Still looking to regain their momentum with the new shade of black, the current M3 champs are looking to win this series against the Phoenix Squad. Coming from a win just last night against Blacklist's archenemy since MPL-S8, TNC is looking to secure the Top 2 spot with the hopes of gaining the upper hand in the playoffs in the tournament. Who will win as the current champions of MPL goes head-to-head against the young and rising phoenixes of TNC?
It felt like a classic Benthings game when TNC first-picked Franco against Blacklist International. Seemingly stunting the UBE strategy that the team is known for, the opposing team banned Diggie and Rafaela with the intention of crippling DEX STAR. The strategy really worked, with SDzyz's Ling being able to roam freely around the map, even stealing two (2) lord objectives from the current champions. However, it is as if Blacklist International was unfazed despite not having a healer in their arsenal. It felt like a replay of MPL-S8 when the team stomped on everyone else using the Ultimate Bonding Experience strategy. Despite Benthings' best effort landing the Iron Hook, Blacklist International was quick to respond, nullifying the pickoff potential of their opponent. Led by the Filipino Sniper and the KDA Machine in the damage department, Blacklist proved to the young team that experience is of utmost importance in this tournament. Blacklist International takes game #1.
It was an unorthodox Miya pick coming from Oheb that shocked everyone as most of his other heroes were still open. In the early stages, Oheb was not getting picked off and that was their strategy—to extend it to the later stages of the game when TNC will fall off. True enough, it proved to be effective, with DEX STAR and Hadji mainly rotating around the gold lane, they were able to take the majority of the early game. It was Benthings that turned the tides against the current champions. With his impeccable timing on his playmaking, TNC was able to get important kills in the mid game that resulted in objectives later on. Despite being in awkward positions in the early stages, they were able to get trades from the other side of the map. TNC shows Blacklist International just why they are the Top 2 team in the tournament, taking Game #2.
Hot off the win from the 2nd game, TNC looks to continue their momentum against Blacklist International. Everyone is looking at Hadji, getting his championship hero, Chou. They started out strong, delaying the opposing jungler, SDzyz, securing jungle camp invades. However, it is as if it was a replay from the 2nd game, where Benthings was able to make plays that resulted in kills that are converted into objectives. Despite the double tank setup of Blacklist, TNC was unfazed, bursting everyone that stood against their way. The heavy late game composition of their opposing team was a weakness that the youngsters capitalized on. In fact, at some point, Blacklist was rendered helpless; being unable to secure kills against their opponents. This game-winning set of Benthings, alongside other exquisite plays throughout the game, helped secure the team's victory against the world champions.
What seemed to be a win from the veteran team has been stunted as the young team remained calm and disciplined. The Phoenix Squad rose as it burned the current champions to the ground, TNC took the game and the series, 2-1.
GAME 1 (23:31) - TNC 11 (L); BLCK 21 (W)
GAME 2 (16:29) - BLCK 5 (L); TNC 16 (W)
GAME 3 (14:36) - BLCK 2 (L); TNC 14 (W)