Blacklist International's Mobile Legends squad is all set to dominate the M4 World Championship and claim their second-straight world title.
Or at least, that's what Salic "Hadji" Imam told the media at the M4 press conference earlier on Thursday (12 January).
"We are confident of taking the championship again," said mid-laner Hadji, who added that he would love to face fellow Filipino squad Echo in the grand final taking place on 15 January.
That said, the team he would least like to face would be any Indonesia squad, in particular RRQ Hoshi, who they beat 3-2 in a tightly contested upper bracket semi final.
"M3 was a bit easier, cos it felt like it was a bonus round, compared to right now where the teams are more competitive," Hadji said.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's Onic Esports' Thomas "SamoHt" Budiman was confident of beating Echo and Blacklist to advance to the grand final, where they hope to face their compatriots RRQ Hoshi, who will have to fight their way up from the lower bracket to do so.
"There’s added pressure [since RRQ lost], we just want to do our best, and we want to go to the finals and will meet RRQ there," said SamoHt.
With the top four teams in the upper bracket dominated by Indonesian and Filipino teams, other countries will have to work harder to stay competitive.
However, teams did call out Turkish squad Incendio Supremacy as ones to watch out for, stating that their playstyle was very close to the Filipino squads.
The M4 World Championship will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from 1 to 15 January, featuring 16 of the best Mobile Legends teams in the world competing to claim the world championship title as well as the lion's share of the US$800,000 prize pool.
The M4 Knockout Stage will be held from 7 to 15 January in the Tennis Indoor Stadium Senayan.
For everything you need to know about the M4 World Championship, check here.
Aloysius Low is an ex-CNET editor with more than 15 years of experience. He's really into cats and is currently reviewing products at canbuyornot.com