A new off-tank? In this economy?
Throughout the history of sports, e or otherwise, there have been countless instances in which a player becomes synonymous with their team. Wayne Rooney and Manchester United, Lebron James and the Cav’s, Tom Brady and the Patriots, etc. Suffice to say, while perhaps on a smaller scale, it would be hard to imagine the New York Excelsior without their trusty off tank, Tae-hong “MekO” Kim on stage. However, as a spectator and fan, it’s important to remember a harsh but real truth about these professional players, there are more factors than just team loyalty. In a twitter post on Thursday, the NYXL announced that MekO’s contract had concluded with the team, and thanked him for his work. This, of course, caused immediate panic among the XL fan-base, leaving them to wonder, what’s next for MekO? And moreover, who is there to replace him?
1: Meko (the sequel)
Yes, this is kind of a cop-out, but the conclusion of a contract is different from a player being “cut” from the team. As New York’s only free agent, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kim is looking to renegotiate his terms with the organization, whether that be for more pay or something else is yet to be known. However, as was the case with Los Angeles Gladiators Coach Dpei, fans know that OWL teams are not afraid to pump out alarming twitter announcements like MekO’s even if they were still in negotiations with the organization. If the NYXL were to put out an announcement in the coming days welcoming Kim back to the NY family, it would not be surprising in the slightest. That being said, MekO’s own announcement on his twitter suggests that he is exploring other opportunities.
2: Void (LA Gladiators)
One of the many LA Gladiators players currently in free agency is Jun-woo “Void” Kang. A D.Va and Zarya specialist, Void struggled slightly in the latter half of the season and in postseason adjusting to the new tank hero Sigma. Despite this, Void and the rest of the Gladiators put up a respectable fight in the playoffs, knocking the Hangzhou Spark out of the winners bracket. Void could certainly be a valid replacement, if the price is right.
3: Zunba (Seoul Dynasty)
Widely regarded as one of the former best of the best off tanks, this APEX Veteran has had a rough go of it on the Seoul Dynasty, with the team under-performing across two seasons. Having an almost identical hero pool to MekO, zunba could be easily slotted into the team, bringing with him a wealth of pro experience. However, with home stadiums and games rapidly approaching in the 2020 season, New York’s offer would have to be substantial enough to convince Zunba the move is worth it.
4. BiaNcA (XL2)
While it’s debatable as to whether or not this 17-year-old off-tank is “OWL Ready”. It would be a very logical next step for the NYXL to make after developing this talent in contenders. While the current XL2 roster is relatively new and unproven, their surprise performance in the Seoul Gauntlet shows that the team and its players are rapidly improving. If nothing else, BiaNcA could be used a interim off-tank until a more permanent solution is found.
In conclusion, while none of these players might be able to fill the MekO shaped holes in the fan’s hearts, the NYXL are certainly not lacking in options for his successor. It will be exciting to see just what direction they choose to take.
Michael “Modelo” O’Brien is 22 years old and a little too obsessed with the NYXL, for more hot takes on the OWL and everything else, give him a follow on Twitter @ModeloFrags
Photos Courtesy of Robert Paul and Liquipedia
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