The New York Excelsior was the best Overwatch team last season that proved disappointing in the end. This team locked a first seed spot before the last stage in the inaugural season, running away with it. Unfortunately, the talks of sandbagging and poor performance in both the Stage 4 and season playoffs ended the season on a bad note. But how will the best regular season team perform in season two?
Up until Feb. 14, I’m going to go over each team and what’s changed since the inaugural season. Each team will have its own article, going over which players and coaches left, and who has replaced them. After going over the changes and my opinions on them, I’m going to rate them much like I did in my weekly series last season. This rating will be a little more in-depth, considering I have more time than a week to look over the teams, especially the new ones.
The NYXL was the best regular season team. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their issues. So let’s look into the roster and coaching of the New York Excelsior.
Damage players (DPS)
The DPS players for the New York Excelsior are Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim, Hae-seong “Libero” Kim, Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang, and Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong.
Whew. This DPS lineup is absolutely nuts. Let’s first start off with the first season’s players: Saebyeolbe, Pine and Libero. Saebyeolbe is the outgoing, fun captain of the team. He plays mainly Tracer, McCree, and Widowmaker, but his Tracer is well-known as one of the best in the world. This was proven in the Stage 3 playoffs, where he played extremely well against another amazing Tracer: Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon.
Pine is another amazing DPS player, one of the best Widowmakers in the league. He has so many highlight reel clips that he even got a nickname: Big Boss. He is also very flexible, being able to play Tracer, Genji, McCree, and more at a very high level.
Last of the original roster is Libero, a player known for his extreme flexibility at a high level. His hero pool essentially consists of every DPS hero in the game, ranging from hitscan like Widowmaker and Soldier: 76 to projectile like Pharah and Hanzo.
This leads us to the two new DPS players on the roster, both coming up from XL2 Academy, New York’s Contenders roster. Flower and Nenne both were part of the DPS team on XL2, with Nenne impressing every game. Nenne mainly played Tracer and Widowmaker but was able to flex onto Zarya as well. Flower was someone who carried a lot of hype and just didn’t deliver it either season with XL2. His hero pool is similar to that of Libero in terms of extreme flexibility, with his mainstays being Genji and Pharah.
You already know who it is
— NYXL (@NYXL) November 8, 2018
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Our firepower is world class,@Fl0w3RGOD has joined the NYXL crew.
— NYXL (@NYXL) October 29, 2018
Many people agreed that Canadian player Liam “Mangachu” Campbell outplayed Flower most of the time on XL2. However, Flower did play with a very mixed roster while all of his previous teammates were on the New York main roster. His plays with his old teammates might be just as amazing as his World Cup performance in 2017, but we’ll have to see.
Five players who are arguably good enough to start in the Overwatch League. This is the main issue I’ll bring up later.
The tank players for the New York Excelsior are Dong-gyu “Mano” Kim and Tae-hong “MekO” Kim.
These players worked as a duo for most of the first season. Mano was the main tank player, playing Winston, Orisa, and Reinhardt. Meko was the off-tank, playing mainly D.Va and Zarya. They worked very well together, but the main issues with them were their Reinhardt and Zarya combination. They clearly worked amazingly well as a dive duo, with Winston and D.Va. Meko was their only off-tank. They did do a lot in getting them to that first place spot in the season, but they also had small issues.
One big question is — can any of the DPS players substitute for either of these tanks? With Mano, the answer is no, but with Meko there is a possibility. Nenne was a good Zarya when needed, and Libero and Flower are flexible. We’ll have to see in the future.
The support players for the New York Excelsior are Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang, Yeon-joon “ArK” Hong, and Tae-sung “Anamo” Jung.
Let’s start with JJonak, the best player in Overwatch League’s inaugural season. He not only won the MVP award for the first season, but also for the 2018 World Cup for South Korea. The man who redefined Zenyatta as a third DPS, his plays are legendary and his skill is almost untouchable. He also is a great Ana, something we might see more of in the second season.
Next is Ark, the best Mercy player in the league for season one. His work alongside JJonak combined with his smart plays made him someone who rarely died and always healed right. He also flexed onto Ana and Lucio when needed, but his Mercy was his mainstay alongside JJonak’s Zenyatta until Stage 4 and the final playoffs.
But when Ark got sick, up stepped new roster player Anamo. His great play, matching up to Ark’s stats very quickly, made him known as not just a random substitute. His Mercy play was great, but he was and is known for his great Lucio play. Hopefully he can come into his own in season two.
The player and coach respectively who have left the New York Excelsior are Joon-hwa “Janus” Song and Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim.
Janus was the substitute main tank for the New York Excelsior, having an aggressive Reinhardt play. He also played Winston, but it wasn’t played as much as Mano was. His lack of starting time and lack of cohesion with the team’s play style ended with him being released. This release made complete sense, but I fear this might come back to hurt them. After his release, he was signed as the first player of the Washington expansion team (revealed after as the Justice).
The coach that left, WizardHyeong, was a self-described genius. He tried to use analytics to help New York win, and it seemed like it worked up until the end of the season. Ending on a disappointment seemed to have both him and the team agreeing to separate. Now, he is joined with Janus to the Washington Justice, where he is head coach.
Starting team and prediction
This is tough. But I think the starting lineup will be Saebyeolbe and Libero on DPS, Mano and Meko on tank, and JJonak and Ark on support.
The coaching staff (besides WizardHyeong) are all returning for season two, including head coach Hyeon-sang “Pavane” Yu. Pavane also coached the South Korean team to the gold medal in the 2018 World Cup, proving he is still an amazing head coach. I don’t expect any coaching issues. But how will the team be rated?
I’m giving the NYXL a 9/10. They didn’t lose any of their star players, gained more depth, and kept their head coach. The reason I’m not rating this team a 10/10 though is that their massive pool of amazing players won’t all get the playtime they deserve, which might cause issues. Besides that though, this team should still be one of, if not the, best in the league in season two.
For more insights, check out my analysis on Paris Eternal.
Agree with my opinion? Think I’m completely wrong? Leave a comment with your ideas.
About the Author
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.