Blacklist exits Bali Major early no thanks to Abed
Filipino fans are left upset as teams Blacklist Rivalry and Execration head to the airport after an early exit in the Bali Major. The two Filipino teams attended all previous Valve Majors, never making it past the group stages. For the Bali Major however, Blacklist would have had the chance to get into the playoffs by winning a tie-breaker match against Shopify Rebellion. This would have been the country’s chance to get into a Major’s playoffs round since the 2021 WePlay Animajor.
But, no thanks to fellow Filipino Abed Yusop, Blacklist Rivalry are out of the Bali Major—the Filipino teams’ last hope to qualify for The International 12 now lies in the Regional Qualifiers.
Teeth’s skin victory
The tiebreaker series opened with Blacklist Rivalry losing narrowly against Shopify Rebellion, with a final score of 21-11 and a 4,000 gold lead. Why is a 10-point deficit a narrow victory, you ask? Well, the later games would explain that.
Blacklist picked Abed’s ace, Storm Spirit, for their own midlaner Karl Baldovino. They coupled this with a roaming Spirit Breaker from Timothy “Tims” Randrup and a hyper-carry Templar Assassin for Marc “Raven” Fausto. Shopify Rebellion responded with a Puck on Abed, a roaming Rubick for Andreas “Cr1t-” Nielsen, and Artour “Arteezy” Babaev’s favorite Lycan.
The entirety of the game was neck-and-neck, with each team returning kills to each other. The game only turned one-sided after a seemingly off-timed charge by Tims forced a fight near the bottom lane river. Tims fell after being focused by Shopify Rebellion, followed by Damien “kpii” Chok’s Brewmaster falling and Carlo “Kuku” Palad’s Pugna. Blacklist were forced to retreat from the fight and instead focus their resources on defending their base.
The teams clashed once again inside Blacklist’s base, felling Karl and kpii. With an underfed Templar Assassin and two supports left to defend against a five-man push, Blacklist give game one to Shopify Rebellion.
Glimmer of hope
Blacklist decided to go on the aggressive for game two, focusing on a teamfight-based composition with Primal Beast, Naga Siren, Doom, Silencer, and a Techies support. Shopify Rebellion, on the other hand, went with a crowd control-centric build with a Dragon Knight carry, Leshrac midlane, Tidehunter offlane, and an Enigma and Rubick in the support roles.
Blacklist bared their fangs early in game 2, pummeling and charging at Shopify every chance they get. Karl’s Primal Beast went savage and started roaming to the side lanes early, easily picking off members of Shopify Rebellion and extending their lead into the mid-game.
Unable to bounce back from their early-mid game loss, Shopify Rebellion were at the mercy of Blacklist. The game came to an end during ten-man clash inside Shopify Rebellion’s base, wiping out all of their underfarmed and abused carries. This caused The North American team to call “GG”. The game ended with a final score of 31-7 and a 30,000 gold lead.
Nail in the coffin
Game three was the most important game for both teams—it decided which of them would proceed to the playoffs. This was a do-or-die match, a fight to the death.
Blacklist led with a Bloodseeker and Doom combo on the side lanes, with a Monkey King in the midlane for more early ganks. The team probably picked up on Shopify’s inability to react properly to early midlane roams and decided to capitalize on it. But they were wrong.
Shopify went into game three with lessons from the previous game, and a team comp to go along with it. The North American team barged in with a Lycan carry, a Mars offlane, a counter-roaming Ember Spirit in the midlane, and Skywrath Mage and Enchantress in the support roles.
What happened after was a reversal that used the weight of Blacklist’s momentum against them. Game three was a stomp, Shopify Rebellion closing out with a 36-5 final score, with a 30,000 gold lead.
What comes next?
After missing the playoffs for three out of the three Valve Majors, Blacklist and Execration sit at the top 13th and 19th spots for the overall DPC points ranking for 2023. Execration sits with 740 points, while Blacklist Rivalry has 380 DPC points under their name. With the Bali Major being the last official Valve event before The International 12, the two teams would need a miracle in the Regional Qualifiers. With only one slot for Southeast Asia, both Filipino teams will have to fight tooth-and-nail for the title.
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