Filipino powerhouse Blacklist International are through to the M3 World Championship grand finals after a dominant run in the lower bracket, which they capped off by avenging their previous loss to North America's BloodThirstyKings (BTK) with a 3-1 gentleman's sweep in the lower bracket finals.
Despite a dominant showing in the Group Stage, Blacklist International fell victim to a 3-2 upset from BTK in their first match of the Playoffs and were knocked down to the lower bracket.
Meanwhile, ONIC Philippines became the first M3 World Championship grand finalists after they swept BTK in the upper bracket finals and forcing the North Americans to a rematch with Blacklist International.
The lower bracket finals started kicked off with a low-kill grinder. After BTK got off to an early 4-2 kill lead, Blacklist International avoided taking head-on fights to instead focus on securing objectives and scaling up their lineup.
After the first big clash of the game at the 18-minute mark, Blacklist International snagged a 6-4 kill lead and proceeded to split-push their way to a 20-minute victory.
Star midlaner Johnmar "OhMyV33NUS" Villaluna controlled the fights for Blacklist International, and had nine clean assists to show for it, to earn the MVP nod for the game.
Both teams picked up the pace in game two, with Blacklist International in control early with a 8-2 kill lead and three turrets destroyed by the nine-minute mark.
BTK managed to score some pickoffs to keep themselves in it, but they could do little to stop their Filipino opponents from taking a commanding 2-0 series lead after 16 minutes of action.
The North Americans struck back hard in game three, going on the offensive early and forcing Blacklist International to keep engaging them in brawls.
The Filipinos were unable to play out in the map and were instead forced to hole up in their base, though BTK broke through their defenses after a 20-minute grinder to force the series to a fourth game.
BTK looked to run the same strategy they did in game three to force the series to a decider, but Blacklist International turned the tables on them and were instead the ones dominating the fights.
With a 12-6 kill lead by the 11-minute mark, the Filipinos held full control of the map and began to choke out their opponents.
The North Americans did not go down quietly, repeatedly scoring big pickoffs to keep Blacklist International at bay. However, the Filipinos could not be denied as they eventually overwhelmed BTK's defenses after a 26-minute, 18-17 bloodbath.
OhMyV33NUS had four kills and eight assists against two deaths on Yve, earning a second MVP nod as Blacklist International secured the 3-1 series victory and exacted their revenge on BTK.
Blacklist International will be facing their fellow Filipinos in ONIC PH for the right to be called MLBB world champions in the best-of-seven grand finals on Sunday (19 December).
Meanwhile, BTK's unprecedented Cinderella run at M3 World Championship ends with a third place finish and with US$80,000 in consolation.
While the North American team fall well short of their ultimate goal, it is still a very respectable showing for a team that many were already counting out before the tournament even started.