After unleashing a Tankcelot pick for Wise in their sweep against Smart Omega yesterday, Blacklist International is now facing the regular season's top seed, Bren Esports, who is one of the most fearsome team not just in the MPL Philippines but also in the international scene. Will Blacklist continue with their UBE line up against a team that swept them twice in the regular season, or will they change their strategy to cope with this stronger version of Bren? Can Bren continue to completely read and dominate Blacklist even in the playoffs?
It was no surprise that Fanny was banned as Blacklist faced against Kyletzy as well as Wanwan and Kaja while Bren focused on Edward’s hero pool Arlott and Joy and a headache Faramis for the Queen. Bren prioritized a Valentina pick for Pheww while Blacklist answered with an Yve and a Gloo. A comfort pick Lancelot for Kyletzy as well as a steal for Wise and a Claude deny for Owl, while Blacklist picked a Fredrinn. An uncommon draft for Bren as they went for a utility roam, Floryn, instead of setter tank while Blacklist went for their classic UBE Estes line up with a Karrie gold lane to shred through the highly mobile line up of Bren.
Blacklist started with an unusual early game rotation, as Yue went to the Exp lane instead of the Mid lane to gain level 2 and score a first blood on Flaptzy. The early game was a disaster for Bren, as Blacklist got 7 kills and had a 7-thousand gold lead in just 9 minutes. A 3-minute-long Lord dance was initiated by Blacklist, but Bren anticipated this and let Super Marco split push the Exp lane, taking down an inhibitor turret in exchange for the Lord. By 17 minutes, another Lord dance was initiated by Blacklist. They took down 3 members of Bren, almost ending the game if not for Kyletzy's clear wave. Blacklist then took the Lord. With the Lord marching down the midlane, Blacklist secured their very first win against their Season 11 nemesis, Bren Esports.
Bren knew that the draft had to change for their second match against Blacklist International. This time, Blacklist had the advantage of the first pick and they chose Yve, while Bren answered with Faramis and Lapu-Lapu. Blacklist then imitated their draft from the first game by selecting Estes, Fredrinn, and Beatrix for Bren. In the second pick phase, Blacklist surprised everyone with Terizla and Claude to complete their draft, and Kyletzy went for his comfort pick of Hayabusa.
Blacklist did not repeat their game 1 early game rotation against this version of Bren. While they were able to secure all three turtles, Bren's smart trades kept the gold count from diverging too much. At 9 minutes, Blacklist forced to take Bren's outermost middle tower, but Bren's magnificent engage and Master Owgwen's miraculous Wild Charge saved their tower and earned them a triple kill. After taking their first Lord, Blacklist was able to dominate Bren, but Bren did not falter and was able to defend and even trade back, extending the game indefinitely. By 23 minutes, Bren was able to secure their first Lord after their minions saved their base.
Despite Bren's offensive with super minions, Blacklist was able to bounce back and took down three key targets: Kyletzy, Pheww, and Super Marco. Although Pheww immediately respawned, Bren lacked the firepower to clear the minion waves and Blacklist forced their way to Bren's base, taking the series to match point. Blacklist International secured their second win against Bren Esports.
Bren respected Blacklist's first pick in the previous game and banned Yve. Blacklist let Joy go and immediately picked Valentina and Gloo, while Bren answered with Karrie and Fredrinn. Blacklist went for another Claude as it was phenomenal in the previous game. In the second pick phase, Blacklist prioritized Lolita to minimize the threat of Karrie, while Bren once again chose Floryn and Lapu-Lapu making their Joy a midlane pick for Pheww. To finalize Blacklist's draft, they picked Pharsa, leaving Wise to take on Valentina as a jungler.
Game number three was a different story. Bren was finally able to secure all three turtles and a Lord for the first time in the series. With this advantage, they were able to snowball to a 7-thousand gold lead by 12 minutes. Bren was also able to freely secure their second Lord and marched it down the Exp lane. However, when OhmyV33NUS engaged with a Noumenon Blast + Flicker on the sieging Bren, he and his team were punished and eliminated three-for-none. With all five members still alive and a Lord to back them up, Bren Esports denied Blacklist International a sweep and extended the series to game number four.
With Bren’s win on game number three, they try to replicate their win conditions just like the previous game, prioritizing on banning comfort heroes of Yue. With this, Joy was taken by Blacklist while Bren went for the Gloo and Faramis combo. Pharsa and Fredrinn were immediately taken by Blacklist while Breatix was secured by Bren. Bren banned 2 heroes of Owl or Blacklist banned 2 heroes of Owgwen. A Floryn was once again picked by Bren but a Moskov and an Estes finalized the draft of Blacklist while a Baxia to finalize the draft of Bren Esports.
Game number four was a story of its own. Blacklist International was very aggressive early on, securing both the first blood and the first turtle. Despite the aggressiveness of Blacklist, Bren was able to keep up with the gold and even trade back objectives. Blacklist secured the very first lord, and they were able to snowball the gold lead to 5-thousand by the time the second Lord spawned. With their lead, they were able to zone out Bren and freely secure the objective. Just before the Lord crashed into Bren’s base, Kyletzy went down, giving Bren more of a disadvantage. Blacklist hero-locked Bren, killing four, and Bren’s base went down immediately after. Blacklist International went into playoff mode and secured a 3-1 victory against the first seed of the regular season, Bren Esports.
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