A 1-1 weekend for the NYXL leads to many wondering how strong they really are.
For the New York Excelsior, there’s always been an expectation on them to be the best team in Overwatch. They were very clearly the best team in the first season, and clear favourites to win the second, how could they not be. It seems as though, winning should be the normality for this team, and when they lose that’s when something has gone terribly wrong.
Even player-manager Steven Kim noted to reporters on Sunday on how it seemed everyone was clamouring to get answers from them after the loss against the Philadelphia Fusion but were almost nonchalant and indifferent about the win against the Houston Outlaws. Obviously, New York would just be the clear favourites in the ladder match up, but it does strike an interesting point as to what is expected of the XL as a team.
Answering questions at the press conferences
For both days, head coach Yong-cheol "imt" Jeong lead the discussion. Players Jong-ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park, Sung-hyeon "JJoNak" Bang, Taesung "Anamo" Jung, and Hong-joon "HOTBA" Choi joined us after the match against Philadelphia, while Seung-jun "WhoRU" Lee and Dong-gyu "Mano" Kim joined us after the Houston match.
A loss against the Fusion
Everyone has questions as to what happened during that game, can you shed some light on the match?
Imt: “First two games, we had something prepared, but we couldn't show it. There was so many pickoffs going on that we kind of we were being cut out. For the third game we started to bring out what we had practiced and that's how we kind of recovered, but unfortunately, we couldn't make it work for the fourth and fifth map.” … “Definitely Fusion have a good dps player in Carpe, and he normally flanks more through the opposing teams but today he was really good. He moved around the D.Va's and tried to find places to hit us back. We tried to prepare for that and we kind of missed out.”
In map 2, the XL unsuccessfully pulled out a Sombra/Genji dive composition. What was the reasoning behind that?
SBB: “In the second game we tried to make a change. We normally practice with McCree/Mei, so we couldn't prepare that dive composition fully. We tried something different and it didn’t work out.”
Imt: “The part we did prepare was putting them into the corner, but we couldn’t properly execute our ultimates.”
There are two coaches we haven’t gotten to talk to yet, what do WhyNot and Garrincha bring to the team that we aren’t seeing?
Imt: “WhyNot covers individual coaching, seeing mistakes they [the players] make or things they want to adjust. Garrincha covers overall strategy. The work has been evenly divided and they both bring positives to the team.”
After a very successful weekend at home, how does it feel to get your first loss?
Imt: “I just became head coach, so I’m sad to lose this early. But it’s a long season, any team who survives until the end is going to be the team that takes it. We're going to forget about today's loss. It's just one game. We can win, we can lose, we're going to move forward.”
A win against the Outlaws
Firstly, everyone wants to know about Nenne and Libero. Is Nenne sick? What are your plans with Libero?
Imt: “Nenne isn’t sick. Everyone on this roster has something to offer. We think every single player has their own hero pool and their own strengths on each hero. For this meta, I think it’s not the time for Libero to be coming on. But he's getting ready, he's being prepared. You guys will see Libero soon enough, you don’t have to worry about it.”
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This was a very quick win, what is there to learn from a loss like this?
Imt: “Every team has different strategies. Even though we won we're still not satisfied. We had a lot of pickoffs and mistakes; we want to recover from that for our strategy.”
Mano: “Although the game was easier than yesterday, I still want to take lessons from the mistakes we’ve made.”
Something a bit more personal
I was able to sit down with Saebyeolbe and HOTBA after the second press conference. Although our time was brief, for me, the question I was thinking about the most was how does the team deal with the pressure of always expected to be the best?
SBB: “I have a lot of experience starting from Apex on LW Blue, I’ve had a long career in Overwatch. The pressure I think we face as a team is the expectation to win the championship, the grand finals. For us, that’s not the problem. The thing is that the team that wins that last match, is going to be the one’s smiling. So, a lot of people can say, ‘oh why is that team not winning’. That’s not what we're focusing on. We can lose, but as a team, we need to come back quickly. It’s a long season We can lose or win, whoever wins that last game is the winner, that’s our mentality.”
“When you see me get 'frustrated on stage', it’s not that I’m frustrated, I just feel sorry to my teammates that I didn’t perform better for my teammates. Losing is hard for everyone, but mostly I feel sorry for my teammates.”
HOTBA: “Yesterday, we didn’t perform well. A lot of pickoffs, mistakes, I acknowledge we didn’t perform well. I have a lot of experience; I went to the Grand Finals. the game yesterday was not good, I know it. But I want everyone to understand, when I play against Fusion, I want to destroy them.”
Do you guys miss South Korea? Is living in the US more related to your career, or do you feel connected here?
SBB: “From a young age, I’ve had the dream of coming to the states. I feel this is home, when I go to Korea it feels more like a vacation. Here I feel more at home and connected; I love living here.”
HOTBA: “Well now I have two homes. I love Korea, I love it here, I feel at home at both.”
Images courtesy of Robert Paul and Joshua Roberts for Blizzard Entertainment