Overwatch League 2019 Stage 1 playoff preview: Who will advance?

Blizzard Entertainment
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Do-Hyeon “Pine” Kim/ Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Do-Hyeon “Pine” Kim/ Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment /

New York Excelsior

Seed: 2nd (7-0 record)

Quarterfinal Opponent: Seoul Dynasty (7th seed)

Match Time: Thursday, March 21 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET

Some teams from the Overwatch League’s inaugural season have hit a bit of a sophomore slump. The New York Excelsior is not one of those teams. If anything, this season’s squad just shows how impressive last year’s team was. Excelsior has gone 7-0 with a largely similar roster to last year, despite losing supports Junhwa “Janus” Song and Yeonjun “ArK” Hong and coach Hyeong-Seok “WizardHyeong” Kim to the expansion team, Washington Justice.

Carrying over from last year, inaugural MVP SeongHyun “JJonak” Bang is continuing his top form. His damage and healing output per ten minutes is higher than it was in 2018 and acts as a fine complement to players like main tank Yeon-Gwan “Nenne” Jeong and support Haeseong “Libero” Kim, two of the league’s top damage dealers.

The recent trade of ArK to the Washington Justice means the Excelsior take a hit to their depth at healer, but it’s a risk the Excelsior can afford to take. Not only do they have two of the league’s best healers during a very healer-heavy meta, but they also have one of the most consistent starting fives in the league. Four Excelsior players have played every minute of match time this season. The two others each played more than 90 percent of the total match time.

The Excelsior defeated the Dynasty 3-1 in Week 3. Last year, the Excelsior swept the season series.