The NYXL’s first week of the 2020 season will be their first ever games played in front of their hometown crowd. The hype from playing at their own homestand for opening week should give them a great start heading into this grueling season.
Their offseason was relatively quiet as far as player releases, but the few moves they made were big. The NYXL parted ways with longtime head coach Hyeon-sang “Pavane” Yu and promoted assistant coach Yong-cheol “imt” Jeong to take the helm. Ju-hyeop “WhyNot” Lee was brought on as assistant to fill imt’s previous position. The coaching changes could provide a hiccup for the Excelsior, and they will need to adapt quickly to succeed.
The NYXL added strength to their DPS pool with Seung-jun “WhoRU” Lee, though he is unlikely to play this week. Support addition Chan-hee “Mandu” Kim is ineligible to play until June but will provide some depth in his role later. The tank line will be the focus of the early season, as off-tank Tae-hong “MekO” Kim has been released and was replaced by Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi and Dong-wook “BiaNcA” Kim. The success of the NYXL’s season will depend on how quickly HOTBA and BiaNcA can acclimate to the team’s playstyle.
Week One Matchups
London Spitfire, February 8
New York’s first game of the season will be against 2018 Champions, the London Spitfire. However, almost no players from their 2018 Grand Finals roster are still with the team. Only Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung remains from the Spitfire’s 2019 roster, leaving this London team at a disadvantage against the largely veteran NYXL.
The Spitfire do have one card to play for their match against the NYXL. Former New York head coach Pavane has joined London as an assistant coach. Aside from Pavane, London has also added assistant coaches Sung-hoon “SNT” Kim (AKA “aWesomeGuy”) and Young-bin “Twinkl” Lim. Pavane, SNT and newly promoted head coach Cheol-yong “Agape” Hong have worked together before which may ease the transition.
Last season, the Spitfire finished with a 16-12 record, and were eliminated from the playoffs in round one of the Lower Bracket. For 2020, they will have to work together quickly and adjust to the changing format if they want a third playoff showing.
If the NYXL take the stage as a cohesive team, their season opener match should result in their first win.
PREDICTION: NYXL wins, 4-0
Boston Uprising, February 9
The Boston Uprising have again largely rebuilt their roster but kept a strong trio of returning players. Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, Min-seob “Axxiom” Park and Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse will lead their new teammates into battle against daunting odds. The Uprising’s six new roster members look promising, but the new format might be rough on a 9-man roster.
The Uprising have signed Vytis “Mineral” Lasaitis as head coach, a position which had been previously vacant. Rollon “Mini” Hamelin returns for the third season as assistant coach and will be joined by newly signed Ilias “iLka” Kaskanetas and Valentin “Ascoft” Wulfman. With both teams under principally new coaching staffs, it remains to be seen which will adapt quicker under new leadership.
The Boston Uprising had a disappointing 2019 season and are hoping to improve upon their 8-20 record. Due to their lackluster performance and restructured roster, they are listed toward the bottom of the Power Rankings.
Between low expectations for Boston and the high NYC energy, the advantage for this match will go to the NYXL.
PREDICTION: NYXL wins, 4-0
Player to Watch
As the tank line will be a deciding factor in these matches- the player to watch is Dong-gyu “Mano” Kim. Mano has been a dependable and stable main tank for the NYXL since Season One. How he adjusts to either HOTBA or BiaNcA could be a weak point in the NYXL’s armor. As a result of the new “hero pool” rules, Mano could be partnered with either off-tank any given weekend. It will be on his seasoned shoulders to help make playstyle adjustments and fit the meta. If Mano holds the tank line strong, New York will have no problems securing double victories week one.
Questions? You can message Rhiannon on Twitter @Psyryn_OG and ask away.
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