MPL PH Season 9 Playoffs: RSG PH sweep TNC to make grand finals, qualify for MSC 2022

RSG Philippines soundly swept TNC Pro Team to secure the first grand finals spot in the MPL Philippines Season 9 Playoffs. (Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
RSG Philippines soundly swept TNC Pro Team to secure the first grand finals spot in the MPL Philippines Season 9 Playoffs. (Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

RSG Philippines continue to reign supreme at the Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) Philippines Season 9 Playoffs, as they secured the first spot in the grand finals with a dominant 3-0 sweep over TNC Pro Team in the upper bracket finals on Saturday (30 April).

RSG entered the playoffs with a league-best 11-3 record in the regular season, which automatically qualified them for the upper bracket semifinals.

The top-seeded squad hit the ground running, making short work of ONIC Philippines in a 3-0 sweep to advance to the upper bracket finals.

RSG then faced second seed TNC Pro Team, who were fresh from a 3-1 rout over Smart Omega Esports Philippines (OMG), for the first spot in the grand finals. Even if it was a match between the first and second seeds, it wasn't even close as RSG dismantled TNC in three-straight games. Here's how RSG earned their grand finals berth:

Wrecking ball Baxia

TNC prioritized their front lines during the first pick phase, taking Ben "Benthings" Maglaque’s Franco and Mark Genzon "Kramm" Rustana’s Esmeralda for sustainability and initiation. They also took Robee Bryan "Yasuwo" Pormocille’s Clint as a comfort pick for their gold lane.

RSG did the same with their first three picks, taking Dylan Aaron “Light” Catipon’s Atlas and Jonard Cedrix “Demonkite” Caranto’s Baxia to protect Eman “EMANN” Sangco’s Wanwan.

TNC rounded out their lineup with Jomearie "Escalera" Delos Santos' Lylia and Daniel "SDzyz"' Chu's Hayabusa while RSG opted for Nathanael “Nathzz” Estrologo's Dyrroth and Arvie “Aqua” Antonio's Kagura.

Demonkite immediately made his presence felt.

Both teams went out of their usual objective-based tactics in the early game, hunting for kills led by their veteran tank users. However, RSG’s ganks were more successful, forcing TNC to play more defensively.

RSG’s perfect chain-stunning during ganks secured them kill after kill throughout the map.

By the 6th-minute mark, RSG boasted a 3200 gold lead after a dive-and-kill onto SDzyz’s retreating Hayabusa. But more importantly, Demonkite’s Baxia was already up to a 6/0/2 stat line.

TNC was forced to concede the first lord of the game and prepared to take the game late. After the lord fell, all of TNC’s outer towers were destroyed. They did group up and tried to play around their Franco’s Iron Hooks, but RSG controlled too much of the map for TNC to get any successful gank.

Comfortable with their sizable lead, RSG finished the game by the book. First, they baited TNC out of their base as they took the third lord. Then, Nathzz’ Dyrroth caught Benthings’ overextending Franco, resulting in two deaths on the side of TNC.

With a two-hero advantage inside TNC’s base, RSG wiped the rest of TNC’s heroes and took game one.

Demonkite’s Baxia won the MVP honors with a perfect 9/0/9 performance and a whopping 94% kill participation on 19 team kills.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

Too slippery

TNC prioritized SDzyz’s Karina and Kramm’s Esmeralda as comfort picks and sturdy front liners. Meanwhile, Light got his chance to play Franco and was paired with the burst and AoE magic damage of Aqua’s Yve.

RSG’s final Fanny pick for Demonkite forced TNC to make an adaptive final pick with Escalera opting for Kaja to control Fanny’s movement during team fights.

TNC did take control of the early game as they stacked up in groups of three or four to take objectives. Grouping up together limited Demonkite’s chances of picking up kills easily.

But the extended team fight after the third turtle, TNC’s lack of control for the slippery core’s movements became a problem. After a four-for-two exchange in favor of RSG, where the Fanny grabbed a Double Kill, RSG took the gold lead.

A minute later in the bottom lane, Demonkite cleaned up two more heroes within Yve’s Real World Manipulation, which allowed RSG to take the first lord of the game.

RSG continued building up their lead while TNC grouped up as five to try and take the battle to RSG. TNC concealed and went hunting when the second lord spawned, only for Kramm’s Esmeralda to be caught by Light’s Iron Hook.

To make things worse for TNC, they were forced to split the team fight into two as Demonkite’s Fanny dragged two heroes towards one direction while Aqua and the rest of RSG cleaned up the stragglers.

With the team wipe, RSG busted through TNC’s bottom lane and ended the game in just under 13 minutes.

Aqua won the MVP award for game two with a 2/0/12 stat line with his Yve.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

Reaching the mountaintop

With the grand final in sight, RSG went back to their comfort picks. Demonkite picked up the Karina and Nathzz went for his Esmeralda. Light’s famous Chou also made an appearance to help RSG set up their team fights.

TNC countered the Karina pick with SDzyz’s Baxia to slow down RSG’s advances and beefed up their front line with Uranus and the Steel Elf. They finished their draft with the Popol and Kupa for Yasuwo for additional control and damage.

RSG sought out fights in the early game to take advantage of Aqua and Demonkite’s burst heroes. They got the jump onto TNC during the second turtle fight as Light’s Chou canceled the Noumenon Blast of Benthings’ Steel Elf.

Without TNC’s AoE initiation, they managed to focus down SDzyz’s Baxia and Yasuwo’s Popol and Kupa. After the turtle kill and a two-for-one exchange in the bottom lane, RSG’s gold lead grew to 3000

Still, TNC did try to fight their way back into the game. After a well-timed Noumenon Blast from Benthings, TNC pushed RSG away from their bottom lane, with Escalera picking up a Double Kill.

TNC’s two-for-nothing win in the bottom lane put them in a good position to contest the first lord.

Immediately recognizing the threat, RSG hunted Escalera and burst down his Lylia before she could use Black Shoes. TNC was then forced to concede the lord, which RSG used to destroy all of their outer towers.

With victory in sight, RSG slowed the game down to ensure their grand final berth.

TNC tried to contest the lord again, but their lack of burst damage allowed RSG to push them back out of the pit and take a two-for-one exchange. When the second lord fell, RSG’s gold lead was already at 8,600.

After the all-or-nothing push towards the lord pit, TNC’s heroes fell one by one as RSG pushed back to their base. Yasuwo was the only hero left to watch as RSG booked their ticket to the grand final.

RSG flexed their muscles once again, not giving up a single tower, turtle, or lord to TNC in game three on their way to a 3-0 sweep.

EMANN took home the MVP awards for game three with a 6/2/4 performance from his Brody.

(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)
(Screenshot courtesy of MPL Philippines)

With their victory, RSG have secured at least US$20,000 in winnings as well as a spot in the 2022 Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup, where they will face 10 other top teams from all across Southeast Asia for a cut of a US$300,000 prize pool in mid-June.

Meanwhile, TNC drop to the lower bracket finals, where they will face OMG for the right to challenge RSG for the MPL PH Season 9 championship.

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