New York Excelsior Perfect in Week Two
Perfection in week 2 for the New York Excelsior. The return of Yeon-Jun “Ark” Hong to the starting lineup carried the squad to a 8–0 map score earning the support player of the match honors. Their Saturday night win over the Houston Outlaws was among the highest level of competition we have seen to date. With two victories in the second week NYXL sit alone atop the standings one game ahead of the Seoul Dynasty. Life must seem a bit brighter for the Excelsior compared to only a week ago where the team was short one of their star supports and suffered defeat to the rival London Spitfire.
Boston Uprising Match Recap
New York was certainly in control of their matches but it was a close fought affair on both occasions. Against Boston on Hanamura NYXL quickly captured point A only to be beaten back consistently by the Boston defense on point B. New York tried adjusting their strategy swapping to Lucio and trying to place Soldier 76 on the high ground but to no avail. Similarly, Boston caught the Excelsior off guard with a fast paced attack on point A featuring Sombra. Boston’s strategy worked initially but was held on the second point ultimately losing out to NY’s superior capture percentage.
Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim struggled to find effectiveness on Pharah during the control map played on Nepal. Fortunately while Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez may have outshone the Excelsior projectile DPS, Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park buoyed the damage battery with suffocating play on Tracer and Soldier 76. The result a 2–1 victory. Libero still performed at a high level throughout the majority of the match. His patient play on Genji was essential to the Excelsior’s defense on Hanamura as well as their attack on King’s row. Some powerful nano-boosted play on Genji and short reinforce times on the final checkpoint was enough to clinch the series for the NYXL 3–2 on King’s row.
NYXL Struggle against Tank Lineups
New York has shown weakness to tank heavy compositions and the trend continued in week two. Reduced effectiveness of their preferred mobile dps front-line: Tracer and Genji has seen opponents winning the war of attrition. The meta has not yet swung from the dive play prevalent in stage 1 but should more teams find room for Reinhardt and Zarya in their lineups the Excelsior could struggle to maintain their dominant form. The Houston Outlaws exploited this weakness best winning the first round of Lijiang Tower. You can find the replay of that map here: NY v HOU Lijiang.
Anti dive compositions on which the Outlaws are so comfortable appear to be narrow but effective. Triple tank so far being fielded on only a few maps and only on specific sections. With the success Houston has had teams should only expect to see the composition played more frequently. If triple or quad tank play becomes the norm teams who have relied on dive compositions will struggle. Boston and Philadelphia are teams hungry for a place amidst the league’s best who could be hamstrung by a meta-shift.
Houston Outlaws Match Recap
New York won 4-0 over the Houston Outlaws. Defeating a top team demonstrates how effective the Excelsior are with their roster made whole. The Outlaws played great against New York on Lijiang Tower. Houston’s trademark anti dive thwarted NYXL on point one. Houston made strategic adjustments on both the second and third points. Despite executing to a high level the Koreans were simply a touch better. The level of play on Lijiang’s Control Center and Night Market was especially high but, the crown jewel was King’s Row. Prior to their contest both the New York Excelsior and Houston Outlaws were undefeated on the map at 3–0. Houston’s stocky front line of Reinhardt, Zarya and Roadhog pushed the Excelsior’s defense to the breaking point.
Map of the Match: King’s Row
The Excelsior defense was not able to withstand Houston’s tidal offense. The three tanks all synergized well together and the entire team could readily follow up on graviton surge. Austin “Muma” Wilmot one of the few tanks to play Reinhardt on a regular basis showed their is room for the hero in the meta. New York’s defense has seemed beatable in both matches and has so far been bailed out by incredible attacking. Repeated earthshatters and graviton surges rebuked the Excelsior for what seemed an eternity. Eventually though New York’s dive broke through the gauntlet and Houston was unable to manage a consistent defense. Both the second and third point were taken in an almost unbroken series of play.
Who needs defense?
NYXL went with an older style two sniper offense designed to create an impossible crossfire and eliminate the enemy Widowmaker. The opening maneuver was successful with Libero taking the scalps of both Widowmaker and Tracer. With the opposition damage down New York cruised to an easy point A capture. King’s row finished 6–5 in favor of New York and it was only a lesser time bank that finally put the hopes of Houston out of reach. The Outlaws second attack once again showed extreme potency however they entered overtime just prior to the second checkpoint.
New York was unfamiliar with the Outlaws compositions as they are not played by the majority of the rest of the league. While the health of the team should only increase as Ark’s wrist mends I would look for many teams to take inspiration from Houston’s performance. Despite not winning a map few teams have played the Excelsior so closely and made them look so uncomfortable.
Looking Ahead to Week 3
New York have most of the heavy lifting out of the way with matches against Houston and London in the books. Week three will see the Excelsior battle Philadelphia Fusion and San Francisco Shock, teams lower in the standings. While the Fusion defeated New York in Stage 1 it would be a much bigger upset to see the Korean squad drop a second match. New York has yet to play the Shock but the California based squad has shown no indication they could challenge the Excelsior. The two teams will be familiar with each other though as they were frequent scrim partners thanks to the stage 1 schedule. The next big match up for NYXL will be in week 4 when they play the second place Seoul Dynasty who have strung together a successful Stage 2 despite showing weakness at the end of the opening stage.