It was palpable the intensity of the situation, as the screen counted down until the APAC loser bracket match was to start. There aren’t two teams who have a longer history that intertwines or wanted this win as bad. Yes, all teams want to make the Grand Finals, but for these two teams, it is a different kind of want. Both teams are legends in the APEX scene and have only gained more fans since joining the Overwatch League. Their Overwatch Legacy seems to be the narrative that has followed them as long as they have been formed as a team.
Seoul and New York both had so much to prove in their unique situations. The NYXL have the narrative of Mr. Consistency throughout all the seasons and have a fire to prove themselves in the postseason. While the Seoul Dynasty have always come up a little too short when it comes to the seasons or the playoffs. As they geared up to head into the match it was apparent that it wasn’t just the playoffs on the line, but also the potential of liberating themselves from the narrative that was built around them if they won.
Narratives are essential in the storylines to dramatize the season to be more ‘interesting.’ Though these narratives are based on moments of truth, they are continued to be attached to a team even when the roster in which it was created around has dissipated. This then comes to define a team. How can a team overcome a narrative? Does it become motivation for a team to prove themselves or drag on the back of their minds as they play those essential matches.
Both teams are facing each other, but with a mirror between them. Though they are playing each other, their real battle is against their reflection of who the community sees who these teams used to be.
Just as many teams in the league the roster of the NYXL has shifted throughout the seasons. But the core of Jongryeol ‘Saebyeolbe’ Park, Sunghyeon ‘Jjonak’ Bang, Donggyu ‘Mano’ Kim, and Haesong ‘Libero’ Kim are still present. Of that core, it is only Saebyeolbe who was an LW member during the APEX era. The team mentioned in their recent interview segment that they want to win with this iteration of the roster. The NYXL has a large number of members still remaining from the original team and before others leave they want to create an unforgettable memory together.
The players had faith during the previous stages that they could and would make it. There were always speculations of who was weak or underperforming, though the team held a respectable 7 overall with a +20 map differential. Though the overwhelming support of their fans outweighed any speculations.
Their fan base is one of the most dedicated, which was seen in the opening week of Season 3. The fans came out in droves to support their team. A big motivation for the NYXL is not only for themselves but to make their fans proud and to win it for them as well.
It is heard all the time that these teams are investments and not families. That is further reinforced during the off-seasons when parts retire or go to other teams. The relationships between the team members are the glue and strength. They support and comfort each other in the good and bad times that is headed by captain Saebyeolbe.
What this match meant to the NYXL
This match meant so much to the NYXL and the fans. Since the inception of the Overwatch League, the team was plagued by the old narrative from the core of LW struggled with. No matter how consistent they are during the regular season it always comes down to the offseason playoffs. It is not just the team that wants to shake it off but also the fans who are tired of hearing the same excuse being used as an accusatory remark. This match not only was facing an old rival, but having that mutual respect and friendship made it even tenser in that the players wanted to show their all for themselves, their opponents, and their fans.
The Seoul Dynasty now look nothing like the Seoul Dynasty of Season 1. Unlike the NYXL, the core has dissolved and moved around. Jinmo ‘Tobi’ Yang stands firm as the lone survivor of the title of a Lunatic-Hai member and the Season 1 Overwatch League OG.
Though the look of the Dynasty is different than the NYXL they are also plagued with a narrative. They were named the Dynasty and expectations were held to a high bar starting the league by analysts and the Overwatch League Talent. It is the story of underperforming and not living up to their potential that has followed them.
This seems as this is the last chance to have the last shred of Lunatic-Hai win what feels like has evaded them for ages. It is a row on row of apologies from the players. Even when the players win they apologize and say they didn’t play as well as they should’ve. It is a constant state of apologies that might stop if they win it all.
What this match meant to the Seoul Dynasty
This match against the NYXL was symbolic. It was the chance for the team to metaphorically shed off their previous two seasons in which they were regularly beaten by their friendly foes. It came from a place of high respect and the knowledge that the NYXL was a key factor and motivation in the Seoul Dynasty wanting to get better. This match held the past and present on a scale for the Dynasty of whether they were still stuck in the past or where no longer letting their past define them.
NYXL vs. Seoul Dynasty
These are two teams that walked similar paths. Both reaching up to the highest point to touch something they can’t yet see. Even as teams of which the narrative was built around disappear it shows that the burden is generational. It was in the loser bracket that the two teams that both had a fire to win for themselves, each other, and their fans met, as they tried to prove that they were more than the backstory that analysis gave them.
Fans knew that no matter the outcome of the match it was going to be painful. To see either team put their everything into a season, a match, a map to be going home only to strengthen what they were all actually fighting against, freeing themselves from the narrative.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage:
For more esports posts and memes, check out Lauren’s twitter, @Daebakowl
“From Our Haus to Yours”