The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) M5 World Championship Knockout Stage kicked off on Saturday (9 December) with the first two matches of the upper bracket quarterfinals.
Indonesia's ONIC Esports and Russia's Deus Vult emerged victorious over Blacklist International and Turkey's Fire Flux Esports, respectively, to advance to the upper bracket semifinals. Meanwhile, Blacklist and Fire Flux drop down to the first round of the lower bracket.
Here's how the opening day of the M5 World Championship Knockout Stage went down:
Deus Vult 3-1 Fire Flux Esports
The opening match of the Knockout Stage saw the two non-Southeast Asian teams still in contention for the world championship face off. After a thrilling run through the Group Stage, Deus Vult continue to impress as they defeated Fire Flux in four games to advance to the upper bracket semifinals.
The series opened with Deus Vult taking a hard-fought 20-minute victory before Fire Flux tied things up 1-1 in a 16-minute game two. However, the Russian squad caught fire in the pivotal game three to take a commanding 2-1 series lead in just 11 minutes of action.
Both teams then went blow-for-blow in a 21-minute game four, but it was Deus Vult who ultimately emerged victorious to claim the 3-1 series victory.
Deus Vult's German EXP laner Mathaios "Kid Bomba" Chatzilakos won the MVP honours for games one and four while Russian jungler Eduard "Magistor" Rukosuev took the nod for game three.
ONIC Esports 3-2 Blacklist International
The second match of the day was a highly-anticipated showdown between two championship contenders in Blacklist International and ONIC Esports. More than just a match between two top teams at M5, this series was another chapter in the storied rivalry between the Philippines and Indonesia for MLBB supremacy.
Indonesia got the better of the Philippines this time around as ONIC outlasted Blacklist, 3-2, in a five-game thriller.
The series started off with a banger, as Blacklist pulled off a comeback win in 30-minutes, the second-longest game of the entire tournament. A back-and-forth game two looked to be another comeback win for Blacklist, but ONIC were able to shut the door on them in 22 minutes to tie up the series.
ONIC then dominated Blacklist in a 21-minute game three to take a commanding 2-1 series lead. However, the Filipino squad roared their way back into the series in game four, where they demolished their Indonesian opponents to the tune of a 10-1 kill lead in 14 minutes to force a deciding game five.
ONIC were quick to shake off their game four loss and gave Blacklist a taste of their own medicine, as they closed out the 3-2 series victory in style with a 11-2 kill lead in 13 minutes.
ONIC's gold laner Calvin "CW" Winata won the MVP honours for games two and three while EXP laner Muhammad "Butsss" Sanubari took the nod for game five.
With the day's results, ONIC Esports and Deus Vult have guaranteed themselves at least a Top 6 finish and US$40,000 in winnings. They will face off in the first of two upper bracket semifinals matches on Tuesday (12 December) for a spot in the upper bracket finals.
Meanwhile, Blacklist International and Fire Flux Esports drop down to the first round of the lower bracket and will be fighting for their tournament lives on Monday (11 December). The winner will advance to the second round of the lower bracket while the loser will be eliminated in 7th-8th place and with US$30,000 in consolation.
The M5 World Championship Knockout Stage will follow a double elimination format with all matches being a best-of-five except for the Grand Finals, which will be a full best-of-seven series.
The Knockout Stage will be held in two phases. The first phase will be held in the EMV Convention Center from 9 to 12 December and includes the upper bracket quarterfinals (9 to 10 December), the first round of the lower bracket (11 December), and the upper bracket semifinals (12 December).
The second phase of the Knockout Stage will be held in the Rizal Memorial Coliseum from 15 to 17 December. It will include the lower bracket quarterfinals (15 December), the lower bracket semifinals and upper bracket finals (16 December), as well as the lower bracket finals and Grand Finals (17 December).
For everything you need to know about the M5 World Championship, check here.