By Blizzard Entertainment
New York Excelsior
Joined Overwatch League: July 2017
Academy Team: XL2
New York’s roster found immediate success in the Overwatch League. On the strength of a roster loaded with All-Star-caliber players, the NYXL posted a 7-3 record in Stage 1 before losing to London in the Stage Finals. The team bounced back from the loss with a 9-1 mark during Stage 2, which they capped with a Stage Final win against the Philadelphia Fusion. In Stage 3, New York repeated their 9-1 record and again won the stage title—defeating a then-unbeaten Boston team—and solidifying their position as the best team in the league. In what seemed like a ho-hum outcome for New York, the team went 7-3 in Stage 4 and were denied a third stage title by the Los Angeles Valiant. When the dust had settled on the regular season, the NYXL boasted the league’s best record (34-6), the league’s MVP (Jjonak), the Atlantic Division crown, the top seed, and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Despite all their success, New York’s season came to a rough and speedy end as they were swept out of the semifinals by a red-hot Philly team, denying them a chance to play in front of their hometown fans at the Grand Finals in Brooklyn.
2018 TEAM STATS AND LEAGUE RANKINGS
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Find out what the casting team thinks about the Excelsior’s lineup.
More: 2019 roster
Keys to Success
Overwatch League analyst Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson offers his thoughts on what Houston needs to focus on this season:
- The NYXL dominated the regular season in 2018, finishing as the only team to win two stage titles and amass an unreal 34-6 record. Towards the end of the season, though, as the playoffs approached and a new meta took shape, New York fell from grace. The NYXL will remain a favorite coming into the 2019 season, but their primary key to success has to be sustaining that same stellar, controlled play we saw throughout 2018—but this time in every meta.
- Likewise, the second takeaway from their disappointing playoff run should be to put more weight into those end-of-season games. For all their prowess, talent, and work, NYXL did not win the championship; history remembers the peaks rather than the constant high tide. Head coach Hyeon-Sang “Pavane” Yoo must ensure that the NYXL are in their best shape for the end of the season, with strategic preparation and a winner’s mentality set in place.
- One major difference this season will be the absence of coach and analyst Hyeong-Seok “WizardHyeong” Kim. Enormous credit was given to WizardHyeong throughout 2018 for his strategic work, as it appeared that he was having great effect, but the team was still willing to part ways with him in the offseason. Fans of the NYXL will be hoping that the team can fill whatever gap he left behind. With new community analyst Ju-Young “Imt” Park on board, NYXL clearly believes they can remain strategically sound without WizardHyeong’s input.
- Jun-Hwa “Janus” Song was also released in the offseason, allowing New York to completely focus on making Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim a superstar main tank. The team’s safe, reactionary style in 2018 often allowed Mano to slip underneath the radar, but he is easily one of the three best main tanks in the world and will play a huge role in their success in 2019. The NYXL’s game of main-tank musical chairs was difficult to understand as the season went on, and focusing on a clear core will be important to get the best out of a roster that now has five DPS players.
- Of those five DPS players, two are new to the team. The NYXL need to prepare their recruits and play to their strengths. Yeon-Gwan “Nenne” Jeong is a player with huge potential and adds a great Zarya that was previously missing from the mix, but his highly anticipated partner, Yeon-Oh “Fl0w3r” Hwang, was not even a starter for the XL2 academy team in recent months. Getting the best out of Fl0w3r presumably starts with persuading him to stop changing his name; it’s down to Pavane to assign him an identity now.
Catch the New York Excelsior in action in their season opener against the Boston Uprising on Thursday, February 14, at 5:30 p.m. PST. All 2019 season matches will be available live and on demand on overwatchleague.com, the Overwatch League app, our Twitch channel, MLG.com, and the MLG app.