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Esports Overwatch

The NYXL proving that the Overwatch League is wide open

When the Seoul Dynasty announced they were acquiring the most successful Overwatch team in the game’s short history, Lunatic-Hai, the Overwatch world crowned their season one champion. How could a team with such a prominent history falter? Well, after their first matchup with a top-three roster, the tune around the league has changed dramatically.

The New York Excelsior entered their match against the Dynasty following a hard-fought loss to an underrated Philadelphia Fusion squad. It was the Excelsior’s first loss of the season, and the first time they looked vulnerable. Heading into a fist fight with the consensus best team meant this team would have to make serious mental and in-game adjustments to get a win.

Mind you, this match was on the heels of the two most heart-throbbing and intense matches of the season. With the Excelsior falling to the Fusion and the London Spitfire losing on the fifth map to the Boston Uprising, beating the top Korean teams wasn’t inconceivable anymore. Now, with the pressure of ending week three at 0-2, The Excelsior showed the league that the Dynasty is mortal.

The game plan for NYXL

NYXL talking some strategy before facing the Seoul Dynasty. Photo via twitter.com/NYXL

If a team wants to have a chance against the Dynasty, it not only is going to take a full cohesive team effort, but it will require players outperforming their counterpart in key positions. Let’s start with the talk of the league in Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun. Shutting him down is imperative to any sort of strategy against the Dynasty.

For example, Fleta deals the most damage on a litany of heroes for Dynasty. On top of his absolutely filthy Widowmaker play, his Genji and Pharah are world class, and early in the season, he’d completely shut teams down with his damage output. The NYXL made this a priority, and fortunately having a force like Park “Saeyeolbe” Jong-yeol and Kim “Libero” Hye-sung to counter Fleta actually worked out.

NYXL’s Support Duo continues to dominate

However, it wasn’t just putting Libero on Pharah and both NYXL DPS players out dueling Fleta on the Widowmaker. No, the most important factor to the Excelsiors’ win was a player who I believed separated himself from the other support mains in the Overwatch League. Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon is now firmly in the conversation for MVP with his DPS-like Zenyatta play.

The combination of JJoNak’s survivability on the back-line, damage output and healing output, coupled with Hong “Ark” Yeon-joon getting the brunt of the healing duties on Mercy, has made that support line extremely difficult to break. It was the main difference between the two squads last Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-hong struggle that hard.

Is the NYXL the best team in the Overwatch League? 

It’s a long season. It might be tempting to crown the Excelsior as the best team now, but there are too many games left to believe anything’s figured out. We still have yet to see the London Spitfire matchup with either of these two teams. And based on the roster makeup of the Dynasty and Excelsior, NYXL has the means to counter the Dynasty better than anyone.

Furthermore, there’s still plenty of time left for all these teams to develop more chemistry and gain more momentum.The top-three front-runners are clear, but the standing of the teams right behind them is unclear. Teams like the Los Angeles Valiant, Fusion and Uprising have displayed plenty of game knowledge and talent.

The emergence of the Excelsior support players and the deep bench leads me to believe this team can pull it off. But, with the transfer window approaching, and the fact that most teams have already drastically improved, it feels unlikely to stay that way.

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Featured photo via NYXL Twitter

 

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