FROM THE dominant performances from Blacklist International and EVOS Legends, to Ramellanatics rampaging social media, the Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2021 group stages were already jam-packed with talking points and storylines.
And as the playoffs are approaching, the stakes are slowly rising and questions are beginning to surface.
Of course, the biggest one is: Who will finally reign as MSC 2021 champions?
But there are others that are worth pondering as well. Let’s stop and think about them.
The MSC playoffs kick off tomorrow, 11 June.
Is Blacklist International unstoppable?
There’s no denying that Blacklist International are dictating the current Mobile Legends landscape.
Their so-called “ultimate bonding experience” or “UBE” strategy has dominated the scene and teams have clearly struggled to deal with it.
During the MPL-PH Season 7 finale, Execration tried numerous attempts to thwart their antics — from their counter-initiation setup to Ch4knu’s sudden Hylos pick — but Blacklist merely ended up adapting to their methodologies.
In the group stages, Bigetron Alpha deployed a counterattacking strategy, which was easily dissected by the codebreakers.
Given the effectiveness of their approach, other teams in the MSC tried replicating their tactics, only for them to fall short as they lacked a deeper understanding of the UBE strategy.
As masters of the UBE strategy, it seems Blacklist are destined to win the MSC, but teams might have a hidden trump card in dealing with their tactics. We’ll just have to wait to see if there’s a kryptonite to their dominance.
Ch4knu vs. LJ: Who is the better tank?
If the football world has Messi vs. Ronaldo, then the Mobile Legends scene is finally blessed with the much awaited mano-y-mano spectacle between Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog and Joshua “LJ” Darmansyah. Both of their respective teams will meet each other in the upper bracket playoff rounds.
Both are known for their explosive setups and their tactical prowess, but most importantly, both are considered to be the connoisseurs of Khufra.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Khufra becomes the most contested hero in this matchup. But even if that hero gets denied, these two could still unleash their other specialties like Hylos, Jawhead, Akai, Atlas, and others.
This showdown could leave a lasting impression in the history of the Mobile Legends scene, so don’t miss it. Expect highlight reel-driven flicker plays and wombocombos from these two tank masters.
Are “Feeding Diggie” strategies still effective?
Diggie’s 29% win rate, caused by a plethora of disastrous feeding strategies, has been an alarming trend in the MSC 2021 group stages.
The stats reveal that he isn’t the most contested hero. Diggie was only picked 7 times and banned 6 times, far from the 19 picks from Harith and the 28 bans from Jawhead.
This raises the question if Feeding Diggie strategies are still a viable option.
Most teams have already figured out how to deal with this approach. EVOS Legends outclassed Todak by negating this cheese strategy through the use of Hilda.
Other teams like Execration have countered the strategy by relying on a snowballed sidelane.
Given that most teams have already discovered an answer to this nuisance, some teams like IDNS and Blacklist International have opted to go for a conservative approach. Here, Diggie is deployed as a traditional rotational threat or as an early feeder that could transition to anti-crowd control support in teamfights.
Perhaps these are signs that Diggie’s antics have been nerfed, but maybe the best teams are saving it for the playoffs.
Will Bigetron Alpha regain their momentum?
Bigetron Alpha has been one of the biggest surprises in the MSC group stages. As a powerhouse in the MPL-ID scene, some expected them to give Blacklist International a run for their money. However, they were simply outplayed by the MPL-PH champions.
They were expected to breeze past Impunity KH, an underdog team from Cambodia. But the opposite occurred as they lost in a three-game slugfest against their foes.
A key contributor to their lackluster group stage performance stem from the suspension of their captain and star player, Jabran “Branz” Bagus Wiloko, due to a violation of the organization’s community protocol.
His exile forced some members of the squad to make massive adjustments. Hengky “Kyy” Gunawan was forced to switch to either a tank/support or a core role, while Deven “Renbo” Markos had to transition from core to support.
But their latest outing against Resurgence SG revealed that the team was able to address their chemistry issues by redeploying Renbo as a core player.
It’s still unsure if Bigetron has finally found a solution to their problems as their victory over RSG might be viewed as a real life “Pull Yourself Together” emblem. The playoffs will ultimately test if their decision will yield the best results.
How far can Impunity KH go?
As caster Renmar mentioned in Day 2 of the group stages, the Cambodian Mobile Legends scene is currently spearheaded by colleges and universities. His co-caster Rob Luna added that the country has yet to have an MPL tournament.
But even in the sparse desert of that country’s ML scene, Impunity KH punched way above their weight to hit the playoff lower brackets. Their impressive game 2 performance against Blacklist International and their victory over Indonesian powerhouse Bigetron Alpha proved that this team could contend with the best.
But their shaky teamfight setups that they displayed against IDNS likewise revealed that this team might struggle in the clutch moments.
They have already captured the hearts of the Mobile Legends fanbase for their Herculean performances. A deep run will certainly uplift the Cambodian Mobile Legends scene.
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