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The Dugout PH's M5 World Championship review

Photo from Moonton

by Drew Malihan

One week removed from the glitz and glory of the M5 World Championship, fans and esports enthusiasts have still the post M-Series syndrome lingering, and it is evident in the community on various platforms, from Facebook and Instagram, to forums in Reddit.

Perhaps it is best to look back at what's hitting and what's not during the entire two-week affair in the country's capital, as 16 of the best Mobile Legends teams in the world competed, but with the Filipinos getting the coveted fourth championship for the MPL Philippines delegation.

Tournament to remember for AP.Bren

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It was AP.Bren's crowning glory in the finals of M5 as they went through the lower bracket and eventually take their former tormentors ONIC Esports to a full best-of-seven series, with Angelo "Pheww" Arcangel and his team emerging as the ones better than great.

AP.Bren's journey in the Group Stage was a relatively breeze, without conceding a single game to Burmese Ghouls, Team Flash, and wildcard participants Team Lilgun to claim the top seed.

Fans will remember the Hive's unbeaten run until the yellow porcupines swept them down to the lower bracket, before going back against the favorites in the grand finals after an all-Filipino lower bracket finals matchup between them and Blacklist International.

Joining the exclusive company

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Pheww and M5 Finals MVP David "FlapTzy" Canon will be etched into the history books of the MLBB esports scene as they claimed the elusive title for the second time in their careers.

The two were part of the M2 winning lineup to end the 2020 MLBB Esports calendar, joining former teammate and now ECHO jungler Karl "KarlTzy" Nepomuceno as the only two-time winners of the M-Series.

It is also another exclusive club for FlapTzy as he joins Eko "Oura" Julianto, KarlTzy, Kiel "Oheb" Soriano, and Benedict "Bennyqt" Gonzales as the Finals MVPs.

HomeBois' tournament to forget

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Touted as one of the top five bets to win the championship with the way the team performed during the ONE Esports MPL Invitational last November, Malaysian champs HomeBois were given a reality check on how different the World Championships are as they did not made it past the group stage

Going into the more favorable Group D, the Malaysian side defeated Indonesian runners-up Geek Fam but has suffered two huge 2-1 upsets over  Deus Vult and TheOhioBrothers.

In the current meta where gold laners typically were assigned to do the carry role to the latter parts of the game, Wahyu "Raizel" Saputra was one of the constant targets of their opponents, having the second lowest KDA (2.60) as well as the most average deaths (3.13) of all gold laners who played in all three series.

Dishonorable mentions to Brazil champs RRQ Akira and HomeBois' compatriots Team SMG.

All-time highs for Cambodia and Europe

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M5 did not fail to give us surprises, and they came in two packages: Cambodian representatives See You Soon and Eastern Europe and Central Asia champs Deus Vult.

The Cambodian champions did what they should do and get out of the group stage in 2-1, with the only loss a 2-0 beatdown from ONIC where they showed promise.

They even went to clinch the highest-ever finish for a Cambodian side when they swept Burmese Ghouls in comfortable fashion before going out as 5th-6th placers in a 3-2 classic against Deus Vult.

And speaking of the Europeans, they too achieved the best finish for any European representative as they finished fourth place.

Qualifying through Group D, including a shocker against HomeBois, Kenneth "FlySolo" Coloma's boys defeated fellow fark horses Fire Flux Esports before going down to the lower bracket at the hands of ONIC in three long games.

Breakout player: KidBomba

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And of course, we'll give a virtual award to the young man who became the star of the show for Deus Vult.

Mathaios "KidBomba" Chatzilakos came into the tournament without much fanfare but has became one of the winning conditions for Deus Vult, with surprise sets from the EXP Laner becoming key plays for the team en route to a top four finish.

His outspoken aura, as well as his post-game antics, captivated lots of fans in and out of the arena and became the unofficial spokesperson of the team, showing that Europe deserves their own spotlight in a SEA-heavy MLBB scene.

The streets won't forget him, that's for sure.

Best series of the tournament

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The M5 World Championship also showed us hard-hitting MLBB action with some games putting us at the edge out our seats.

There's some serious contenders on this one before the grand finals, including HomeBois versus Deus Vult, TheOhioBrothers versus HomeBois, and two playoff matches in Deus Vult versus See You Soon, and ONIC Esports versus Blacklist International.

But nothing pales in comparison to the eventual Grand Final showdown between ONIC Esports and AP.Bren, where the Hive clinched a commanding 3-1 lead before ONIC forced a Game 7.

The series showed us the battle of the S-tier mages in Pheww and Gilang "SANZ," the battle of the two silent killers in Calvin "CW" Winata and Marco "Super Marco" Requitiano, and the mind games between coaches Francis "Ducky" Glindro and Denver "Yeb" Miranda.

All-M5 Mythical Teams and Coaches

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I decided to make three mythical teams for all the players involved in the two-week affair in Manila, and perhaps this is the one that is hardest to make given that it's not easy to put three massive all-star fives with more talented players being left out.

This list will be more of a subjective one based on how I see them perform during the course of the tournament, from the group stages to the grand final, while also considering their in-game performances and statistics throughout the tournament.

All-M5 First Team:
Michael Angelo "KyleTzy" Sayson (APBR)
Marco Stephen "Super Marco" Requitiano (APBR)
David Charles "FlapTzy" Canon (APBR)
Gilang "SANZ" (ONIC)
Nicky Fernando "Kiboy" Pontonuwu (ONIC)

All-M5 Second Team:
Kairi "Kairi" Rayosdelsol (ONIC)
Calvin "CW" Winata (ONIC)
Edward Jay "Edward" Dapadap (BLCK)
Angelo Kyle "Pheww" Arcangel (APBR)
Rowgien Stimpson "Owgwen" Unigo (APBR)

All-M5 Third Team:
Michael "MP The King" Endino (SYS)
Kiel "Oheb" Soriano (BLCK)
Mathaios Panagiotis "KidBomba" Chatzilakos (DEVU)
Ahmet Taha "Rosa" Batir (FF)
Renejay "Renejay" Barcase (BLCK)

Coach of the Tournament: Kenneth "FlySolo" Coloma (DEVU)

Follow him on X: @drew_corner

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