New York Excelsior returned to the Blizzard Arena stage in week one of the Overwatch League 2019 season. Coming from a disappointing inaugural playoff run, the New York team looks to return to their spot as the best team in the regular season. However, it looks like they will have their work cut out for them. Returners such as San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty have put on impressive performances with new and improved rosters. Expansion teams like Hangzhou Spark and Vancouver Titans have new talent who have been waiting for their time in the limelight and the competition is certainly a lot tougher this year. Even the meta seems to be something that keeps NYXL from being as dominant as they were before. The Dive oriented compositions that allowed NYXL’s star DPS players such as Saebyeolbe and Pine to completely dismantle the competition, have been swapped to the less flashy and less solo carry-esque triple tank/triple support.
Nevertheless, New York started off their season with a stirring 2-0 record against Boston Uprising and Washington Justice, taking the teams to a 2-1 and 3-1 score respectively.
Boston Uprising proved to be a formidable opponent, as the surprise promotion of their two-way main tank, Fusions, gave their relatively new and unproven team a center piece and gave Boston a triumphant victory on Numbani as well as a draw on Horizon Lunar Colony. While Uprising was able to rock the battle in the front line, it was the versatility of the off-tank MekO flexing on Sombra that allowed NYXL to completely stifle the Uprising tanks and to take the win on Nepal and the final map, Route 66.
Facing off against Uprising turned out to be more of a nail biter than maybe the team and its fans may have wanted, but the XL managed to find their tempo and take the win. However, it was against Justice where NYXL were able to show off their command over the new tank dominated meta.
The match between XL and Justice was one of the most hyped up games to watch coming into week one, as it had one of the more interesting story lines in the league. Justice had acquired former main tank Janus and former coach WizardHyeong during the off-season, and so the stage was set to see where the real contribution to NYXL’s success in Season 1 came from. Would the NYXL suffer without Wizard’s concocted strategies? Or would the team make it through this change in their team? Based in the result of the game, it became clear that the NYXL had no problem adapting and performing in the new meta. It was a dominant performance over the D.C team, with only a one map loss on Horizon Lunar Colony featuring an unsuccessful attempt at triple DPS 1st point attack.
Now, in Week 2, the NYXL faces challenges from two returning Season 1 teams in the LA Valiant and the Houston Outlaws. Both teams are looking to secure their first wins in the new season, and if the NYXL isn’t careful, they might just succeed.
The LA Valiant are starting Week 2 with an 0-1 record, losing in a close map 5 series to the Hangzhou Spark. Even though they are starting win-less, the LA Valiant are widely considered to be a stage, maybe even season, playoffs contender. They are a team that has been acclaimed for their high-level synergy and team coordination, with plenty of hero plays coming from Season 1 returners in off-tank Space and flex support Izayaki. In a meta like 3/3, it is important that the NYXL control the speed of the game, utilizing MekO’s Sombra and relying on their own synergy that they’ve established together throughout the past year.
The Houston Outlaws enters in at 0-2 after being taken to a map 5 twice in Week 1 by both the Toronto Defiant and Boston Uprising. The Outlaws are in a different position than the Valiant, being regarded as one of the weaker teams in this meta. The NYXL could treat this as an easy win but need to be careful. What the Texas gunslingers lack in 3/3 proficiency, they make up for in versatility with stellar Sombra play coming from their newest addition in DPS player Danteh.
Both teams are hungry for their first win, and the increase in competition overall throughout the league and will make staying at the top a lot more difficult than last year. However, if there is any team that can accomplish this, it’s the NYXL. They have an excellent coaching staff to keep the team’s strategies sharp and ready for even the strongest of teams. While, we haven’t seen the debut of the long-awaited Flower, new addition Nenne has been wowing the league with his prowess on the Zarya, playing a key role in the NYXL’s first two victories. The NYXL have a good opportunity to go up 4-0 in the standings this week.
You can catch The Overwatch League games at https://www.twitch.tv/overwatchleague or watch them in person with Rutgers Overwatch, every Friday from 8pm-midnight in the S.E.R.C 211 on Busch campus. Additionally, if you’re looking to sink your teeth into some local New York esports action, NYXL will be hosting a LAN/Viewing Party next Friday at the Helix Esports Center in North Bergen, NJ. For tickets and event information, check out their website at https://nyxllanparty.splashthat.com/