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    Work Auster Force, Aura PH prevail over rivals in Day 1 battle of dark horses

    May 27, 2021

    DAY 1 of the Mobile Legends Professional League Season 7 playoffs revealed two contrasting outcomes.

    In the battle of two of the league’s dark horses in the lower bracket matchup, Work Auster Force capitalized on Nexplay’s poor drafting prowess, securing a comfortable 3-1 series victory.

    The series could have been a shutout if Work Auster Force’s inexperience was exposed in the dying minutes of Game 1. Individual players were caught in the wrong positions — leading to Nexplay’s comeback victory.

    But the rookie team redeemed themselves in Game 2 by dominating Nexplay within 12 minutes, courtesy of the setups from Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico and Dylan Aaron “Unravel” Catipon. Nexplay’s lineup lacked any early game presence, which made things easier for Work Auster Force.

    Following that victory, it seemed Work Auster Force would bite themselves with the same Game 1 mistakes. But it was Nexplay were the ones who ultimately paid the price as Frediemar “3MarTzy” Serafico’s Benedetta completely outplayed them, resulting in the team’s Game 3 triumph.

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    While the spotlight was placed on 3MarTzy in Game 3, his teammate Clarence Jay “Kousei” Camilo took centerstage in the decider. His Esmeralda was the final nail in Nexplay’s playoff hopes, since none of their heroes were capable of bursting the Astrologer.

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    This series likewise marked the first time Kousei played Chou and Shemaiah Daniel “Chuuu” Chu deployed his Ling in the professional scene, underscoring their playoff unpredictability.

    While the match between the dark horse favorites was a one-sided affair, the next series was a grinding test of mental fortitude, in which Aura PH outlasted Omega in five games.

    Game 1 lasted for 46 minutes, a record this season, where both teams exchanged blows left and right. Aura tried to finish the game in the 24th and 45th minute when Ashley Marco “Killuash” Cruz attempted to pull off a surprising cheesy backdoor play, but this was ultimately thwarted. In the end Omega made a counterattack in the dying minutes of the match, securing their victory.

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    While the 1st game was a neck-in-neck battle, the second game was pure domination from Aura as Killuash’s Phoveus made its official debut and became a crucial piece in their success. His area-of-effect damage, combined with Frederic Benedict “Bennyqt” Gonzales’ Harith and Allen Jedric “Greed” Baloy’s Natalia, was too much for Omega as they struggled to engage in teamfights.

    This forced Omega to make adjustments in Game 3, where they managed to stand toe-to-toe with Aura with their zonal lineup of Popol and Kupa, Pharsa, and Baxia, but their efforts weren’t enough as Aura survived their onslaught and secured a Game 3 win. Their victory forced Omega to execute their pocket gameplan by unleashing a Gloo, Kaja, and Bane combo — a decisive force in slowing down Aura’s Game 4 momentum in game 4.

    Like the previous matches, the final game was another nail-biting affair. It seemed Omega could pull-off the victory after destroying all of Aura’s tier-3 towers, but Jaymark Aaron “Lord Hadess” Lazaro’s Ling made clutch plays by the tail end of the match, leading Aura into the the next round.

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    The match lasted more than 30 minutes.

    Amid their loss, Omega could still salvage their playoff hopes in the lower bracket, where they’ll be facing the winner of the match between Execration and Onic PH.

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