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Before the M4 World Championship: A look at past winners and history cover image

Before the M4 World Championship: A look at past winners and history

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Since 2019, three M World Championships have happened with the 4th edition on its way. Here’s a look at the tournaments history.

The biggest tournament in the history of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) esports is almost here. The M4 World Championship is set to happen from Jan. 1 to 15, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia. 16 teams from around the world will be competing for the humongous $800,000 prize pool. 
Ahead of the grand competition, Esports.gg takes a look at the history of the M World Championships and how the competition has evolved over the past years.

M1 World Championship: The founding stone

Mobile Legends was released in 2016 and was almost immediately immersed in controversy for being a copy of League of Legends. Nonetheless, the game caught popularity in SEA and its immensely competitive naturally evolved competitive scene. 
MOONTON later picked up on this and the first big competition for the tournament was the M1 World Championship. Held in November 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the tournament had a prize pool of $250,000. 
It featured teams from around the world – even in regions where the game wasn’t as popular such as North America and Brazil. Ultimately, Indonesia’s EVOS Legends came out on top to become the world champion by beating RRQ Hoshi 4-3 in an intense best-of-seven series. 
The tournament got amazing viewership and ushered in a new era for MLBB esports. With a peak of 648,000 and average viewership of 165,000 (per Esports Charts), it showed that mobile esports can also pull in numbers. 

M2 World Championship: COVID-19 causes a year delay but the tournament becomes a huge success

After the success of the first edition, a lot of fans were waiting for the M2 in 2020. Unfortunately, the tournament wasn’t conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Nonetheless, MOONTON brought the M2 World Championship back in 2020. The tournament happened in the Shangri-LA Hotel in Singapore with $300,000 on the line. This time, a Filipino team stood at the top as they managed to take down Myanmar’s Burmese Ghouls 4-3, in another best-of-seven series that went to the last game. 
The M2, while a “world championship” didn’t feature teams from as many regions as the M1. This was likely due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It only had SEA teams along with a CIS, Brazil, and Japanese team. 
Despite the gap in 2020, the developer kept MLBB esports alive with grassroots-level and regional competitions – especially in SEA. This was evident with the viewership numbers which compared to the biggest PC esports titles. 
The tournament achieved a peak of three million, which was even more than Dota 2’s TI9. 

M3 World Championship: MLBB esports becomes a real thing

After the numbers of the M2, MOONTON made the M3 an even grander affair. The prize pool was indicative of that as it increased by over 100 percent to a staggering $800,000. The winner pocketed $300,000 of that, a figure which represented the total prize pool of the M2. 
The tournament returned to Singapore again at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Center. Mobile Legends esports’ staggering growth allowed MOONTON to pull a lot of sponsors with as many as 10 partners being a part of the event – something unimaginable for a mobile esports event a few years back. 
Breaking the tradition of the past two editions, this time’s grand final didn’t go all the way to a seventh game. Instead the all-Filipino final between Blacklist International and ONIC PH saw the former sweep the series with a 4-0 score. 
Another big storyline in the competition was the performance of the sole NA representatives, BTK. With MLBB being very less popular in the region and no proper esports leagues existing, BTK were expected to crash out in the earlier stages. They were up against mammoths from franchised leagues and not many people had hopes for the team which met in-person for the first time when boarding their flight to Singapore for the event. 
However, BTK put up a truly underdog performance to place third in the competition and put NA’s name on the map. 

M4 World Championship: It's Indonesia's time?

Now, the 4th edition of the tournament is here. The scale of the tournament is the same as the M3 with 16 teams vying for a split of the $800,000 prize pool. 
The M4 World Championship is set to take place in Jakarta, Indonesia. The country is one of the most popular for the mobile MOBA title and with no Indonesian team coming out on top in the past three years, fans will be hoping to see it happen this time. It will be livestreamed on the official Mobile Esports YouTube channel.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest mobile gaming news and updates.
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Wasif Ahmed
Wasif Ahmed
Editor | Twitter @wasifahd_
Wasif is an esports journalist from India who covers mobile gaming news. From PUBG Mobile to Wild Rift, he has been covering mobile esports for over three years. You can reach out to him on Twitter to chat about games and esports anytime.