IT WAS THE much-awaited clash between the top two teams of Season 9. Previously, ECHO PH prevailed in a grinding 2-1 series win. But while this encounter could have ended with a near sweep for the Orcas, they ended up caving to TNC’s resilience, who turned the tables and took the series, 2-1.
The series was basically a masterclass from the ECHO’s sidelane duo and MPL’s I-I-Idolo, as they smothered the Phoenix in Game 1 and the early stages of Game 2.
But from the ashes rises the Phoenix.
TNC outsmarts ECHO’s brute force antics
While Game 1 was TNC scrambling from ECHO’s 5-man group-ups, the same could be said in Game 2.
ECHO PH dominated the early game, where Tristan “Yawi” Cabrera was the usual pest. In the early game, he commanded the entire map with his Natalia, to the point where he weakened the sidelanes and the rotations from the Phoenix.
Then, when it came to teamfights, TNC had no answer for Frederic “Bennyqt” Gonzales’ engagements.
As TNC realized that they stood no chance in 5-v-5 faceoffs, they learned to outmaneuver the Orcas.
Seeing that ECHO loved to group up and their lineup wasn’t meant to clear Lords right away, TNC capitalized on this loophole in the 18th minute. Where it seemed that TNC’s chances to victory were slim, they decided to send Mark Genzon “Kramm” Sojero Rusiana as the bait in the Lord pit to serve as a distraction to ECHO PH.
Meanwhile, the other members from TNC were pushing the toplane.
With a Kimmy at their disposal, TNC easily pushed the toplane turret and went for the GG push, which became their final prayer en route to a Game 2 win.
And while they struggled at the early stages in Games 1 and 2, TNC bounced back in Game 3. Even as ECHO secured heroes who have been benefitted from the recent patch such as Hylos and Grock, TNC kept them from their key picks.
Jomarie “Escalera” Delos Santos snatched the Natalia away from Yawi, and with that, denied the jungle away from ECHO PH.
Ben Seloe “Benthings” Maglaque ended up surprising ECHO with his sudden engagements. But besides invading ECHO’s jungle, TNC also made crucial laning adjustments. With the recent patch making Grock more vulnerable to magic damage, the Phoenix decided to lane the Esmeralda on the rock giant.
A strong early game snowballed all the way to the late game, and things started spiraling downward on the 15th minute. TNC outplayed ECHO’s flicker and Wild Charge combo, leading to a momentous counterattack, and, most importantly, a Game 3 win.
Their victory has given them 21 points, behind ECHO's 22 points.