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How Project NEXT Could Shake Up The MPL

04:29 PM September 24, 2020

On September 22, Moonton dropped patch 1.5.16. Dubbed “Project NEXT,” the update brings a slew of changes to heroes, items, and the game’s meta. Let’s take a look at how some of these changes could shake up the MPL.

Who’s Who? Heroes in Project NEXT

Six heroes received minor and major updates to their kits (as well as their visuals); Alucard, Eudora, Layla, Miya, Saber, and Zilong. Although they will not be available for a week, they could potentially come into play in Weeks 7 and 8. Despite being “basic” heroes that do not see that much pro play, teams could potentially pull a cheesy surprise pick. Watch out for Saber, whose damage output potential has been notably increased, or Eudora, whose Superconductor received some changes that could bump her up in the tier lists.

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With the upcoming changes to the lanes and jungle items/Retribution detailed below, certain heroes could also become viable. Heroes with a lot of ganking power with heavy CC and ample damage can show up for the jungle, and new rotations and lane matchups are sure to debut in both your own ranked games and in pro play.

The Big Meta Shakeup: Battlefield Adjustment and Rotations

Perhaps the biggest changes of the patch come from the changes to lanes. First off, jungling items can now only be bought by heroes who have Retribution equipped. Also, heroes carrying Retribution will receive decreased EXP from lane minions in the first three minutes.  This locks players into a more dedicated “Jungler” role as they have to commit to their build in the early game and farm the jungle minions early, delaying their rotations and ganks. This also changes the very popular funnel strategies that teams employ as changes to jungle experience affects how carries operate.

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The side lanes have been altered as well, with the addition of an EXP lane and Gold lane. The siege minions for the first seven waves now grant additional experience and gold, which shakes up rotation strategies and lane assignments. Expect early push champions to be prioritized as towers also now have a new shield that grants gold when attacked. Right off the bat, some players, teams, and analysts have already thought of how to play out these lanes. Item-dependent heroes like marksmen and mages in the Gold lane with a support, level-dependent heroes in the EXP lane like fighters and tanks to get their crucial skills early, and a whole lot of other possible combos.

What’s next?

Teams who can adapt to the new changes the fastest and catch their opponents off guard with new drafts and strategies will surely find success in the last few weeks of the MPL.

Will BREN be able to stay undefeated? Can Aura stay on top? Will Nexplay be able to make playoffs? Can Blufire and BSB bounce back? Week 6 is sure to bring the heat with matchups like Execration vs ONIC and Nexplay vs BREN. 

Find out in the remaining weeks of the Mobile Legends Professional League Philippines Season 6. Watch on their official Mobile Legends Facebook page and YouTube channel. You can also find more information by heading over to the MPL website.

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