Coming into this year off the back of their two worst performances ever in the OPL, Legacy completely rebuilt. They recruited Quin “Raes” Korebrits from the Chiefs, as well as bringing in Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon and Leo “Babip” Romer from championship team Mammoth.
Rookie support Jonah “Isles” Rosario was promoted to a main roster, signing with Legacy after the youngster played for both Mammoth Academy and Avant Academy in 2019. They also imported coach Jensen Goh to work alongside James “Denian” Goddard, as well as pulling in an unknown midlaner from Korea, Jang “EMENES” Min-soo.
Their dominance started on day one of the OPL, and EMENES proved to be a cut above most OPL midlaners as Legacy roared to a 9-1 start in the split, second only to the undefeated Chiefs. However, amidst the trials of playing competitive League of Legends in the COVID-19 pandemic, EMENES quietly left the team and former Legacy toplaner James “Tally” Shute was brought in to replace him.
With Tally’s veteran presence, they only dropped two more games in the rest of the split, finishing first after triumphing over the Chiefs in the final game of the season to be seeded into the Winners Final. Here, they were once again matched up against the Chiefs, this time for the rights to move straight to the Grand Final. The Chiefs had shown up strong after taking out the Dire Wolves 3-1, but they were no match for Legacy who returned the favour by knocking them down 3-1 as well.
Now locked into the Grand Final, their fifth time would have to be the charm, as they awaited the outcome of the Gauntlet to see who they faced for potentially their maiden OPL title.
By all accounts, it should have been the Chiefs. The two teams had gone toe-to-toe every step of the way and seemed to be a cut above the other six teams in the competition. Yet when the smoke cleared following a brutal rematch between the Chiefs and the Dire Wolves, it was the Wolfpack emerging victorious and ready to do battle in a rematch of the 2017 Split 1 Grand Final.
A strong early game from Legacy set the tone for the series in the first game, cleanly outmacroing the Dire Wolves to pick up multiple towers and kills across the map. However, the Wolfpack managed to build themselves a win condition by pushing towards a Mountain Soul, grabbing three Drakes.
The game broke open after the Dire Wolves positioned for that fourth and final Drake, and were absolutely routed in consecutive teamfights by Legacy, who scooped up a Baron before tearing down the enemy nexus in just over thirty minutes.
Legacy scored First Blood with Tally’s Rumble onto Ari “Shok” Greene-Young’s Cassiopeia, and managed to follow that up by turning around a dive bot from the Dire Wolves to keep up with the Wolfpack’s early gold lead. After a back-and-forth midgame where neither team truly gained the ascendancy, some mispositioning in a midlane teamfight handed Legacy a free Baron after Mir was picked off.
However Legacy “caught a good throw”, in the words of caster Zack “Rusty” Pye, as the Wolves fed their opponents four more kills trying to defend the Baron. A six-thousand gold lead after that 22-minute Baron was insurmountable for the Dire Wolves, and Legacy ripped apart their base to take their second win of the series and place themselves on match point.
The Dire Wolves had to bite back if they wanted to keep their reverse sweep alive, and they did so by drafting a brutal teamfight composition. A Malphite for Ryan “Chippys” Short was the perfect initiation for Shok’s Corki and Vital’s Miss Fortune. Legacy were pressed to find a response to the scaling that the Dire Wolves had, and managed to earn themselves a Cloud Soul, but it wasn’t enough.
As the game dragged on past the 35-minute mark, Shok was officially online and no amount of movement speed could beat critical hit after critical hit in a bloody fight around the Baron. After wiping Legacy off the map, Teleports were channeled and Legacy lost only their fifth game this year.
Legacy fans will remember this game as the one where they finally became champions. Dire Wolves fans will remember this game as the one where Chippys on Poppy ran into the Baron pit, stealing the big purple worm away with a charged-up Keeper’s Hammer right under the noses of Legacy.
That Baron steal only stalled the inevitable, as Legacy ran the game from start to finish. Topoon’s Vladimir was monstrously fed, claiming three kills after an extended skirmish around the Drake, as both teams shook hands and exchanged a few kills worth of gold.
Unfortunately, Legacy used that small lead and opened it up to a gaping chasm that the Wolfpack couldn’t keep up. Teamfight after teamfight fell Legacy’s way, and after thirty-one minutes and 26 kills, Legacy broke the Dire Wolves’ nexus for the third time to claim their maiden OPL championship.
Legacy’s first championship finally granted former Legacy jungler and now team manager, Tim “Carbon” Wendel his first trophy with the team he’s been with for almost six years. It was also the first title for Tally, a just reward for another veteran of the scene. Isles also joins the small group of players in the OPL who have won the title in their debut split.
Legacy showed the rest of the OPL how to start from scratch, and now with Split 2 only weeks away due to the cancellation of the Mid-Season Invitational, their eyes should be set firmly on a spot as Oceania’s representatives for this year’s World Championship.