MPL Playoffs Preview: Omega, ECHO clash for the right to challenge reigning king Blacklist

Omega Esports and ECHO will be battling it out in their best-of-five matchup in the play in, with the chance to challenge the defending champions Blacklist International at stake in Day 1 of MPL Philippines Season 8 playoffs on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Photo from MPL Philippines

It will also be a clash of kings with ECHO being a two-time MPL Philippines champions and Omega parading an MSC title. ‘The Queen’ Jonmar “OhmyV33nus” Villaluna and the rest of Blacklist are sure to be ready to defend their throne against any of the two.

Head-to-head record

The two teams are actually even if its last two meetings would be the basis. ECHO made quick work of Omega with a 2-0 sweep in Week 1, although the former Execration squad was still missing the services of its star gold laner Duane "Kelra" Pillas.

Omega returned the favor to ECHO in Week 6 when last season’s runner-up activated Christian “Raizen” Sumagui in place of Kiel “Kielvj” Hernandez.

In terms of number, there’s not much difference between the two squads although ECHO had the better win-loss record despite placing 5th at the end of the regular season with a 6-8 card against the 5-9 record of Omega.

Photo from MPL Philippines

Omega has the slight edge in kills per game with 13 against Echo’s 11.91 average. The latter, however, has the better assist per game average with 25.45 as compared to the former’s 24.24. The two teams almost have an identical KDA average with ECHO’s 2.96 and Omega 2.67.

Photo from MPL Philippines

Battle of the top tanks: Ch4knu vs Rafflesia

It will also be a showdown between two of the best roamers in the league in ECHO’s Christian “Rafflesia” Fajura and Omega’s Joshua “Ch4knu" Mangilog. Both players are known to be fearless players and two of the best setters in the game and are even famed for their championship Khufra game plays.

Rafflesia, however, shone the brightest with perfect initiations on his signature Tank Chou and Roaming Mathilda in the regular season. Ch4knu, on the other hand, banked on his old reliable Tank Jawhead and Grock. The tank who will get the better position first and land the perfect sets for his team will definitely have the edge in this series.

Another explosive match-up will also happen in the gold lane where Benedict “BennyQT” Gonzales meets Duane "Kelra" Pillas. The two late-game beasts will surely dispute for the Alice in the draft. ‘Bagyong Benny’ though still have the Argus pick up his sleeve while Kelra shall shine with the patented Ruby-DD play on his Lunox.

There’s no breaking the code

Blacklist is ready to defend its crown despite missing Kiel “Oheb” Soriano. Make no mistake, though, as the defending champs still have a lot of firepower in its arsenal especially with the KDA machine in Salic “Hadji” Imam remained to be well-oiled. The tried-and-tested Jason “Eson” Gerardo and OhmyV33nus midlane combination is still a potent threat.

And perhaps, Oheb’s absence actually imposed more question rather than answers for the team who will face Blacklist. Asked who between Hadji and Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario will play the jungler role in the playoffs, Blacklist head coach Bonn "Bon Chan" Ricaplaza had a swift answer.

“Palitan sila para mas masakit sa ulo para sa mga future opponents.”