Coming out of the first stage of the Overwatch League’s second season undefeated, the Excelsior are the team to beat going into the playoffs. Despite a slow and shaky start in an unfamiliar META, the NYXL quickly got their ducks in a row and were able to get themselves together to clinch the top spot in Stage 1.
New York came out of the gate with a startlingly close first few matches. In their first game back, the team struggled against the Boston Uprising’s vicious tankline — most notably Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth and Minseob “Axxiom” Park — and fans were worried that in a META so reliant on aggressive tank plays, the Excelsior would have a difficult acclimating. Their slow, smart, and calculating playstyle seemed shaky for the first few weeks of Stage 1.
Despite their slow and uncertain start, the NYXL proved themselves to be the same team fans know and love as the stage moved forward. New York’s comfort with the aggressive tank-heavy GOATs META grew with every week that passed by. The team’s play was getting cleaner with every match win.
Star Zenyatta player, Seonghyun “Jjonak” Bang, was a clear source of power for the NYXL. Jjonak consistently was able to get the first kill on an enemy team as New York’s tank line got more comfortable with opening up the battlefield and really giving him room to work his magic.
Now, despite Jjonak being a major source of damage output for the NYXL, newcomer Yeon-Gwan “Nenne” Jeong’s impressive OWL debut left viewers speechless match after match. Nenne’s incredible Zarya was able to clinch more than a few critical team fights, and especially for someone making their OWL debut, Nenne’s achievements this stage were stunning.
— NYXL (@NYXL) March 9, 2019
He ended the stage placing fifth overall for average damage output per ten minutes at 11,595.82, fifth overall for average eliminations per ten minutes at 22.25 and sixth for average final blows per ten minutes at 7.40. The rookie has so much time to grow and flourish with the rest of the season, and for him to come out of Stage 1 already with such incredible statistics is incredibly telling of his future.
Heading into the stage one playoffs, the NYXL have proven themselves to be one of the best teams in the league at this moment, even after their slip ups in Stage 4 of the inaugural season. The Vancouver Titans are the team to look out for, as they’ve had a very strong first stage of their own. The team finished second overall, with six wins and zero losses. If the Excelsior’s growth continues at the rate it has been, the team has a very good chance of getting their hands on a Stage 1 championship.
LOOKING TO STAGE TWO
With changes on the Public Test Region (PTR) having come through recently, many viewers are expecting a pretty noticeable shift back to DPS-heavy team compositions with the arrival of the second stage. This shift, is a welcome breath of fresh air for fans, will give the Excelsior a chance to show off fan favorite players Do Hyeon “Pine” Kim and Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park.
Additionally, the team’s other rookie, Yeono “Fl0w3R” Hwang, has yet to grace the main stage. If things turn out the way many fans are hoping, the recent patch should shake things up after the playoffs and give the NYXL the opportunity to show off the flashy plays that earned the team so many of its dedicated fans throughout Season 1.
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