The NYXL are riding a three-win streak, but how much does that really matter all things considering? After a two-week postponement, matches resume this weekend and players are chomping at the mouse to get back to business as (un)usual. In compliance with stay-at-home mandates and gatherings bans, games will be held online instead of onstage for now. What does this mean for the teams? It means they get to play, and that is some very good news in these trying times.
The NYXL will take on the Atlanta Reign in one of 16 matches scheduled for the weekend. This particular heavyweight bout will be a true test for both teams. With crowd energy stripped away and some interesting hero bans to boot, a highly skilled foundation is paramount to victory. When these top-tier teams clash, the battle will be decided role-by-role for honor, glory and bragging rights.
“I think they’re a pretty strong team, but I still really want to beat them to prove that we can beat them.” Atlanta Reign DPS juggernaut Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim said of the NYXL. Edison will be one of the bigger hurdles the NYXL will have to clear in order to secure a victory.
Atlanta suffered a surprising loss in their second game of the season against the Paris Eternal. The Reign looked unprepared against the Eternal, but that is not a mistake that New York should count on them making again. The NYXL aren’t in the habit of taking teams lightly, however, so the Reign are going to have to bring their A-game. There are no “easy wins” at the top and New York has their sights set ever upward.
Legs on Lockdown
No one will be in the sights of Soldier 76’s Tactical Visor, as he and Sombra are the two DPS heroes banned for the week. Nevertheless, both teams have a lot of options for the role, with equally wide and dangerous DPS benches. The NYXL could allow Yeon-Kwan “Nenne” Jeong to do what he does best and run absolutely rampant on McCree or Widowmaker. Add Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim on Hanzo for a dangerous double-sniper cocktail. New York could unleash fan favorite Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park’s Tracer or even Seung-Jun “WhoRU” Lee’s famed Genji on the Reign. The NYXL have no lack of choices in this department with which to pull back the reigns on Atlanta.
The Reign have their own plethora of possibilities, though it’s likely they will continue with Edison and Joon “Erster” Jeong. The duo looked unstoppable against the Boston Uprising in a game that made sure everyone learned Edison’s name. Should they choose to bring out Andrej “babybay” Francisty’s Torbjorn, though – no one will be sad. Atlanta could also utilize Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg for the first time and surprise the NYXL with something new. In any event, the NYXL have an abundance of responses to the problems the Reign’s dominant DPS lineup pose.
One thing is certain: someone is probably going to play Mei at some point. Secretly, all fans are hoping for here is an epic Tracer battle between Saebyeolbe and Erster.
With Winston being out of rotation this week, dive compositions will be off the menu. This is no problem for Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim, who will likely be hammering down on the Reign happily with Reinhardt. One of the better Reinhardt players in the league, Mano should look quite comfortable on his signature hero this weekend. As the NYXL have yet to make use of Dong-Wook “BiaNcA” Kim, Mano’s cohort will probably be off-tank expert Hong-Joon “HOTBA” Choi. HOTBA has been doing incredibly well this season and has certainly settled into his new home with the NYXL. While the NYXL as a whole have not been as dominant as they have been in the past, their tank line has been solid.
This game is no longer being played in Florida, but the NYXL should still beware of gators. Specifically, the Reign’s talented main tank Blake “Gator” Scott, who regularly paves the way for Atlanta to pull off huge plays. The Reign have a 12-man roster, so they have multiple tank players to choose from depending on their whims. Their bench includes Atlanta Academy legend Xander “Hawk” Domecq as well as Season 2 alum Nathan “frd” (that’s “fried”) Goebel. They’ve been relying heavily on bunker compositions, but if the NYXL can break through- Atlanta may have to make some changes. A Rein-off between Mano and Hyun-Jun “Pokpo” Park could be imminent.
The Reign aren’t sweating it, as Gator said: “I don’t think we’ll underestimate them, but I think we’re not too worried.”
Inaugural season MVP Sung-Hyeon “JJoNak” Bang together with Taesung “Anamo” Jung are a force to be reckoned with. The banning of Lucio is just an excuse to see some interesting combinations from one of the League’s most threatening support duos. As Chan-Hee “Mandu” Kim remains inactive, it will be once again up to Anamo and Jjonak to keep the NYXL alive and on track against the Reign.
Atlanta’s Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m excited to play against them,” he said, “I think we have a small rivalry going and it’ll be a fun match, I hope.”
Unless the Reign are feeling particularly risky, Dogman will be beside Petja “Masaa” Kantanen for this weekend’s games. Atlanta has not strayed from their battle-tested duo yet this season, despite having Anthony “Fire” King and “It’s me” Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger on their star-studded bench.
Jjonak’s legendary Zenyatta will have to outclass Dogman’s stellar Ana in order for the NYXL to push past the Reign.
This one won’t be a walk in the park. It’s going to Map 5 or beyond.
Atlanta 3 – NYXL 2
Questions? You can message Rhiannon on Twitter @Psyryn_OG and ask away.
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