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    How Blacklist will stand fast versus fatigue, hostile crowd

    Dec 9, 2022
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    THE ROAD to the M4 World Championship will be no easy journey for defending champions Blacklist International.

    In the group stages, they will fave two potential dark horses in Burn X Flash and Falcon Esports, two teams blessed with the guidance of Filipino coaches, in a best-of-one format.

    Then there are other off-game threats:the roaring crowds of Indonesia, the IESF fatigue, the giant target at their backs for being the defending world champions.

    But the team assures fans that they'll do everything to weather the coming storm.

    Dark horse threats against Blacklist International

    History has proven that dark horses have been a thorn to Blacklist International. Think back to the M3 World Championship, when North America's BTK stunned the Filipino reps and sent them to the lower bracket.

    Then, during the IESF qualifiers, Maharlika Esports showed a test of resilience and nearly gave Blacklist a run for their money in the grand finals.

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    Now, in M4, Blacklist will encounter Burn X Flash and Falcon Esports, with the latter already proving their threat level during the MSC 2022.

    For Coach Kristoffer "BON CHAN" Ricaplaza, he expects a potential surprise in the group stages.

    "Syempre expect the unexpected sa makakalaban namin, siguro nagugulo din kami sa nangyari noong M3 na yung kalaban namin ay BTK, na masasabi natin na talagang naghanda," said BON CHAN.

    "Syempre ngayon siguro nagsisimula na mag-practice yung teams na ka-bracket namin and sigurado sa amin sila nakatingin kase ang iniisip nila, kami ang team to beat and kaya kailangan namin maghanda."

    He's also keeping his eye on Falcon Esports, a team he truly admires for their determination to win amid the political strife hounding their home country.

    "Actually, if I remember, Season 7 pa yun e, noong kalaro pa namin sila and noong nagkaroon ng problem sa country nila, patuloy pa rin sila nagpra-practice. Tinanong namin para saan, bakit nagscri-scrim pa rin kayo?"

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    In his blog, he revealed their answer: “Dahil mahal nila ang laro at ayaw nilang mawala sa laro just in case na ma-lift yung restrictions sa country nila.”

    Now that Falcon are spreading their wings in their world stage berth, expect their willpower to help them soar past the hurdles ahead.

    But Blacklist is ready, says BON CHAN, even in a best-of-one format.

    "Para sa akin medyo kahit papaano, hindi pabor sa amin ang best-of-one, pero syempre kailangan namin mag-adjust dahil kung hindi namin ma-sweep yung group stage mo, maaaring makalaban mo yung pinakamalakas sa kabilang bracket.

    "Siguro ang pinaka-the best talaga na gawin namin is mag-ready ng mga laro or strategy na pang best-of-one, yung panggulat talaga."

    Fatigue a factor?

    And while these problems are something that BON CHAN should consider, he also realized that there are other factors that could affect his team.

    Now that Blacklist is currently gunning for a gold medal finish in the IESF in Bali, Indonesia, the Codebreakers only have a few weeks left to prepare for the M4 World Championship.

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    This would mean that the team barely has a breather, while other teams could potentially dissect their gameplan.

    Regarding teams reading their approach, BON CHAN has this to say.

    "As far as I know, magkakaroon ulit ng panibagong patch before mag-start yung M4 so talagang nare-reset yung strat na iniisip ng mga teams, so tingnan natin kung ano mabubuo, pwede yun pa rin yung magagamit namin or kukuha kami ng bago depende sa patch."

    While this could be good news, the short period to prepare for the upcoming changes may mean fatigue could become a factor. They'll also have to deal with the weariness caused by traveling.

    "Yes it would be a big factor dahil yun nga dire-diretso kami from MPL, MPLI, and then IESF, then uuwi ng Pinas tapos babalik ng Jakarta. And nakakapagod din talaga yung biyahe sa eroplano dahil eight hours din yun.

    "And after nun kailangan namin mag-adjust sa culture, yung weather doon, and yung pagkain, so talagang malaking factor yung difference ng culture sa country natin sa Indonesia, talagang papasok yung fatigue factor," said the M3 champion coach.

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    In hostile territory

    And once they set their foot in Indonesia, Blacklist will definitely encounter the raucous nature of the Indonesia fanbase, described by some to be the most energetic and the most passionate in the MPL community.

    With Blacklist being one of the most dominant teams, the crowd might do everything to psychologically destabalize their foes.

    But for Aniel "Master the Basics" Jiandan, Blacklist is used to the huge spectacle.

    "Siguro sanay naman kami sa crowd talaga kahit sa MPL netong S10 kase nakikita namin yung crowd, siguro maninibago lang kase hindi kami sigurado kung maraming magche-cheer sa Blacklist dahil nasa Indonesia tayo.

    "Kung mag-cheer ng malakas yung kalaban, sanay na tayo."

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