Dire Wolves cemented its place in the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League Split 1 Grand Final with a win over Exile 5 over the weekend.
That means that for the first time in four OPL splits, the Grand Final won't be Chiefs versus Legacy.
With its win over the bottom-placed Exile5, Dire Wolves finished Split 1 with a record of 8-2, only dropping matches to Chiefs and Legacy. Looks like its pre-season training in Korea paid off.
The team will have the next weekend off, while four other OPL teams battle for the remaining grand final spot.
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Elsewhere in last weekend's action, Legacy sealed second place in the regular season with a sweep win over Abyss – another team that was already out of playoffs contention.
Chiefs – its suspended players back – also looked dominant as it destroyed Tainted Minds, setting an OPL record for the fastest ever game victory at 17 minutes 13 seconds.
Meanwhile, Avant Garde made its playoffs path slightly easier with a 2-1 win over Sin.
Here are the standings after week 10:
Grand final grind
In the OPL, the lower you are on the table, the more matches you have to play in the playoffs to get to the grand final. On top of that, all playoff games are best-of-five, so fatigue can be a factor.
That means that Sin must beat Avant Garde, then Chiefs, then Legacy this coming weekend to get to the grand final the weekend after. That's a hell of a road ahead, especially when you factor in that Sin lost to Avant Garde beat both times the two met in the regular season, 0-2 and 1-2.
That makes it more likely that Avant Garde will advance to tackle Chiefs, a team that swept it the only time the two battled this year.
Assuming that match-up plays out as expected, Chiefs will battle Legacy for the remaining grand final spot. Because it swept Chiefs 2-0 in one regular season clash, Legacy seems like it should be the favourite to advance.
You shouldn't count out Chiefs though, a side that's only one starting player shy of the team that has won all four OPL titles so far. And its opponent in the last three of those finals? Legacy. On top of that, last year it swept Legacy in the finals, 3-0.
That has to give Chiefs more than a little hope that it can avenge its week six loss.
Should it do so, it will get a shot at Dire Wolves the following weekend in the grand final. Chiefs beat the Wolves 2-1 and lost to it 0-2 in the regular season, but that loss was during week nine, when four of Chiefs' starting players were suspended. And notably, Dire Wolves lost to Chiefs in last year's semis. The Chiefs could well go five in a row.
On the other hand, should Legacy deny Chiefs in the semis, it will advance to take on a team in Dire Wolves that it beat 2-1 in the one regular season game the two had. That'd make for a delightfully tense final.
Whatever happens, it's sure to be a pair of cracker weekends.
The playoffs kick off live on Friday April 7 with Sin Gaming versus Avant Garde. Then on Saturday April 8, Chiefs take on the winner of the previous night's match. On Sunday April 9, Legacy eSports then battles the winner of Saturday night's match.
All games start at 7pm NZT / 5pm AEST, and you can watch all of 'em on the OPL's official Twitch channel.