AMONG THE teams that dueled their way through the ranks for a chance to win the coveted Mobile Legends Professional League Season 7 trophy and a trip to the Mobile Legends Southeast Asian Cup, it was Blacklist International that shined above everyone else.
In the first two games of the intense finals that went all the way to Game 7, it seemed Blacklist International would breeze past Execration as they were able to attain their signature heroes, Rafaela and Estes, and the early game objectives.
However, Execration showed their prowess in the latter stages of the match, with their counter-initiation strategy. Both Kiel VJ “Kielvj” Hernandez and rookie sensation Duane “Kelra” Pillas delivered a barrage of area-of-effect damage in every teamfight.
Seeing the need to refine their gameplan, Blacklist decided to shift from a massive healing lineup to a damage-centric build by going for Yve. In the previous games, their supports were easily bursted by Kielvj and Kelra, but Johnmar “OhMyV33nus” Villalona negated their threat by purchasing a Brute Force Breastplate to keep his Yve alive. In the end Blacklist redeemed themselves and secured a Game 3 victory.
While the previous games saw Execration play defensively, Game 4 revealed Execration as the aggressors with their Rafaela, Kagura, and Gloo strategy. They managed to dominate the game and delivered the finishing touches in the 19th minute where the frightening duo of Kielvj and Kelra decimated Blacklist in the final Lord fight.
With the threat of Kielvj and Kelra looming ahead, Blacklist found a way to address their counter-initiation setup.
They drafted Mathilda to surprise Execration in the early game, but most importantly they attained Faramis to deal with Execration’s damage dealing duo. Mark Jayson “ESON” Gerardo’s performance as Faramis made the difference as his Cult Altar ability added more survivability which was crucial in their Game 5 victory.
His performances carried on in Game 6, where his Franco was able to accurately land his hooks which limited Kielvj’s momentum, forcing a Game 7.
With both teams a win away from the championship, they both deployed a hyper aggressive healing strategy. It seemed Blacklist International were destined to win the championship as they won all of their early game skirmishes, but a 14th minute Inhibitor defensive stance by Kelra sparked hope that Execration would once again pull off a signature miracle comeback.
But all of their hopes ended in the 17th minute when Kelra was instantly bursted down, leading to Blacklist’s final push and their very first MPL-PH trophy.
Recapping the lower bracket finals
Nevertheless, credit where credit is due, as Execration slugged through a grueling playoff run against some of the league's toughest teams to arrive at the lower bracket finals against Aura PH.
Joshua “Ch4knu” Mangilog’s Khufra carried on with his heroics from the previous day as his explosive and stealthy setups weakened Aura PH in Game 1.
As the series progressed, it seemed his impact was thwarted by Aura in Game 2 as he struggled to find any room to initiate his abilities.
However, he was able to redeem his rough start in the 16th minute as he spearheaded a miraculous comeback courtesy of his Khufra play combined with Patrick James “E2MAX” Caidic’s clutch flameshots.
It was a back and forth affair afterwards, until the 32nd minute where they confused Aura PH by harassing the Lord and the Inhibitor.
With only one game remaining for Execration, Aura PH desperately tried to mount a reverse sweep. Game 3 was a close encounter between the two teams, but a 12th minute surprise entrance by Kelra became the momentum shifter in favor of Execration, ultimately sweeping Aura PH and giving them their first grand finals berth and their first MSC representation.
Though Execration lost the most important series in their lives, their lower bracket run is one of the most impressive feats in MPL-PH history. They eliminated former runners up, Onic PH, two M2 World Representatives in Bren Esports and Omega, and the two-time champions, Aura PH.