View Full Version : Theory Discussion: Sandbagging

07-24-2010, 08:32 PM
Last week when I was playtesting with my playgroup, I told Link who I was going to play at Gencon (For anyone who knows me, they know that I am very indecisive and switch back and forth constantly). My choice was one of the stronger character that should see a lot of play, and his reply is that I am going to have to face some of the stronger player for diversity and that I may not be make it into top 16. My response was simple and clear, "I Don't sandbag".

As I currently remember, there is only one deck that "sandbagged" that has won a major event and that is Kirk Polka's Mignon with Chun li in the sideboard. Now to be fair his deck was a Air Mignon Deck that could turn into Chun li if the match up demanded it vs certain control decks. All the other decks that have won major events that I remember played the deck with the intent of playing the same character during matchs one, two and three.

My current belief is that if you want to win the whole event, you should not sandbag and fight the diversity battle as you will need every advantage that you can get. If your goal is only to make it to the top cuts, you should sandbag. If you are not a strong enough player to fight diversity, then you are probably not good enough to win the event.

My case and point is my freind, Link. During last season, he was sporting Chun Li. And No one except for a couple of people from our playgroup, and I mean No One ever thought that he would ever win a major event as Chun li. Why do you ask? Because every major event he would go to, he would have to fight diversity vs Matt Kohls. What did he do? He manned up and played as Chun li, Beat Matt Khols for diversity at US Nationals, beat the Best Canadian Player of that Year (Garret Brett), Slugged it out with the previous Year's US Champ (Omar) and clinched a very tight win against that Year's World Champion Paul Bitner. Do I think he could have done this as a different character. My answer is no, as I gauratee that he would have his first match vs Paul Bitner and not have won that US nationals Title.

Another point that I have is James Hata and Jon Herr. When they each won thier respective titles - World Champion and Canadian Champion. They did it with Ibuki, knowing full well that it was the best deck in the format and that if they didn't get into top 16/8 with those decks, that their chances of winning it big that year would not be as strong.

Now I understand that certain playgroups sandbag into characters because they do not want to diversify thier freinds, and there are other things that may cause you to sandbag.

So the question is, what are your thoughts on sandbagging, and do you do it?

07-24-2010, 10:39 PM
Honestly i have thought about sandbagging but the whole idea makes my head hurt. Making a deck around one character while still having the main focus on switching into another character just doesnt seem like a good plan to me. Ppl sandbagged into chun-li easily because: 1. Chun-Li is a broken character who takes very little skill to use (i would know), and 2. air decks during that time ran pretty much the same attack line-up. When preparing for nats i was considering not maining chun-li and running a side board of the following: 4x Hoyoku Sen, 4x Willful, 1x Chun-li, and 1x Ira Spinta. In the end though i thought putting all that effort into fronting a different character in a deck meant to be chun-li was a weak move so i ended maining chun-li and not topping. To sum up my thoughts on sandbagging are as follows: it's a tactic that alot of ppl consider using but few ppl should. Sandbagging from one character to a completely different means memorizing the strengths and weaknesses of TWO characters and learning how to play TWO styles of match-up that can differ on a large scale. I dont sandbag cause i dont believe i have the skill to play and master two different characters at the same time. Another downside to sandbagging is that alot of the time you will be playing a weaker character than the one you are siding into, thus you have a higher chance of losing game 1 and playing at that disadvantage is not a wise choice. The kind of sandbagging i am, however, in favor of is switching out your starting character for one that helps in a certain match up. For example i played Paul at the last SAS and kept a copy of Cassadra in my sideboard for certain match-ups. That i guess may not be considered sandbagging by some, but rather a tech option. At this point i think im starting ramble so ill leave you with this, i am not a fan of sandbagging but that does not mean i wont do it. If i am convinced that a player i absolutely cannot beat in diversity is playing the same character as me i will sandbag with the hope that i will make top cuts. Bottom line that is the goal of this game, to win, and i will take all LEGAL measures i can to do so.

