by Drew Malihan
MANILA - It was a good present from the Blacklist squad to last year's finals MVP Edward, who celebrates his birthday today.
The present: A win against Bren Esports, tightly wrapped in two.
Defending champions Blacklist International withstand a long, low scoring first game and a all-out second game to put the M2 champs down to wrap Day 2 of MPL Philippines Season 8 Week 3.
Bren went with the usual four except for Malik once again in the gold lane in place of Pheww, while Blacklist fielded the usual five with OhMyV33nus at the captain's seat.
Blacklist and Bren went to to the objective game early on, with both teams getting their farm and push in the first few minutes, ending in a stalemate although Bren gets the first two turtles.
However, the third turtle spelled early doom for Bren as Blacklist took their first main objective as well as getting Malik's Pharsa as well.
Blacklist, with their trio of sustain heroes in Edward's Uranus, OhMyV33nus' Mathilda, and Hadji's Jawhead, proved to be thorns in Bren's side as their tenacity were enough to even wiped them up for a comfortable lord take and clear waves from the base itself.
Bren was forced to defend from the base as Wise stayed near the Bren base to scout the opponents while the rest of the four took the lord without any challenge.
It took several more minutes for Blacklist to finally engage in a team fight near the Bren base en route to KarlTzy's X.Borg and Ribo's Phoveus demise and Blacklist International getting the long Game 1, 14-4 with OhMyV33nus's 1/1/11 on the Mathilda.
Bren went to a jungle paquito in the second game with the sustain duo of Jawhead and Uranus while banning all potential OhMyV33nus mains, whereas Blacklist went to Phoveus and Alice with the mid lane Beatrix as OMV went with the Diggie.
Bren started strong with the jungle Paquito getting kills with KarlTzy's aggressive playstyle, getting kills and objectives in the early game.
With KarlTzy getting his kills and Blacklist flanking him, this provided space for the rest of the Bren Esports to deal with the objectives and the turrets.
However, a team fight at the top lane proved a bit costly for the world champions as Blacklist get all five Blacklist heroes in a minute, concluding with a Malik takedown after a chase.
Bren bounced back and secured the lord after a minute, bringing the team to a slim advantage.
Another team fight has engaged, again falling to Blacklist's favor as they take down KarlTzy en route to a mid lane push, exposing Bren's base.
From there, it was all Blacklist as the damage output of Bren isn't enough to take down Blacklist sustain heroes, with all Bren heroes falling one by one leaving Malik to defend against all five Blacklist members to a 2-0 win.
Blacklist spoils KarlTzy's 11/3/2 performance as Hadji went with a 7/2/7 KDA and OhMyV33nus' 0/3/14 with the Diggie.
The defending champs will try to extend their streak against ONIC Philippines on Sunday while Bren will hunt for win number 2 against RSG Philippines, both on Sunday.
Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan