Five months ago, New York Subliners were sitting squarely at 11th place on the standings with just 10 CDL points to their name, and not a snowball’s chance in hell of making Champs. Some bookies even had the team with a <1% chance of qualifying for Champs. But they did it.
How exactly did NYSL turn around the season and make Champs? At some point, most fans gave up on them and started talking about planning for next season. Would Crimsix or Clayster retire? Would HyDra stay? And then, it happened. The NYSL Miracle. In Stage IV, the team went 4-1 and capped off the qualifiers with a second-place finish and 90 points in the last month.
Say that again: miracle (noun): “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. Many extraordinary sporting events have been called “miracles.” The Miracle on Ice. A great movie and an even better story about the 1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey team.
Extraordinary run or not, we don’t believe in divine intervention over here at Breaking Point. These “miracles” are equal parts preparation, hard work, grit, and often, a lot of luck. Below, we’re going to break Subliner’s regular season run and talk about three key factors that led to the turnaround of the team.
Chapter 1: The Breakdown & The Hardpoint Doctor
Starting off the season, Subliners placed fourth at the Kickoff Classic with Crimsix, Clayster, HyDra, and Neptune. New York went on to instantly struggle once the season officially began, and roster changes quickly ensued. Neptune was benched after just two matches, and the franchise picked up veteran player Royalty and placed him straight into the starting lineup, which failed miserably. They finished the Stage 1-4 and, and lost to Los Angeles Thieves in loser’s bracket round one, placing dead last.
The first turnaround we’ll cover is the recovery of New York’s Hardpoint, with one key change being DREAL’s promotion to head coach.
After starting 0-10 in Hardpoint in Stage I, the franchise finished the season (Stage’s II-IV) with the best Hardpoint record in the league over that period, at 29-14. The Hardpoint Doctor was in the house. DREAL’s promotion came a few weeks before Major I but wasn’t officially announced until March 4.
CDL points earned in Stage I: 10
Total CDL points: 10
NYSL Hardpoint Redemption in Color. No miracles here: a new coach and a new system, a total 180 in Hardpoint, and the two arguably most impactful midseason roster moves of the season (PaulEhx and KiSMET) contributed to the unlikely Champs run
Chapter 2: The “Ehx” Factor
Stage II once again started on a sour note as they started off 0-2. With the pressure piling up, they made the tough decision to place Call of Duty legend Clayster on the bench, and add PaulEhx to the starting roster. Adding Paul seemed to turn the tides, as New York won their remaining three matches of the stage to qualify for the winner’s bracket at Major II. There, they faced off against Atlanta FaZe and were swiftly sent down to the loser’s bracket, where they were astonishingly reverse swept by the Los Angeles Thieves and sent home dead last, once again. Zero CDL points for Subliners.
But, it wasn’t all bad news. It was immediately clear that PaulEhx was a different and more productive player from Clayster on New York. Paul was a slayer, major damage dealer in respawn, and an upgrade in Search and Destroy. With the strength of the Automaton on Vanguard, this was the first step to the NYSL redemption. A comparison of PaulEhx and Clayster:
CDL points earned in Stage II: 30
Total CDL points: 40
Chapter 3: Bulldog
Starting the stage with just 40 points, the Subliners were in a dark tunnel without any sign of light. Ahead of the Pro-Am Classic, the team decided to run player trials. Ultimately, they made the decision to bring in veteran KiSMET to the roster permanently replacing Neptune. The real turnaround started at the Pro-Am where New York absolutely dominated the competition, dropping only three maps on their way to the tournament victory and securing $100,000. This event also heralded the start of the well-earned “Dubliners in 4 meme”. Despite the cash and the moral victory, the Pro-Am awarded no Call of Duty League points. New York would have to earn their points the old-fashioned way.
Like with the previous roster change, it was immediately clear that KiSMET was a different player from Neptune. While Neptune preferred to play as a roaming slayer in the Huke mold, Kis was a traditional entry sub. He hit the hills from the front, did the lion’s share of OBJ work, and put pressure on the map. A comparison of KiSMET and Neptune:
Going into Stage III, the team came out on a high. Once again, they secured themselves a winners bracket berth with a 3-2 qualifier record. Subliners were poised to finally move up the standings and qualify for Champs. However, their trip to Canada came as a real shock to the system as they fell to eventual champions Seattle Surge in a series that went all the way to a game five, round 11, 1v1. In a classic case of losing full, they were then shockingly upset by a slumping London team to get DFR’d. New York would place top-12 in their third consecutive Major tournament and earn zero CDL points from Major tournaments on the year, so far.
CDL points earned in Stage III: 30
Total CDL points: 70
Chapter 4: Redemption
Over 50 points below the threshold to qualify for Champs, it almost looked inevitable that Crimsix would miss his first ever Champs. Would his streak of Champs attendance end at 9? Despite another impressive showing in the online qualifiers for Major IV (4-1 in qualifiers), nothing seemed to be going NYSL’s way. All of New York’s rivals for the eighth place spot picked up key victories in the final stretch of qualifiers.
Going into Major IV, Subliners didn’t control their own fate. Even winning the entire tournament would not guarantee them a place at Champs. However, backed by a home crowd, and the rollicking antics of Crim’s avatar, CrimSeven, Subliners rolled through the winner’s bracket. They secured key wins against Minnesota RØKKR and Florida Mutineers to secure a spot in the winner’s finals.
With the situation clear, New York went into Sunday knowing exactly what they had to do. One victory was needed to leapfrog Florida Mutineers and secure a spot at Championship Weekend. The home crowd erupted in the King’s Theatre as the Subliners defeated Los Angeles Thieves in the winners final, led by the bulldog himself, KiSMET, in the performance of his career.
While they fell short in the grand final, losing out the rematch to Los Angeles Thieves, the remarkable feat of New York’s run should not be underestimated. They will face defending champions Atlanta FaZe at Champs as Crim seeks to acquire a fourth ring on the biggest stage of them all.
CDL points earned in Stage IV: 90
Total CDL points: 160
— NYSL Qualified for Champs 2022 —