07-24-2010, 11:33 PM
lol does switching from jin to kazuya count or vice versa im all for that ... but neither character would be side boarded so I dont think thats sand bagging. Ne way I will sandbag like GR said if the two characters can run the same deck like allot of fire decks can run very similar also Heihachi, Kazuya, Jin chaos is the same deck, but play differently.

07-25-2010, 05:52 AM
Sandbagging can work out. We had a guy who built a Cassandra-Sophitia and one more char deck. It was extremly versatile, but lost only due to the low hp his starting char had, and also 1 of his sandbags had.

Also, fire decks. they play pretty similar attacksetups, so why wouldn't you be able to sandbag with them?

Darklogos on the old forums also had a discussion about control type decks in standard. according to that discussion, control would need to win first match with control, 2nd match sandbag into some aggro char and surprise their opponent. Note: not my own oppinion..

07-25-2010, 12:17 PM
Sandbagging really only refers to building a deck for a particular character, but playing a different one game 1 to avoid diversity.

If the deck is actually built to the strengths of multiple characters (with maybe a small sideboard adjustment e.g. a character-only card), I wouldn't really call it a sandbag deck, more of a toolbox deck.

Sandbagging is tournament play suicide. You might duck diversity and top... but the odds of winning games 2 and 3 consistently through the whole top cut are pretty darn dismal, especially since game 3 time is also not really on your side, unless you scoop game 1 which is even worse for your odds.

Toolboxing can be VERY effective. I've personally done it plenty of times. For example, my good old Death Nakoruru deck - I never had to do it at a majour tournament but I used to side her out to Cassie3 (not changing the deck at all) or Lizardman3 (siding out Roundhouse Kick for Namtar's Claw) when people played too much hate for Nakoruru's usual board-committal theme (not that there was much hate but there was some limited readying tech).

Toolboxing in some elements can water down the build too much to support multiple styles, though, so not every character can pull it off at all. It's really a YMMV kinda thing but if you can do it without hurting your deck game 1, it can be very effective.

07-25-2010, 01:11 PM
In block 3 it was simple to sandbag: Any real good air character into Chun Li.

In block 4 it's just as easy. Fire is the universally strong character, and can be piloted by most good fire characters. Even in decks with specific builds (Paul and to a much lesser extent Astrid) most fire characters can work around it.

07-25-2010, 02:45 PM
It's actually significantly harder to sandbag in the current block set. Problem is, you're trying to find a character that no one else is going to play in order to dodge diversity. There's not enough characters to do so right now. The deck still has to work with whichever character you pick, as giving away game 1 will always be a bad idea.

Also, which characters are people looking to dodge diversity for right now? A Hilde build is not going to work with any other character. Whether it's Mitsurugi, Jin, Kazuya, Sophitia, etc., Fire decks might toolbox, but not sandbag. Going with Marius Gaius just to dodge diversity is an awful idea.

07-25-2010, 03:07 PM
lol I think playing with marius gaius is an awful idea in general

07-25-2010, 09:57 PM
I don't get why people think sandbagging is so hard in the current block. Anyway I would've posted a lot more in depth in my earlier one, but I was in a rush to work.

Sandbagging is a useful skill, and far less suicidal than most think. However there are a few drawbacks. Certain builds (as mentioned above) can't really be sandbagged into. Also certain symbols don't share the same strength of Fire in the current block with a lot of its top toons. Anyway just a brief chart of who I think can and can't be sandbagged into:

Disclaimer: This is all my opinion. The "top 5" toons (I'm only gonna cover fire atm just on the shear amount of players most likely playing Fire at world’s) is entirely my opinion and isn't the core point of my argument, the ability to sandbag is.

