Second seed TNC Pro Team put a stop to a surging Smart Omega Esports Philippines (OMG) in the second day of the Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) Philippines Season 9 Playoffs on Thursday (29 April).
After OMG swept over ECHO Esports in the opening round, TNC routed OMG 3-1 to advance to the upper bracket finals and get one step closer towards a grand finals berth.
In this clash of textbook and unpredictable plays, TNC’s more disciplined style came out on top. Here's how TNC stopped the “Baranggay” in their tracks.
No comebacks this time
TNC chose their comfort picks to start the match, giving Robee Bryan "Yasuwo" Pormocille his Beatrix, Ben "Benthings" Maglaque his Steel Elf, and Jomearie "Escalera" Delos Santos his Lylia.
TNC rounded out their front lines with Daniel "SDzyz"' Chu's Karina and Mark Genzon "Kramm" Rustana's Paquito.
On the side of OMG, Renz Errol "Renzio" Salonga Cadua took the Dyrroth in hopes of bursting and controlling SDzyz's Karina.
Patrick James "E2MAX" Caidic also returned to his recent favorite, Xavier, and was paired with Grant Duane "Kelra" Pillas' Claude for additional burst damage.
OMG completed their lineup with Joshua "Ch4knu" Mangilog's Grock as their tank and Dean Christian "Raizen" Sumagui's Chou as their core.
TNC dominated OMG from start to finish in game one.
The second seed drew first blood on E2MAX’s Xavier in the middle lane and never looked back.
After another pickoff onto “Titomax,” TNC took the first turtle of the game and started to control the map as they pleased.
TNC continued to build on their early solid start, not allowing Ch4knu’s Grock to disrupt their core’s jungling patterns and forcing OMG to play catch-up constantly.
At the 5-minute mark, SDzyz’s Karina was already level 9, while Raizen’s Chou was still stuck at level 5. With TNC in complete control of the turtles, the game slowly slipped from OMG’s hands.
After the third turtle of the game fell at the hands of TNC, they managed to pick off E2MAX in the middle lane for the third time to open up OMG’s middle lane and set themselves up for the first lord of the game.
By the 9-minute mark, TNC was leading by 10,000 gold and had OMG completely helpless inside their own base.
TNC quickly took the first and final lord of the game and promptly ended the game down the middle lane. OMG lost the game in under 10 minutes and could not take a single tower from TNC.
Benthings took the MVP award for game one with a clean 0/0/6 game from his Steel Elf.
A taste of their own medicine
In game two, TNC countered OMG’s Beatrix pick with Yasuwo’s Clint, a counter to the Dawnbreak Soldier during the laning stage. Escalera also brought out his famous Selena to go up against E2MAX’s Lylia.
Meanwhile, TNC opted to take the Karina for themselves and gave Ch4knu his Khufra to counter SDzyz’s slippery Lancelot.
OMG responded to their game one loss in kind by putting on their own dominant performance in game two, showing the discipline and objective-based movements that TNC utilized to dominate the series opener.
Kelra’s Beatrix naturally struggles against Yasuwo’s Clint in the lane, so TNC decided to target him early on.
Fortunately for OMG, the Beatrix did not get caught by Selena’s Abyssal Arrows and managed to stay alive until Ch4knu’s Khufra arrived to help her in the lane.
With two heroes constantly at the bottom lane harassing the Beatrix, OMG focused on the other side of the map, grabbed the game's first turtle, and started to build up their gold lead.
To make things worse for TNC, Kelra’s Beatrix drew first blood in the middle lane, closing the gap on TNC’s advantage in the gold lane.
After another free turtle kill, OMG started to take objectives together to take advantage of their gold and experience lead.
OMG positioned themselves around the lord pit and caught Yasuwo’s Clint in the backlines, removing TNC’s primary damage dealer. After a one-for-one exchange that followed soon after, TNC conceded the lord to OMG.
Once the lord fell, all but one of TNC’s towers remained, and OMG had a staggering 8,600 gold lead.
To finish the game off, OMG baited TNC into contesting the second lord and picked off the Clint near the purple buff.
Sensing blood in the water, TNC marched down the middle lane instead of killing the lord and caught Benthings’ Chou in the process. With two heroes on the sidelines, OMG locked onto TNC’s base and took game two in a convincing fashion.
Raizen’s Karina took the MVP award for game two, finishing with a 2/0/3 stat line.
A change of pace
OMG opted for an unconventional pick in Kadita for E2MAX in the pivotal third game of the series. While Kadita is not a new pick in MPL, she is usually paired with a Johnson for their combo potential.
