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New York Sandbagging

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So I was downfragged a lot at the time for disagreeing with the hive mind that NYXL were sandbagging during stage 4, so now that some time has passed and the playoffs have come and gone for New York I ask you all the question, do you still think they were sandbagging?

The main argument was that there was no reason for NYXL to reveal strats ahead of the playoffs so instead they were simply testing other teams out to probe for weaknesses whilst at the same time giving nothing away. Does that make sense though? They knew the new Hanzo was going to be live during the playoffs, they knew that the meta was going to change quite dramatically and that old strats would be rendered useless. Any weaknesses that they discovered would also surely be spotted and fixed by the teams they played during vod review and analysis so is it even worth it to reveal the weakness during the main season?

The only reason I see as somewhat logical is that they sandbagged and didn't prepare for games in order to reduce burnout and give the team a chance to breathe. This makes sense from one perspective, the season was long and a huge grind, performing so consistently at the top for so long no doubt takes a lot out of you both individually and as a team. Was it wise to take the foot off of the pedal though? Whilst NYXL were taking it easy it seems like other teams such as Spitfire and Fusion never let up, yes their Stage 4s weren't incredible either but from what it seems, they didn't stop working hard to improve at any point and they've come good in the playoffs. I accept for both of these teams it might just be the meta but I'd also argue that the pressure that they were under during stage 4 kept them on their toes and they were able to carry that momentum forward.

All of this being said NYXL still went 7-3 in Stage 4 which is a tremendous achievement. I realise I've asked a million questions but I'll ask a few more: Do you still think NYXL were sandbagging or were the teams that defeated them actually just better teams on the day? If you do think they were sandbagging do you still think it was the correct call to make given their semi-final exit in the playoffs after a 2-0 defeat? I don't mean any of this in a "Hey losers, I was right all along" way, I'm genuinely curious. For example I'd perfectly understand if you think they were sandbagging, it was the right call and Fusion were just the better team/got lucky with the meta for the playoffs


I think sandbagging is the wrong word, but I don't think they put the same level of preparation and work into Stage 4 than they did in the rest of the season. I don't think they were trying to hide strats, but instead were practicing less (much like you said, probably to reduce burnout and give the players a bit of rest). Nonetheless, they tried their hardest during their matches of Stage 4, but that effort wasn't enough without the practice the other teams were still putting in.

Did that seem to come back to haunt them in the playoffs? Possibly, but I have my doubts given all the practice time they had available to them the past few weeks. I think this meta was the one they were least good at (after all, Zen was a perma-pick all season and in the playoffs was only picked half the time), while Philly was really strong this meta.

All of that being said, Philadelphia is a really good team and prepared themselves appropriately to peak in the playoffs. At the same time, Excelsior didn't seem to execute at the same level they had all season, regardless of compositions. Maybe there's something to be said about that.

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