Fire (with the exception of Zi Mei) has three main ways to kill you that see the most play:

1. Mid attack- Launcher- Breaker
2. Wheel Kick- Dragon Lifter- something else (this varies from Neutron Bomb into something, to Toughest in the Universe spam)
3. Hammer of the Gods- Turn Thruster- Knight Breaker/Phoenix Smasher/Blazing Fist

Now of those three main kill strings, any of the following characters can successfully play those without too much fuss:

- Jin
- Heihachi
- Mitsurugi
- Paul Phoenix (with obviously Paul leaning towards his own support)

Throw in a utility attack like Pommel Smash or Neutron Bomb and any of those five characters can run those effectively. Now the question in Fire would be who to start as? With the majority of players going to World's playing Fire, who could some dark horse characters be?

- Bryan Fury: Yes he blows his own stuff up, but having a built in In Search of Perfection is kinda nice. His damage pump does lean heavily towards the Launcher/Breaker kill condition.

- Kyofu: He's certainly neat. Negating blocks is always nice and his stats are pretty on par for block 4's 6 handsizers.

- Ragnar: He's got a lot of life, and hits harder than most of the other characters in the format. With Herr to the Storm (which most fire decks seem to be packing these days), he can make those monster attacks MORE monstrous. He also works with all of the attack strings.

- Steve Fox: When reverse Pommel Smash was relevant, he was subpar. Now that the Astrid population will be going down, Steve could see a small influx of popularity. His abilities are actually rather good, especially his second one combined with the Wonderworld asset, and him sandbagging into Paul could be viable.

Some builds that are obviously unsandbaggable would be Astrid (who relies entirely on weapons), and Hilde (who requires one monstrous attack, and really doesn’t run that many attacks to begin with).

Zi Mei is the neat little exception in that, if you want to sandbag into her, Fury of the Ancients and All Life is Prey (depending on your build) can just sit all pretty like in your sideboard. And as Fury isn’t a combo, you can use it in any of the aforementioned Fire attack strings.

So there ya have it folks. Sandbagging with fire is easy. With the other symbols it does get quite a smidge harder in some regards, it’s just left up to your creativity to make it work right?

07-26-2010, 02:50 PM
- Kyofu: He's certainly neat. Negating blocks is always nice and his stats are pretty on par for block 4's 6 handsizers.

I would just like to point out that Kyoufu is a she! (Dun, dun) xD

Herr to the storm


Great post though, offers some fantastic insight into sandbagging


07-26-2010, 03:15 PM
Played against a deck that was touted as "the best Padma deck ever built.". Hilarity and other wackiness ensued after i torched her Game 1 by T3 with my Mitsu build:

Padma all of a sudden became Tira. And then, in true Tira "I'm a schizophrenic" playstyle, when our match went to Game 3, she became Kisheri.

I ended up winning that match, but that Death Deck left an indelible mark on my subconscious. :)

07-26-2010, 10:49 PM
Not a fan of sandbagging, if you can't beat diversity you aren't in it to win anyways. Now, I do believe in having another character in the sideboard for issues which is what I'd say 'some' of the chun-li-ing was last year, i.e. if Olexa/Mignon had a bad matchup or something the Chun-li fit perfectly.

- dut

07-27-2010, 01:05 PM
I've held the opinion of going with what you're strongest as. I've been bitten hard by trying to either A) Build a character I don't think will be there a lot but building outside of my usual play style B) General Sandbagging. My thought is I have a better chance of winning first game if I go with something I'm strong with and know how to play inside and out than trying to dance around diversity. Ultimately it goes to familiarity and what you're comfortable playing with. But, for the sake of argument, I'd think that toolbox is a better game plan opposed to sandbagging. I can't remember who it was, Hata or Herr I think, that built a deck of anti-meta silver bullets and when on to win big. Combining that with a toolbox approach might be more fruitful.

This is all a little control centric advise honestly, if you're and aggro player like me, build the best bad ass you can and beat people into the ground with whoever you're strongest with. Least that's my game plan.