OWL Season Two preview: New York Excelsior
The New York Excelsior organization kept fans busy with their high highs and dismal lows over the 2018 season. In regular season play, there was no team more dominant on a week to week basis. However, when push came to shove, and all players had to start clicking in order to win, the prospect of victory started to evade them. Season Two of the Overwatch League has brought upon new challengers and contenders that will possibly take away some of the mystique that NYXL rightfully obtained with their gameplay.
Will 2019 usher in a new era of success in New York? Or will departing with pivotal players and staff like Jun-hwa “Janus” Song and Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim only add to their woes in the clutch?
Rebuilding on greatness
NYXL’s first season in the Overwatch League can be categorized as ‘unrealized potential’. No other team was as dominant at their best, but consistency wasn’t always their greatest virtue. Of course, they never allowed big losing streaks or multiple bad plays to get in the way of their playoff goals, but it always seemed like NYXL were more prone to ‘sandbagging’ than any other team.
This year, the tone shift for NYXL has been felt across the board. After parting ways with their bombastic Head Coach, NYXL looked from within to fix up some of their openings on coaching staff with some new additions. In the assistant coach roles, NYXL signed Se-chul “zet” Son and Yong-cheol “imt” Jeong. Filling in at GM was former Seoul Dynasty coach Yo-han “nuGget” who also coached MVP Space in Korea.
Excelsior also opted for player pickups from their XL2 Academy as Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang and Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong both ascended to the main team. These additions were great from the sense of roster stability, but there was an obvious hole to be filled with Janus leaving the team that hasn’t been supplemented with roster moves as of late.
City that never sleeps
Towards the latter half of the Overwatch League season, NYXL’s strategies and sheer mechanical ability over their opponents was not enough to win games over the course of a best of five. In their playoff series against Philadelphia Fusion, the tank line of NYXL started to get picked off in ways that became detrimental to their success.
Because of that dissonance, Janus was the regularly favored Main Tank player when it came to Reinhardt and Winston, and suddenly the unbeatable NYXL had a massive weakness to their winning formula. While their team is still mainly the same, and synergy should carry them over obviously worse competition, NYXL are still a few pegs away from being the world beaters they so calmly asserted themselves as last season.
Without a doubt, playoff contention should still be in their favor no matter the divisional opponent. Their DPS core is also massively favored against most teams in the league depending on the day. Between Pine, SBB, Fl0w3R and Nenne, NYXL have a rolodex of players that can pop off at any given moment with their damage output. The real question mark for this team will revolve around whether or not their Tank players can assist adequately enough to carry them forward.