MANILA (UPDATE) — Groups for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League World Championship (M3) were revealed on Saturday, with the Philippine teams gunning for the second straight world title.
The tournament will run from December 6 to 19 and will be held offline in Singapore.
Blacklist and Onic PH will face teams from Asia, Europe, Brazil, and North America, battling for a lion's share of the $800,000 prize pool and the title as the world's best Mobile Legends team.
Teams were drawn in a seeded format. Champs of MPL in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore make up Seed 1. Brazil and Cambodia's champions and runners-up of Indonesia and the Philippines constitute Seed 2. The rest of the teams were drawn from Seed 3. Groups do not consist of teams from the same country.
Reigning Filipino Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) champs Blacklist International are grouped with MPL Brazil champs Red Canids, Malvinas Gaming of Latin America, and Bedel of Turkey.
Finalists Onic PH are with Group B, or what is described as the "Group of Death" - packed with powerhouses such as their counterparts MPL Indonesia champs Onic Esports, MPL - Malaysia runners-up Todak, and MPL Brazil runners-up VIVO Keyd.
Group C will have the following squads: EVOS SG (Singapore) , SeeYouSoon (Cambodia), Natus Vincere (Russia), and BTK (North America).
Group D will have Team SMG (Malaysia), RRQ (Indonesia), GX Squad (Middle East), RSG SG (Singapore).
No teams will be eliminated from the group stages. Instead, the standings will determine who gets into the upper bracket and the lower bracket.
Games in the group stages will be held in a Best of 1 format, with the top 2 teams advancing to the upper bracket playoffs and enjoying a twice-to-beat incentive, and the last 2 teams advancing to the lower bracket playoffs, with a single elimination format.
Upper bracket playoffs will be held at a best of five and lower bracket finals are at a best of 3 series, except for round 3, a best of five series. Whoever loses in the upper bracket playoffs will be relegated to the lower bracket, while losing teams in the lower bracket will be eliminated.
Winners of the upper and the lower bracket finals will advance to the grand finals and duke it out to be the best ML team in the world.
Blacklist International will bank on two dominant seasons in MPL - Philippines for their first world championship appearance, while Onic PH will make their second world championship appearance since the tourney started in 2019.
Both teams will try to give the Philippines back-to-back crowns, after PH team Bren Esports took home the world title in M2.
Bren will not be able to defend their world title crown this year after a dismal MPL Season 8 finish, failing to secure a playoff slot in the local league. They defeated the now-disbanded Burmese Ghouls in the grand finals after climbing from the lower bracket and taking the world title.