Blacklist International have been crowned as the new Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) world champions, after they swept ONIC Philippines 4-0 in the all-Filipino best-of-seven grand finals of the M3 World Championship on Sunday (19 December).
Both teams earned their spots in M3 as finalists of the MLBB Pro League (MPL) Philippines Season 8, where Blacklist International defeated ONIC PH 4-1 to become the country's back-to-back champions.
Both Filipino teams started strong in the M3 Group Stage and secured upper bracket berths in the Playoffs, with Blacklist International sweeping Group A while ONIC PH dropped only one game to grab the top seed of Group B.
The paths of the two Filipino teams then diverged in the Playoffs after North America's BloodThirstyKings (BTK) pulled off a 3-2 upset over Blacklist International that dropped the MPL PH champions to the lower bracket.
Blacklist International were able to right the ship after getting upset to then go on a dominant run in the lower bracket.
Blacklist International then avenged their previous loss to BTK by defeating the North Americans, 3-1, in a revenge match at the lower bracket finals to earn the right to face ONIC PH in the grand finals.
ONIC PH were on fire to start the series. They shut down Kiel "OHEB'" Calvin Soriano in the early game then implemented their signature splitpush strategy to bully Blacklist International and take down turrets.
However, Blacklist International kept their composure, extending fights and outplaying ONIC PH in teamfights. The MPL PH champions finally turned things around at the 15-minute mark, swiftly obliterating all of ONIC PH’s turrets to eventually get their first win of the finals after 21 minutes of action.
Both Filipino powerhouses were on relatively even footing to start game two, trading kills and turrets on each side. However, Blacklist International managed to find multiple opportunities to punish the ONIC PH's greed and eventually snowballed out of control. After a 14-minute beatdown, Blacklist International claimed a 2-0 series lead.
Blacklist International started the third game in control of the map and were choking their opponents across all lanes. However, ONIC PH successfully found kill trades and split-pushed to take back the gold lead. After a tense exchange that put both teams back on equal footing, Blacklist International were able to break through ONIC PH's defenses to take a 21-minute victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.
The MPL PH S8 champions continued their dominant streak in game four, relentlessly pursuing ONIC PH across all lanes with their patented Ultimate Bonding Experience, better known as “UBE”, strategy. However, ONIC struggled to find trades that could've sparked a comeback, and despite a valiant last stand, eventually fell to Blacklist International after a 14-minute stomp.
With their clean sweep of the grand finals, Blacklist International have claimed the mantle of MLBB world champions as well as the M3 World Championship grand prize of US$300,000.
Meanwhile, ONIC PH take home US$120,000 in consolation for finishing in second place.
A Filipino team has now won the last two MLBB world championship tournaments after Bren Esports defeated Burmese Ghouls to win the M2 World Championship back in January.
Blacklist International M3 World Championship roster:
Edward “EDWARD” Jay Dapadap
Danerie “Wise” James Del Rosario
Johnmar "OhMyV33NUS" Villaluna
Kiel "OHEB'" Calvin Q. Soriano
Salic "Hadji" Alauya Imam
ONIC Philippines M3 World Championship roster:
Gerald “Dlarskie” Trinchera
Kairi “Kairi” Ygnacio Rayosdelsol
Allen “Baloyskie” Jedric Baloy
Mark “Markyyyy” Christian Capacio
Jaylord “Hatred” Gonzales
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.