Popular opinion is that New York has underperformed during Stage 4, but many are quick to point out they were sandbagging. For their match against Los Angeles Valiant, NYXL’s insistence on their risky widowmaker flank on Gibraltar seems like proof. (Spiderpine did not work.) After the match, ArK gave reassurance that they had the situation under control.
On their last match vs. Boston, questions were raised on whether they're starting to sweat a bit, seeing that Mano and ArK saw more play than in previous games. But as fans would point out again, NYXL was still playing experimental compositions. On Lijiang, Saebyeolbe was on Pharah and Libero played Tracer. And once again, ArK would ease the fans.
None of this changes the fact that NYXL is 1st seed. However, it’s been speculated that their less-than-amazing performance is an effort to influence the 6th seed. NYXL doesn’t want to face London. London doesn’t have a good win rate against L.A. Gladiators. So NYXL could be playing in a way that encourages seeding to have London face LAG first round. This is noted by Mr X:
“ New York probably does not want to see a London in Round Two. ”
When Houston Outlaws beat Philadelphia Fusion, they noted that they are a momentum-based team and they would win their next match against NXYL. But as we saw tonight, the game was close; but still NYXL's win. So with that, it seems they are done sandbagging. However, we're able to catch some possible weaknesses, particularly on Lijiang.
NYXL attempted to run the 3 tank/3 support composition, recently popularized by GOATS. It didn't work. And when Houston ran the same composition against them, NYXL was prepared with a double spam (Pharah, Junkrat) counter-composition. And yet they failed again.
Of course, NYXL was probably still sandbagging at this point. What's going on with Saebyeolbe's Rocket Barrage? Why place Saebyeolbe on Pharah again when Libero is available?
But on Nepal, NYXL was done playing games as this was the final tiebreaker map. Now it's Libero's turn on Pharah.
NYXL won, but it's important to note that the cracks are visible. On Lijiang, we can question why Saebyeolbe was on Pharah, but we can see the actual composition was thought out. What happens if Valiant or Gladiators runs 3/0/3 against NYXL? Obviously, Libero's Pharah is no joke, but the point is that it's not a shoo-in for NYXL anymore. We have yet to see if they'll be haunted by their LW Blue roots and fail to capture the big one.
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