The ONE Esports Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Pro League Invitational (MPLI) is heading into its final weekend (5- 6 December)!
The eight remaining teams will be facing off in the Quarterfinals on Saturday to determine the four squads that will advance to Sunday. Each team has their eyes on the championship and the right to be called the best MLBB team in the world.
Read on for a preview of the Quarterfinal matches and Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s prediction for which teams will advance to the final day of the MPLI:
Todak vs Geek Fam ID
The Quarterfinals will kick off with a match between Todak, the sole remaining representative for MPL MY/SG, and Geek Fam ID, the team that has surprisingly emerged as the dark horse of the tournament.
As the MPL MY/SG champions, Todak were directly seeded into the Quarterfinals, which should have given them ample opportunity to watch Geek Fam tear through Bigetron Alpha and Blacklist International in back-to-back 2-0 sweeps in the preliminary rounds.
Todak knows Geek Fam shouldn’t be underestimated, despite fielding a roster of rookies and players who a season ago were playing in the org’s development team.
In that same vein, Geek Fam should hold an appropriate amount of respect for Todak. While they are arguably the weakest of the four regional champions in MPLI, they still are champions, and ones that cleanly swept MPL MY/SG last season to boot.
Geek Fam utilised two-fighter strategies to dispatch of Bigetron and Blacklist, something they will surely try again to test the mettle of the MPL MY/SG champions. Todak should be able to handle such a composition, though Geek Fam may have other tricks up their sleeve ready to rattle an unsuspecting opponent.
What could be the deciding factor in this match is the fact that Todak will be testing out two new players — Vins and Momo —for MPLI, with Xray out and Stoo shifted to being the team’s unofficial coach.
It remains to be seen whether those player switches will have a significant effect on Todak’s chemistry, though it is a possible vulnerability that a hungry Geek Fam squad can exploit.
It should be a close, hard-fought series, though we expect Geek Fam’s momentum will prove too much for a Todak squad that is still in the process of adjusting to a revamped roster.
Prediction: Todak 2-1 Geek Fam ID
RRQ Hoshi vs Alter Ego
Up next will be a marquee matchup between the two of the top three teams in the MPLI, MPL ID champions Rex Regum Qeon (RRQ) Hoshi and runners-up Alter Ego.
RRQ entered the MPLI as the clear favourites with a direct seed to the quarterfinals, having notched three-straight championships this year at the MPLI 4 Nation Cup and in MPL ID Seasons 5 and 6.
Thanks to their vaunted core of Lemon, Vynnn, and R7, RRQ are looking absolutely dominant and anything less than a finals appearance here will be a disappointment for them.
Opposing the MPL ID champions is the team they narrowly defeated to earn their crown, Alter Ego. With their own star-studded core of Celiboy, Ahmad, and Udil breezed through EVOS Legends and Genflix Aerowolf to set up this anticipated rematch of the MPL ID Season 6 Finals.
There’s not much separation between these two teams, as evidenced by their last meeting in the MPL ID Season 6 Finals which went to a full five games. This should be another close affair, though we’ll have to give the edge to RRQ Hoshi.
Considering how familiar these squads are with each other by now, whoever can better adjust to their opponent’s strategies should emerge victorious.
Alter Ego mostly ran highly-aggressive line-ups in their two series so far in MPLI, though they have mixed it up by opting for push-heavy strats as well.
RRQ should have counters ready for whatever their opponent throw at them, though for star-studded teams such as them execution can still make a huge difference. In addition, RRQ has shown they can thrive in these high-pressure matches while Alter Ego faltered against them.
You wouldn’t want to miss this one. Not only will these two juggernauts provide some prime entertainment, but it’s also a good bet that whoever emerges victorious from this series could very well take home the championship.
Prediction: RRQ Hoshi 2-1 Alter Ego
Burmese Ghouls vs Ronin Esports
The third Quarterfinal match will see MPL MM champions Burmese Ghouls take on a familiar opponent in Ronin Esports.
This may be the most lopsided matchup of the Quarterfinals. Burmese Ghouls have absolutely dominated MPL MM, winning four out of five championships in the last five seasons.
For that fourth title, the Burmese Ghouls swept Ronin Esports in the Upper Bracket Final, 2-0, and in the Grand Finals, 3-0.
Ronin had to run the gauntlet just to force this rematch, grinding out 2-1 upsets over Execration and EVOS SG in the preliminary rounds. All the while, Burmese Ghouls would have had ample time to prepare for an opponent they have already handled before.
Ronin Esports had to rely on unorthodox drafts to get through Execration and EVOS SG, and there’s no reason for them to stop doing so against their biggest opponent thus far.
With that said, it may not work against a team that has faced them so many times before.
This should be an easy win for the Burmese Ghouls, and while Ronin can still surprise them, we doubt it will be enough to pull off another upset.
Prediction: Burmese Ghouls 2-0 Ronin Esports
Bren Esports vs Aura PH
The penultimate day of the MPLI will wrap up with an all-Filipino slugfest between MPL PH champions Bren Esports and regional rivals Aura PH.
Bren earned a direct seed to the Quarterfinal after winning MPL PH Season 6, where they were able to finally break their playoff curse from previous seasons and raise a championship.
They entered MPLI as arguably the second-best team in the tournament, and the Philippines’ best hope to win an international title.
Facing Bren will be an Aura PH squad looking to recapture the magic that won them MPL PH Seasons 4 and 5.
While Aura PH is certainly a formidable opponent, it’s still a very favourable matchup for Bren. After all, Aura PH fell apart in MPL PH Season 6 despite winning the past two seasons.
And while both teams are surely gunning to win the MPLI, they will also be fighting for the right to call themselves the best Filipino MLBB team. Things will surely get heated.
This will be a battle between two star duos; with KarlTzy and FlapTzy leading the way for Bren while Bennyqt and Hadess anchor Aura PH.
Bennyqt and Hadess have been a revelation for Aura PH in their victories over Aurafire ID and ONIC PH in the preliminary rounds, forming a strong one-two punch to dominate the early game. Aura PH has shown they don’t have to solely rely on their star duo as well, pulling out a tri-core setup to run over ONIC PH. That versatility will come in handy against an opponent as loaded as Bren.
Meanwhile, Bren’s unstoppable ‘Tzy’ duo fuel their dominance, as either player can easily take over a game if left unchecked. Opponents will have to pick their poison when choosing which Tzy to focus their attention on. But like Aura, Bren isn’t all about their stars. Veterans Ribo and Lusty, as well as support captain Pheww, have shown they can be game changers in the past.
Bren should be able to dispatch of Aura PH, though we can see the latter steal a game away with another unorthodox draft.
Even so, this match is Bren’s to lose.
After all, they arguably have the easiest path to the finals. If they can get past Aura PH, then either Burmese Ghouls or Ronin Esports — both teams they hold a clear edge against — await them in the next round. Things are falling into place for Bren, now they just have to take care of business.
Prediction: Bren Esports 2-1 Aura PH
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