Raizen’s Karina also returned after her successful showing in game two.
TNC countered with Benthings’ Franco to disrupt Karina’s early game. They also took Beatrix for Yasuwo and Yve for Escalera to quickly burst down the heroes Benthings catched with Franco’s Iron Hook.
Game three saw more ganks and teamfights than the previous two, starting with the first turtle of the game.
Renzio’s Thamuz and Ch4knu’s Grock immediately focused down SDzyz’s Balmond, allowing Raizen’s Karina to finish him off. With TNC’s core out of the picture, OMG took a three-for-one exchange and the first turtle of the game.
Playing from behind to start the game, TNC tried to play around their Franco’s Iron Hooks, but the Grock’s timely Power of Nature turned the tide on the Franco for two consecutive gank attempts.
Kramm’s effective early game with his Esmeralda helped turn things around for TNC, grabbing a double kill in the middle lane and destroying OMG’s middle lane towers.
Sensing the shift in momentum, OMG challenged TNC’s attempt on the first lord.
Unfortunately for OMG, they immediately lost the Kadita, and the ensuing teamfight happened inside the Yve’s Real World Manipulation field. OMG’s heroes melted from TNC’s burst damage, allowing Esmeralda to finish them off.
Kramm picked up another double kill to cap off a four-for-one exchange in favor of TNC that also allowed them to grab the first lord of the game.
TNC’s lead grew to 3,000 gold after 14 minutes of action, with the second seed taking control of the entire map from that point on.
After an action-packed 15 minutes, TNC slowed the game down and kept OMG in their base, utilizing the second lord to destroy all of OMG’s remaining towers and increase their gold lead further to 7,800.
Not wanting to let TNC take the third lord for free, OMG engaged TNC in the bottom lane. Esmeralda and Balmond isolated Kadita and Karina in quick succession, taking them both out.
With only three heroes remaining, OMG tried to retreat to their base, hoping that TNC would take the lord and give OMG a chance to defend.
Instead, TNC ignored the lord and chased down each retreating OMG heroes one by one before destroying OMG’s base to take a commanding 2-1 series lead.
Kramm won the MVP honors for game two with a 5/0/4 performance from his Esmeralda.
TNC leave no doubts as they secure upper bracket finals berth
With their backs against the wall in game four, OMG opened their draft with Masha, Angela, and Cecillion, focusing on their late game scalability. They also chose Raizen’s Barats as their core and Kelra’s Claude as their marksman.
TNC countered with an Esmeralda to limit Angela’s shields during Heartguard. They also took Benthings’ Franco again to protect their Ling from a Franco counter pick and disrupt Raizen’s farm. Escalera also took the Eudora to help burst down the Angela as soon as possible.
With the upper bracket final at their fingertips, TNC left no doubts.
The second seed immediately took control of the early game, taking the first turtle of the game and harassing Barats’s farm. SDzyz’s early lead on Raizen allowed TNC to take control of the game’s momentum.
By the 6-minute mark, Yasuwo’ Brody started joining Franco and Eudora in taking fights around the map.
TNC’s confidence only grew as their gold lead grew, even limiting OMG’s movements throughout the map using the threat of stuns and burst damage from the Eudora and Franco.
TNC took a 6,600 gold lead heading into the first lord of the game.
As the gold lead widened, OMG’s chances of coming back dwindled. The stun-and-burst trio held their ground in the middle lane bush, keeping the threat of instantly bursting down unsuspecting heroes in the back of OMG’s minds.
After the first lord of the game, TNC’s gold lead shot up to 10,500.
OMG tried to soak the burst damage using Masha’s multiple health bars along with the Barats’ innate tankiness, but TNC did not commit to team fights unless they hooked the target they wanted.
TNC took down two more lords to ensure the win, taking down all of OMG’s towers with the first and ending the game with the second.
Unfortunately for OMG, their late game heroes never reached their timings as TNC’s 15100 gold lead was too much to overcome.
TNC did not give up a single objective to OMG in their dominant crescendo, taking down all of the towers, turtles, and lords in game four.
Benthings did Ben things once again, winning the match-clinching game four MVP award with a 3/0/9 performance from his Franco.
With their victory, TNC advance to the upper bracket final on 30 April, where they will face first seed RSG Philippines for the first spot in the grand finals.
Meanwhile, OMG drop to the lower bracket and will next face ONIC Philippines to keep their playoff hopes alive.