MPLI has started and boy, what a tournament it’s been so far.

Every team has brought their own strategy, making the meta really diverse.

For example, the Indonesian and Philippines teams are playing around high mechanical skill heroes, while Singapore and Malaysia are opting for unique hero picks, and Cambodia is going all-in on 5v5 team fights.

Let’s take a closer look at some trends we’ve noticed.

XP Lane

MPLI Meta picks:

  • Aldous
  • Yuzhong
  • Paquito
  • Esmeralda
  • Poveus

XP laners not only have to hold their opponents back, but also help their teammates when fighting in the Turtle pit at the 2-minute mark, and for the late game, split team fights. 

Teams have been using Poveus to effectively chase any dash heroes, and Yuzhong to go straight to the backlane and chase Yve. Meanwhile, Pharsa, and Paquito have been picked for their heavy burst damage, Esmeralda for soaking up damage when going into the late game, and Aldous for the ton of damage he can output with his Contract:  Soul Steal while split pushing, thanks to his global presence with Chase Fate. 


MPLI Meta picks:

  • Paquito
  • Lancelot
  • Ling
  • YSS
  • Hayabusa
  • Bane
  • Karina

All of these heroes share similarities. They can burst down anybody in an instant and split push, and that’s what the meta needs right now. They can all go for quick creeps clear, then cross into the jungle of the opponent, delaying purple/orange or even taking it.

For example, Ling was always banned by RRQ Hoshi’s opponents in the MPL ID S8 playoffs, but EVOS Legends let them have it on day one of MPLI. They paid for it when Albert’s Ling pulled off multiple high mechanical plays, leading RRQ to the victory.

Teams need to respect their opponent’s Jungler hero pool the most. Most bans should be targeted at the Jungler, because in this meta, he’s the most crucial part of the team.


MPLI Meta picks:

  • Matilda
  • Jawhead
  • Rafaela
  • Chou
  • Selena
  • Ruby

Roamers are quite dependent on each coach’s individual strategy. Teams that play aggressively have been using Matilda and Selena (Selena still has a high ban rate even after the nerf that saw her trap adjusted from permanent to 60s).

In Indonesia, we always see Jawhead because Jawhead can provide immediate impact with his flicker + ejector combo so that’s not a surprise in MPLI, but teams should be paying more attention to Chou, who is flying under the radar as a roamer right now.

While rarely used in other regions, the Philippines teams are bringing Chou back to life and being rewarded with wins. Chou can lockdown one hero, and deal a ton of damage while making all of the source skills go to Chou.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing Rafaela and Ruby being picked by teams that want to play it more safely and consistently in team fights. 


MPLI Meta picks:

  • Yve
  • Pharsa
  • Lylia 

I only listed three heroes for this section. Yve because she can cause a headache for any Marksmen or Assassins with Real World Manipulation and a ton of slow effects.

Meanwhile, Pharsa is being picked thanks to her high burst damage and ability to 1 or 2-hit other Marksman and fragile heroes, and Lylia thanks to her second chance with Black Shoes, making her a suitable option to create an opening for team fights or baiting out important skills from the opponent. 


MPLI Meta picks:

  • Lunox
  • Alice
  • Claude
  • Natan
  • Brodi
  • Popol & Kupa 

In the Gold Lane, we see a bunch of heavy hitters. In the first five minutes, the gold laner is generally very rich, and should not rely on others to protect them and these heroes reflect that.

Claude is shining right now, because he can deal damage while escaping with Battle Mirror Image. With one escape/disable ability we’ve seen a lot of skilled mechanics from goldlaners at MPLI, because they must be so precise when using their skills. 

Final thoughts on the MPL Champion teams

Waiting in the Quarterfinals are the four MPL champion teams that drafted the tournament in the MPLI Captain’s Draft.

While we’ve seen what the other teams are favoring in their picks and strategy over the first two days of the tournament, these four squads are yet to play.

Here’s what I expect from them.

Blacklist International

Blacklist International is by far the hottest team coming into MPLI. They are really strong, especially with their current lineup, consisting of the golden duo of Vee and Wise, Oheb coming back from suspension, and Hadji just a phenomenal player that can fill any role in the game.

The meta at MPLI also looks well-suited for Blacklist International, and I’m curious to see how far they can go.

Team SMG

MPL MY’s champions proved that there’s no one else in their region on their level after their 4-0 sweep over Todak in the MPL MY Grand Finals. Having said that, Team SMG gambled on a super risky strategy drafting EVOS Legends, RRQ Hoshi, and ONIC PH to their own group, so their first opponent will surely be a tough one. Look out for Sasa to be the key player for SMG.


EVOS SG are back-to-back MPL champions for Singapore, proving they’re incredibly strong in their own region. They’ve also shown that they’re very flexible and can adapt well to any draft their opponent goes for. Potato has proven once again that he’s a player to be respected and his hero pool continues to grow.

ONIC Esports

MPL ID’s champions fought through a bloodbath in the MPL ID playoffs, needing 12 matches to win the title. Their playstyle starts from the draft, with a calculated approach where they respect the bans of the enemy draft, but they also sometimes suprise with new strategies like double retribution, or even Popol & Kupa, Selena, Natan going for all-in damage to end the game really fast.

I really like this playstyle, but other regions should already have an answer to this gameplay. While the whole team is strong, if there’s one player from ONIC to look out for its Butts. He’s very strong, especially as an xp laner, and can single-handedly drag the game into the late game and seal victory for ONIC.  

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