MANILA (UPDATE) - Blacklist International has taken the crown in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League after upending an Execration squad trying to seal their Cinderella run with a title.
Execration had reached match point but Blacklist International rallied from two sets down to take the championship, 4-3.
Blacklist was able to secure all the turtles, among other objectives, to start Game 1 and employ their signature “UBE Strategy” - banking on Jonmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna’s signature Estes to bond together to forge team fights and earn kills from them.
But with a lineup that was more advantageous in the late game, Execration was able to come back 13 minutes in, as Grant “Kelra" Duane Pillas’s Alice eked out a triple kill, and Renzio killed Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario to wipe out 4 of 5 of Blacklist’s heroes.
Execration had chances to end the game early, but heroics by Edward “EDWARD” Dapadap's signature Benedetta prolonged the lifeline for Blacklist. However, in the 20th minute, Execration was able to win a crucial team fight and wipe out the Blacklist squad, thanks to kills by Patrick “E2MAX” James Caidic's Eudora and Kielvj’s Claude to take Game 1.
Execration was able to take Game 2 within 10 minutes, thanks to the “Double K” connection of Kielvj’s Roger and Kelra’s Lunox - and despite Blacklist International’s Veewise (OhMyV33nus and Wise) drafting their comfort picks.
Edward eked out a triple kill in a Lord fight to give Blacklist an advantage and stop Execration from reaching match point.
However, Execration was able to reach match point in Game 4, as Cha4knu’s Rafaela ganked on 4 Blacklist players, allowing room for Kielvj’s Ling to use Tempest of Blades, killing off OhMyV33nus’ Estes, Wise’s Yi Sun Shin and Edward’s Uranus within seconds. This also allowed leverage for Kelra’s Claude and E2MAX’s Kagura to kill off Oheb’s Lunox and Mark Jayson "ESON" Gerardo's Franco — thereby wiping out opponents and giving them ample time to bust down Blacklist’s base.
Blacklist International started Game 5 aggressively, getting 2 turtles in 4 kills around 6 minutes behind OhMyV33nus’ Mathilda. They were also able to delay the farm of Kielvj’s Claude, a hero that excels in the late game.
Blacklist used the very squad that cost them Game 4 in Game 6 but ESON’s Franco shined as his iron hooks set up Wise and Edward for some kills, gain momentum, keep Execration and force a Game 7.
Wise was able to pick Aldous in Game 7, which proved to be the difference for Blacklist en route to the title, as it was given enough room to stack its defenses and gank in important team fights using its "chase fate" ultimate skill, even taking down Kielvj's Ling from the wall in a momentous play.
Blacklist International was seconds away from getting the title, but Kelra’s Lunox singlehandedly killed Blacklist International’s heroes to earn a savage.
But it was not enough as Blacklist grouped together for their signature "UBE strategy," gain the needed advantage in team fights, march towards Execration's base and secure their first title.
'PART OF THE PLAN'
Using Aldous, rendered an unconventional pick in the professional ML:BB setting, had been part of the plan, head coach Bon "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza said in a post-match interview.
Wise had first used Aldous against Smart Omega late in the regular season, a far cry from his usual Granger and the Yi Sun Shin drafts. He has never lost a match using the said hero; with the threat, Execration proceeded to ban him in the first few games in the drafting stage.
"May plano [talaga kami]. Hindi lang namin in-expect na may team na magba-ban noon," Bon Chan said, earlier noting that Wise was confident about the Aldous pick as he entered the match.
The Tier One Entertainment-owned team acquired the services of signature tandem players OhMyV33nus and Wise from Onic PH before the season, and recruited OHEB.
The combination proved a crucial fit for the squad as it propelled them to the top of the league, ending their regular season with a 12-1 record. Bren Esports was the sole team to beat Blacklist International.
After roster changes, Execration was able to acquire the services of Kielvj and Renzio from Aura PH, a move that was crucial to their race to the championship.
The newly reformed Execration squad ended their campaign at third place in Group B, with 20 points.
Starting their playoff campaign in the lower bracket, Execration was able to eliminate favorites en route to the finals such as Kielvj and Renzio’s former team Aura PH, last season’s runner up Smart Omega, and world champions Bren Esports.
Jonmar “OhMyV33nus” Villaluna
Dexter “DEX STAR” Alaba
Kiel “Oheb” Soriano
Danerie James “Wise” Del Rosario
Edward “EDWARD” Dapadap
Mark Jayson "ESON" Gerardo
Renz “Renzio” Errol Cadua
Patrick “E2MAX” James Caidic
Kiel “Kielvj” VJ Hernandez,
Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog
Grant “Kelra" Duane Pillas
Billy ”Z4pnu" Jazha Alfonso