SINGAPORE – The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) M2 World Championship in January was the first international e-sports tournament to be held in Singapore amid the pandemic, and the competition returns with another big bang less than 11 months later with the M3 kicking off on Monday (Dec 6).
The third iteration of the event boasts a bigger prize pool of US$800,000 (S$1.1 million) as compared to the M2’s US$300,000. Sixteen teams from around the world will be involved this time, four more than the previous edition.
While the M2 was held behind closed doors, the M3 will see 178 fans in attendance in each of the six matches sessions played from Dec 17 to 19 at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, including the Dec 19 grand final.
MLBB’s flagship tournament will also see the crowning of a new world champion, with reigning champions Bren Esports from the Philippines failing to qualify for the competition.
Among the favourites this time are Indonesia’s ONIC Esports, who are aiming for the treble after claiming the MLBB Professional League (MPL) Indonesia Season 8 and ONE Esports Mobile Legends Invitational 2021 titles this year.
The team are making their world championship debut but believe they can challenge for top honours.
ONIC Esports’ Calvin “CW” Winata, 21, said: “We are very confident but we must stay focused on each game that we play. There is a little bit of pressure but I don’t think it will affect us as a team.
“The key is to have good communication inside and outside the game, it’s a team game so we need to have good chemistry.”
There will be some familiar faces, with teams like Malaysia’s Todak and Indonesia’s RRQ Hoshi returning.
Local teams RSG SG and Evos SG also qualified after making it to the MPL Singapore final in October.
Todak expects competition to be tougher than previous editions of the world championship, but that has not deterred them from aiming for the title.
They finished third at the M1 in Malaysia and were knocked out in the second day of the lower bracket play-offs at the M2.
Since then, they have made changes to the team’s roster and added an analyst, coach and e-sports psychologist to help prepare for the tournament.
Radzi “Ikuto” Rahman, Todak’s esports development manager, said: “We give our players the best so that they can give us the best results.
“When you have been on the world stage, you will always want to be back here again for a chance to claim the title.”
Also hoping to prove their mettle against the world’s best is Evos SG, who won their second consecutive MPL Singapore trophy in October.
Evos SG player Tristan “Gear.” Christopher Nathanael, 16, said: “It is really nice to be able to play on our home ground. Not having to travel is definitely beneficial to us as we will be able to ultilise the travelling and quarantine duration to the fullest potential.
“Coming up on top and winning the entire tournament definitely feels like a dream. The goal for us is to put up a good showing in an international title and go toe-to-toe with the favourites of the tournament.”
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