MPL PH Season 9 Playoffs: OMG start strong, sweep ECHO 3-0

Smart Omega Esports Philippines started the MPL Philippines Season 9 strong by sweeping ECHO Esports 3-0. (Photo: MPL Philippines/Smart Omega Esports Philippines)
Smart Omega Esports Philippines started the MPL Philippines Season 9 Playoffs strong by sweeping ECHO Esports 3-0. (Photo: MPL Philippines/Smart Omega Esports Philippines)

The Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) Philippines Season 9 Playoffs opened on Thursday (28 April) with Smart Omega Esports Philippines (OMG) emerging victorious over the star-studded ECHO Esports (ECHO) in a 3-0 sweep.

While the series ended in a sweep, OMG prevailed in three-straight nailbiters to prove once again that they are deserving of their “comeback kings” moniker.

See how OMG turned the tide on ECHO for three straight games.

"Comeback Kings"

OMG started game one with an unconventional pick and a relatively new strategy. They paired the newly revamped Akai with an Angela for Dean Christian “Raizen” Sumagui and Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog, respectively.

ECHO opted for a more established draft, centered around Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno's Karina with Tristan “YAWI” Cabrera’s roaming Masha for backup.

Both teams also had three heroes apiece with sprint, signaling a fast-paced, action-filled game.

By the 7th-minute mark, there were already 15 kills on the board, with ECHO taking a 2,000 gold lead as ECHO secured the first two turtles of the game.

However, Grant Duane “Kelra” Pillas' Wanwan continued to farm and secure kills to keep OMG within striking distance.

Not even a minute after, ECHO completely wiped OMG after a Dawning Light initiation from Jankurt Russel “KurtTzy” Matira's Xavier, followed by a diving Masha to kill the retreating Wanwan.

With OMG's strongest damage dealer off the board, they still tried to re-initiate but could not get any kills in return.

But OMG were dubbed the "comeback kings" for a reason.

With the first lord of the game looming, OMG baited ECHO into initiating on Wanwan once again. With Ch4knu's Angela immediately saving Kelra’s Wanwan with Heartguard, OMG's counter-initiation resulted in three kills along with the lord.

The successful fight allowed OMG to destroy ECHO's final top lane tower and take a commanding lead that they never relinquished.

Forced into a disadvantageous position, ECHO did not contest OMG during the second lord.

As it approached ECHO's base, Raizen’s Akai initiated with a well-timed Heavy Spin to immobilize two ECHO heroes, thus giving Kelra's Wanwan enough space to clean up the rest of the opposing heroes and secure the comeback win for OMG.

Kelra's Wanwan won the game one MVP honors with a 7/4/4 performance from his Wanwan.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

For game two, OMG went back to their tried and tested Wanwan but also picked up the Masha and Karina for themselves.

ECHO responded with a burst-oriented lineup of Dyrroth, Beatrix, and Xavier then picked up YAWI’s Mathilda to have better initiation chances on Kelra’s Wanwan.

The game started well for ECHO once again, taking three towers and two turtles by the 8-minute mark, building a good 2,200 gold cushion over OMG.

But the same demons from game one started to haunt them as Kelra's Wanwan continued his excellent performance in the series, beginning with a 3/0/2 stat line to keep OMG in the game.

After a successful clash in the mid lane for OMG, ECHO's gold lead shrank to just 1,000 with the first lord of the game looming.

ECHO’s plan was clear: get rid of the Wanwan as soon as possible. Unlike in game one, where they relied on YAWI’s Masha to run towards the Wanwan, they now had him on Mathilda to dive safely onto the slippery marksman.

The fight for the first lord started with dual initiation onto the Wanwan. However, Kelra managed to get off the Crossbow of Tang ultimate to escape with his life. Ch4knu also managed to zone out ECHO's heroes with his Hilda to give enough space for OMG to take the lord.

The extended teamfight resulted in a two-for-one tradeoff in favor of ECHO, but OMG grabbed the lord and erased ECHO's gold advantage.

Not giving up without a fight, ECHO responded by picking off three heroes.

Unfortunately for ECHO, Kelra’s Wanwan became too much to handle.

OMG took the next two lords without too much of a fight as ECHO could not get close enough to burst down the Wanwan. KurtTzy’s Xavier did have a clutch lord steal with his Dawning Light on the fifth lord to keep ECHO’s hopes alive, but it didn’t matter.

Successive kills on KarlTzy’s Dyrroth and Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico’s Paquito gave OMG the opportunity to take the final lord of the game freely.

KurtTzy tried to steal the lord with Dawning Light once again, but it was too early.

With the fifth lord of the game marching down the middle lane, Renz Errol “Renzio” Salonga Cadua’s Masha poured salt into ECHO’s wounds, capping the game off with the first Savage of the playoffs to secure game two for OMG and put ECHO on the brink of elimination.

Renzio won the MVP award for game two with an 8/2/6 performance on his Masha.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

No lead is too big for OMG

With their backs against the wall, ECHO finally banned Kelra’s Wanwan and opted for a double-tank lineup featuring YAWI’s Franco and 3MarTzy’s Grock.

The double-tank setup was aimed at giving Frederic Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales' Beatrix space to farm for the late game.

OMG responded with a double-mage lineup of E2MAX's Xavier and Kelra’s Lunox to try to quickly end the game before ECHO's marksman completed her items.

While OMG needed to take an early lead to justify their fast lineup, it was ECHO that took a 4,000 gold lead after the first lord following a hook and pickoff on Raizen’s Chou.

ECHO destroyed all of OMG’s outer towers by the 11-minute mark and set themselves up for an easy kill on the second lord.

ECHO used the lord to initiate onto OMG in their base, winning the team fight with a three-to-one exchange along with the middle and bottom inhibitor towers.

Down 8,000 gold and with most of their towers destroyed, OMG never relented, showing once again that they are the comeback kings.

During the fight for the third lord in the middle lane, Renzio’s Dyrroth picked off three ECHO heroes, winning the four-for-three exchange for OMG.

OMG had the third lord open for the taking but could not take advantage of the opportunity due to their lack of a marksman. After a hook and pickoff on Ch4knu’s Atlas, OMG conceded the lord to ECHO.

Unfortunately for ECHO, they could not close out OMG for the third game in a row.

First, OMG easily repelled ECHO’s push on the top lane, picking off KarlTzy’s Balmond in the process.

Then, they contested the fourth lord successfully after Renzio and Ch4knu zoned out four ECHO heroes towards the bottom lane.

Finally, with the successful lord attempt, OMG marched down the middle lane to win game three and complete the 3-0 series sweep.

Renzio won the MVP award once again, finishing ECHO off with a 10/2/5 performance from his Dyrroth.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

With their victory, OMG continue the winning streak they started near the end of the regular season.

“Baranggay Omega” advances to next round of the upper bracket, where they will face second seed TNC Pro Team (TNC) on 29 April.

Meanwhile, ECHO’s superteam exit the playoffs without having won a single game.

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