It’s LCO Super Week, and for seven of the eight league squads, this week will determine the title contenders from the rest of the pack. For Peace, it’s yet another week of waiting.
LCO 2023 commenced with a slower than normal start as Peace have been unable to provide a roster eligible to play, forfeiting the first five games of their split.
This a concerning start for the former Worlds representatives clearly having not played for a back up in case the players were not cleared for play.
This is also representative of the difficulties that teams will face in accessing the PCS talent pool for LCO play, with squads in the future requiring to carefully consider their options, and executing moves swiftly to ensure eligibility for season start.
Fortunately for Peace, due to changes in format, this is not an overly punishing commencement to the split due to the new season formats implemented for 2023. The first round robin merely operates as seeding for the double elimination group stage — one that all eight teams will take part in.
The rest of week one, however, went very much as was expected with Chiefs, Dire Wolves and Pentanet finding themselves at the top of the ladder each winning both of their opening weeks games.
Overall, spectators should expect the league to be much more competitive over the course of the split due to the overall player quality across the league improving in the 2023, but as expected we very much saw some teething issues early on as the players become acquainted with their new rosters.
The pick of the week highlights some of these roster changes, as Kanga take on Team Bliss. The Bliss core take on their former org attempting to pick up their first win in the LCO.
Matthews’ Pick of the Week — Kanga vs Bliss
Team Bliss come into the week off the back of a shaky first week outing having leaders The Chiefs and Dire Wolves in their season openers — a rough season opener for anyone.
The opposition this week lends itself to be far more competitive against Kanga, with the off season strategic approach being clear from both sides.
Team Bliss signed much of the Kanga 2022 roster that made a late season surge making it to playoffs in Lived, Leemas and Benvi, rounding out the roster with known talent in Whynot and Korean import Daystar, in an attempt to go further than Kanga did last split — but without breaking the bank.
Kanga, on the other hand, were required to pick up the pieces and build around the remaining star player of the roster in Fighto. They have done so remarkably well, by standards of previous years — picking up strong solo queue talents in Hoopa and Blue.
This is heartening to see as both of these players have been known talents for quite some time. Now they will finally be able to leave their marks on the LCO, and it’s a sign that talent still exists in the Oceanic pipeline.
Expect this match to be competitive, for as we mentioned last week, communication issues are likely to exist within Bliss as the team acclimates to Daystar. While many have Bliss listed as a dark horse, their season start is anticipated to be slow.
As mentioned previously, the opening round robin is not of the greatest concern in the new format, and will allow them the time to acclimate. However, this leaves them open to be struck down by Kanga this week, with a win boding well for their new talents as confidence levels increase.
Despite this, I expect Bliss to take the win this evening, with the established talent overcoming the newcomers to the league.
Familiarity with Fighto is likely to be a deciding element, as I expect to see him targeted out in the pick and ban, much in the likes of the end of last season, due to limited champion pool options for stand out performances.
Week 2 Day 1 Predictions
The LCO Split 1 resumes tonight at 6pm AEST, with game of the day Kanga & Bliss set to close the evening at 8pm AEST. Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.