overall, PEACE is in the same bracket with Pentanet in terms of team synergy as they feature plenty of returning players with built-in synergy.
Finally, Dire Wolves (Cupcake, Shok, Kevy, Only, Claire, gunkrab, Kalroc, Praelus) went all out when building their 2021 roster. Ari “Shok” Greene-Young and Andy “Cupcake” van der Vyver return to the roster to headline the 2021 iteration. The organization acquired former Chiefs top laner Brandon “Claire” Nguyen, and two proficient junglers in Kevy and Only, both former ORDER players. The roster is rounded out with Vincent “gunkrab” Lin formerly of Avant Gaming. Based on the names alone, Dire Wolves have one of the strongest rosters in the LCO this season and are likely the main favorites from the get go. Additionally, the sheer size of the roster gives enough replaceable parts to coach Farmer to build a workable roster in time for MSI.
LCO Opening Week Schedule
ESL’s brand-new esports studio in Sydney is primed and waiting for the first eight matches in the brand new LCO. We are even treated to an El Classico on opening day. The organizers have quickly put up a decent looking web-page to track the score and schedule at LCO.gg.
Matches are set to kick off on February 23rd 6PM AEDT (8:00 CET, 23:00 PT D-1) at Twitch.tv/LCO. Our weekly match predictions and betting tips will come in time for Week 2.
“Raise your koalas, because competitive Oceanic League of Legends is back.”