by Drew Malihan
MANILA - Blacklist International bounced back after their loss against Smart Omega as they trounced Nexplay Evos in three games to stay alive in the MPL Philippines Season 8 playoffs.
The defending champs, who reactivated Oheb's active roster status after a two-game suspension, finished the series in combined 50 minutes of game time.
NXPE drafted a Yu Zhong and Claude sidelanes along with a jungle Paquito, roamer Ruby, and Haze's comfort Selena. while Blacklist went for Yve, Harith, Chou, Thamus, and a jungle Karina.
Nexplay went to get a good start, eventually getting the middle lane turret and early kills to OhMyV33nus, but Edward's Thamus kept Renejay's Yu Zhong from his signature ganks.
With the midlaners getting their farm and items in the mid part of the game, Blacklist International started flanking in the top lane, negating Hesa's late game potential with the rest of the Blacklist members in the bottom lane joining for the signature team up strategy.
With the only lord contested in the game falling at the hands of Renejay, Oheb led a fightback that secures him a triple kill, leaving Yawi and Hesa to fend off a Blacklist swarm.
A Renejay shot call fell into disarray for NXPE as he was caught inside Yve's Real World Manipulation from OhMyV33nus, and with a four-man knockdown, leaving YellyHaze's Selena to defend but to no avail as they finish 16-10 for a 1-0 lead with Oheb's Harith's 4/1/1 leading the team.
Nexplay Evos went with the same picks as Game 1 but replaced the YellyHaze hero from Selena to Yve, while Blacklist went with their comforts Lapu-lapu, Rafaela, Yi Sun-shin, and Chou to pair with Oheb's Natan.
NXPE started well in the kill department, getting pickoffs mainly against Hadji and OhMyV33nus, eventually getting three turtles, but Blacklist keeps the map in their control as they keep their turrets up to the late game as compared to Nexplay who were left with four.
With the economy and the lord falling into Blacklist's favor, they went to topple two turrets despite a 1-4 kill deficit thanks to Oheb's Natan's double-lane tactic and Edward's Lapu-lapu negating Renejay once more.
A second lord went into Blacklist once more and it spelled doom for Nexplay as the defending champs showed an objective-first masterclass despite a low-scoring 4-3 to give Blacklist a 2-0 lead led by Hadji's 0/2/3 KDA and Edward's 0/0/0.
Nexplay still went with the Paquito but now in Renejay's hands with Pharsa, Lancelot, Akai, and Claude, while Blacklist went into Game 3 with a core Aldous, Rafaela, Chou, Thamus, and Natan.
Blacklist went on to get the upper hand from the get-go in both economy and kill department, eventually gapping off the lead from the sidelaners Edward and Oheb.
A comfortable lord take by Blacklist International went well for the defending champs as they also clipped Renejay later in the game and Edward escaping the rest of the Nexplay squad, avoiding a potential pickoff.
Another lord take went into Blacklist's favor and even clipped down H2WO, forcing NXPE to retreat immediately but Blacklist's damage and sustain were enough to weather the Nexplay defense and do thw tower lock to complete the sweep, 10 to 6, led by Edward's 2/0/5 performance.
Blacklist International will proceed to the lower bracket finals and is assured of a sure third place finish and will wait for the loser of the ONIC-Omega match, while Nexplay Evos will end up as fourth place with US$5,000 in their bag.
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