The OPL will return in just a few weeks on 20 January 2018. In the lead-up to the 2018 Spring Split, let’s look at the main changes coming to the OPL in 2018, and how you can watch all the upcoming action.
The 2018 Spring Split will kick off on Saturday 20 January 2018, when The Chiefs Esports Club will face off against Dire Wolves, followed by Tectonic versus Order (previously Team Regicide.)
Games will be broadcasted on Saturdays and Sundays, just the same as the 2017 season, beginning from 2pm each day local time. The 2018 Spring Split will run over 9 weeks, during which time the eight OPL teams will play against each other.
All the action will be covered by two casters, Jake "Spawn" Tiberi and Bryce "EGym" Paule. EGym notably was the support for Chiefs last season; however he’s now stepped away from the Rift professionally and will provide insights on all the action as it unfolds instead.
You can see the full schedule for the 2018 Spring Split here.
OPL rosters announced
The biggest news is that there’s a new team in town, Order, and they look like they could be real contenders to take the top-spot from Dire Wolves, boasting talent such as Swiffer and the watchful eye of general manager Spawn, who will also continue with his casting duties as stated above.
Interestingly, there was a release by Riot in December which announced competitive rulings against six OPL players and one OPL coach. Pinch, Looch, Sleeping, Raes, Mimic, Cuden, and Milky were all handed suspensions for two competitive weeks for negative behaviour, whilst Zenk was handed a suspension for two competitive weeks for account sharing. How these rulings may impact the initial weeks of the Spring Split remains to be seen.
Changes to the OPL Promotion Tournament
The OPL Promotion Tournament will now only take place once per year as opposed to the two relegation matches that used to happen per Split. Riot stated that change was due in part to financial reasons as well as for teams’ and players’ benefits. This is because OPL teams will have greater security, knowing they will compete in the league for the full year, and as a result they will be able to sign year-long sponsorship agreements and make longer-term decisions regarding team rosters and strategies.
This announcement echoes the changes that are planned for other leagues, such as the EU LCS, and should not come as a huge surprise to OPL fans. It's an improvement all around.
Changes to the Challenger Series
The changes to the Promotion Tournament will also have a knock-on effect on the Oceanic Challenger Series (OCS), which will take a single season format. The OCS will also expand to include 14 teams, although eight of those teams will be run by an OPL organisation.
The main reason for the change is to further develop grassroots talent within the Oceania region. To that extent, changes are also in store for the Oceanic Open Ladder (OOL) which will be replaced by amateur tournaments that will be run by OCS teams or interested third parties.
The OCS should start between the Spring and Summer Split, although exact confirmation of when will likely come from Riot at a later date. You can read the full announcement here.
As always, stay tuned with RealSport for more.
What do you think about the changes to the OPL and OCS? Let us know in the comments below!