THE REMATCH of the MPL-PH Season 10 finals saw Blacklist International repeating over their S10 rivals in the M4 upper bracket faceoff.
Taking it all the way to Game 5, both ECHO PH and Blacklist gave their all, but it was Blacklist International who proved that there's no breaking the code.
With a 3-2 series win, the Codebreakers will proceed to the grand finale where they can defend their M-series crown. A successful title defense will make them the first back-to-back M-series champion.
Meanwhile, ECHO PH falls to the lower bracket finals, awaiting the victor of the MPL Indonesia finals rematch between Onic Esports and RRQ Hoshi.
Blacklist slays the Orcas
If Game 1 was a massacre that saw Blacklist stumble with a 21-2, 13-minute catastrophe, Game 2 saw the Codebreakers bounce back.
At the early stages of the game, it was a stalemate as both teams were evenly matched. Blacklist struggled to dominate the early game against the Faramis and Estes combo.
But as the game progressed, Blacklist regained their composure. Kiel "Oheb" Soriano's Beatrix gained key items as the Codebreakers weakened the opposition through Johnmar "OhMyV33nus" Villaluna's Diggie and Salic "Hadji" Imam's Xavier.
With these two heroes, Blacklist was able to time their clashes against Estes and Faramis. Eventually, they deciphered Frederic Benedict "Bennyqt" Gonzales' engagements, and Blacklist was able to avenge their embarassing Game 1 loss.
In Game 3, Blacklist crumpled against Karl "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno's Fredrinn and Sanford "SanFord" Vinuya's Joy. The added sustain from Alston "Sanji" Pabico led to ECHO's Game 3 win.
But with Blacklist in the brink of defeat, the Codebreakers opted to change their tactics as they banned KarlTzy's Fredrinn. This forced the Prodigy to go back to his assassin roots with his Ling pick.
KarlTzy was calculated with his setups as he waited for the right moments to strike. With a lineup consisting of crowd control experts like Grock and heroes with slow effects like Harith, he had the keys to snipe key members.
But even if the M2 champion had a good start, Blacklist was able to respond well as Oheb was able to burst down turrets with his Karrie.
Oheb's damage output mounted as ECHO struggled to engage. KarlTzy's strong start was shut down by Oheb and Edward "Edward" Jay Dapadap's Lapu-Lapu.
Even Frederic Benedict "Bennyqt" Gonzales was unable to find an opening against the pain being dished from Salic "Hadji" Imam's Valentina.
ECHO did find ways to catch Oheb, but Hadji was there to calm the storm. Finally, a desperate ECHO tried Bennyqt's backdoor play, but he was denied, taking Blacklist and ECHO to Game 5.
Right from the get-go in the final match, Blacklist went in guns blazing with their signature UBE strat. Edward's Gloo became a pesky presence in ECHO's side. Even with SanFord wielding his signature Joy pick, Blacklist simply toyed around him as the pieces slowly crumbled for the Orcas.
Tristan "Yawi" Cabrera's setups and Bennyqt's damage outburst kicked a little life into a moribund ECHO, but Blacklist withstood any engagements from both Yawi and KarlTzy to seal the deal and book that finals ticket.