The full-strength Blacklist International proved to be too much for rival Omega Esports as the defending champions dismantled its last season’s runner-up with a 3-1 victory in the lower bracket finals of the MPL Philippines Season 8 playoffs at the World Trade Center on Sunday, October 24.
Blacklist booked a return trip to the Grand Finals, all thanks to Kiel “OHEB” Soriano whose presence proved to be key for the Season 7 champions after a perfect Alice performance in Games 1 and 2 with 4-0-6 and 5-0-6 KDAs to help his team take a commanding 2-0 lead.
Salic “Hadji” Imam also provided Blacklist with his brilliance especially during the series clinching Game 4 where he lifted the trailing Blacklist with crucial pick off using his Tank Chou.
Hadji’s crucial catch on Duane “Kelra” Pillas’ Alice in the bottom lane allowed Blacklist to take the Lord at the 17-minute mark of the game. Hadji replicated the Jeet Kune Do-Way of the Dragon combo moments after, this time picking off Renz “Renzio” Cadua’s Barats as Blacklist went for the death push.
Blacklist sealed the victory with a five-man wipe of Omega to avenge its upper bracket loss and set up a best-of-seven series against Onic in the Grand Finals.
Omega actually took control of Game 4 with Patrick “E2max” Caidic dictating the tempo using his Abyssal Arrows from Selena, shutting down Oheb’s Natan in the process.
The MSC kings however faltered in a huge clash in the mid-lane that allowed Blacklist to complete a wipeout and take the 12-minute Luminous Lord that gave the defending champions the space to stage the comeback.
Blacklist coach Bonn “Bon Chan” Ricaplaza’s drafting prowess was also in full display as he target-banned Raizen to deny his comfort heroes in that four game stretch.
Blacklist opened up the series with a dominating performance in Game 1 with Danerie “Wise” Del Rosario unleashing a surprise jungle Barats pick. Wise, Oheb and Hadji then joined hands as they punished the late game line up of OMG anchored on Natan and Aldous, drawing the first blood via a 16-5 domination.
The same story happened in Game 2 with Blacklist taking full control of the map behind Jonmar “OhmyV33nus” Villaluna’s signature Mathilda. Blacklist took the second game with a 15-3 triumph in a swift 11 minutes of play.
Omega refused to go down without a fight as Kelra powered the MSC champions to a come-from-behind win in Game 3. OMG took a page from Blacklist’s playbook as Ch4knu’s Estes gave his team the advantage in the final clash.
A huge clash near the Lord pit allowed E2max to initiate with Phoveus’ Demonic Force. Kelra on his Alice caught the retreating Blacklist players with his Blood Awe-Blood Ode combo, taking down three of them to score their first point of the series after a 15-10 Game 3 win.