Excelsior victorious over Mayhem in stage 2 debut
The best by record New York Excelsior did enough Thursday to ensure a victory against the Florida Mayhem. The resulting contest for many fans and first of Stage 2 will have been much closer than expected. New York and Florida tied at one map each after two played. The Excelsior took a hard fought 5–4 on Hanamura and fell on Lijiang Tower 2-1 to the Mayhem. The loss on Control will be a difficult pill to swallow as the game mode was the foundation on which New York built an impressive 9–1 Stage 1 match record. NYXL finished with two map wins on Kings Road and Gibraltar to take the series 3–1. The victory will have the squad breathing a sigh of relief considering they were absent a key piece of their roster: Yeon-Jun “Ark” Hong.
Ark sidelined in Day one match
The formidable Mercy and beat dropping Lucio Ark absent day 1 due to a wrist injury and questionable for day 2 highlighted a weakness in the Excelsior roster. Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim, listed on the Overwatch League website as a tank player was forced onto Lucio for the majority of the match against Florida. Excelsior escaping with a victory seems disingenuous given how effective New York’s offense was on both King’s Road and Gibraltar. Big Boss Do-Hyeon “Pine” Kim feasted on the Mayhem resulting in only a single Florida kill by the second checkpoint on the final map.
With an upcoming match against the London Spitfire scheduled for tomorrow, a repeat of the Stage 1 Finals seems inevitable.Little separates the teams and it would be a disappointment should the Excelsior be unable to field their strongest lineup. Changes to the map pool could turn old strengths into new weakness. A loss on Control bodes ill for NYXL against a team who would not have sniffed at a victory previously. The game mode has been an Achilles heel for the Spitfire and a defeat to Florida must surely erode some of the confidence gained in Stage 1.
Map changes and injury leave much a mystery
A depleted roster in Excelsior’s opening match places an asterisk on any takeaways. In contrast, it does raise legitimate concerns however for the team over the course of the season. With no reliable substitute in the support role NY staff will feel pressured waiting for the return of Ark. Likewise, fans will be eager to see restored what was one of the best support batteries in the league. Professional esports players suffer from chronic wrist injuries across all games. Ark and staff must take care to ensure the support player is healthy before being permitted to return to action.
In hindsight much is clear but, the transfer window at the end of Stage 1 it seems a missed opportunity. For NYXL to not have added a pro level support player to the main roster has left them undermanned. The Spitfire will be keen to rebound after a tiebreaker loss to the Outlaws. A beleaguered Excelsior squad are now being placed squarely in the cross-hairs of the Stage 1 winners. Tune in 7:00pm EST 4:00pm PST to watch the top two teams battle it out.