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The Overwatch league is a push into establishing a structured esports league for Overwatch. Blizzard first announced the Overwatch League at Blizzcon 2016 and followed it up with almost a year of planning. The gap left in Overwatch esports during this time left a lot of dismayed fans. But the community’s response to the Opening day of Overwatch League has been nothing short of impressive. With over 400,000 fans tuning into Twitch for the first day, one can definitely call the League a success.
The Overwatch League consists of twelve teams in its first season. Slated for expansion in subsequent seasons, the League bears a strong tilt towards North American teams. There are nine teams from North America, One from Europe, One from South Korea and finally a Chinese team from Shanghai to finish the lineup. Each team is allowed a maximum of twelve players, with teams being allowed to substitute players after each map. The Overwatch League has seen investments from several non-endemic to esports investors such as the Kroenke family, Robert Kraft, Hersh Interactive amongst others. At the same time, we have some well-known esports organizations involved in the regular handling of the teams. EnVyUs, Misfits, Immortals, and Cloud9 are some of the most well-known esports organizations with rosters in multiple titles.
The Overwatch League started on January 10th, 2018 and will continue through August 2018. The league comprises four stages, each stage having five weeks of matches. The top three of each stage will receive prize money, along with show matches on the last Saturday of each stage. These so-called ‘title matches’ will be held on the last Saturday of each stage and feature the best players fighting for a prize money.
New York Excelsior won Stage 2 Playoffs and are comfortably leading the overall leaderboards for the League. They have put forth a really strong showing so far with London Spitfire definitely being their arch nemesis. But the western teams are definitely catching up as we saw Philadelphia Fusion reach the finals of Stage 2. The gap between the western and Korean teams is diminishing with each successive weak. This is what makes the Overwatch League extremely competitive and fun to watch. Shanghai Dragons, on the other hand, will be playing their first match against Los Angeles Valiant.
The Overwatch League Player Transfer window has closed and there will be no more player transfers until the end of the Season. With the new players joining the team, some teams are still looking for their first win of the Season ( Shanghai Dragons). But most of the teams which are in the middle of the pack will be looking towards ensuring a strong showing and appeasing their fans.
You can check out more information on the official website at Overwatchleague.com.
Credit to Liquipedia
Regular Season – January 10th – June 16th, 2018
- Matches in the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will play out live from the Blizzard Arena each Wednesday through Saturday. Though the season is divided into four stages, wins and losses will count towards teams’ full-season records and all-important seeding for the postseason. On the last Saturday of each stage, the top teams will compete for hefty bonuses and the title of stage winner.
- Stage 1 – January 10th – February 10th, 2018 
- Stage 2 – February 21st – March 24th, 2018
- Stage 3 – April 4th – May 5th, 2018
- Stage 4 – May 16th – June 16th, 2018
- All matches in the Regular Season will consist of four-map sets
- Each Stage of the Regular Season will have its own 8 map pool.
- The top team in each Division, and the next top 4 finishers from the entire league, advance to the Championship Playoffs in July.
New York Excelsior vs Houston Outlaws
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior Roster:
New York Excelsior came into the Overwatch league as probably the weakest Korean team on paper. The core formed the former LW Blue roster which had less number of achievements to their name as compared to Lunatic Hai, GC Busan, and Kongdoo Panthera. However, surprisingly the NYXL roster has been the best Overwatch team right now. They have been the top team in Stage 1 and Stage 2. The third stage also looks equally promising for the team.
New York Excelsior is owned by Jeff Wilpon, COO of the baseball team The New York Mets. They have Wizard Hyeong has the Head Coach on the roster as well as Pavane. The organization has made it’s best attempts to provide the players with all the ammunition they need in order to be successful.
The New York Excelsior lineup is made up of some amazing DPS players. Saebyeolbe is one of the best Tracers in the league. His level of gameplay keeps varying and he is always at the top. While he has changed his playstyle from taking individual battles against enemy tracers to diving the backlines, his effectiveness has not waned. Saebyeolbe remains one of the few players who has maintained their top form since the start of the League. He is an inspiration and is constantly updating the team’s morale.
For the most part, Libero is the other DPS on the NYXL roster. Libero is an average DPS who is helped immensely by the NYXL tanks in getting his name on the scoreboard. Along with Saebyeolbe, they form a lethal DPS combination. Pine has mostly been on the bench with his recent problems regarding his depression. Pine is a very high-risk high reward type of player for the NYXL roster. Ofcourse, they are working on integrating him into the roster in the correct manner, but the comfort level of the team is with Saebybeolbe and Libero on their starting roster.
Ofcourse the biggest part of the New York roster is their insanely talented support lineup. With JJonak and Ark on the support heroes, they do not lack the healing or the Damage required as a team. JJonak’s alternate fire volleys are so lethal that he can win the team fights on his own. Ofcourse being kept alive by Ark’s healing is what enables him to do the insane amount of damage to the opponents. Ark has shown himself to be a wonderful Mercy player but we have also seen his potential and performance on other support heroes. The two make a wonderful support combined with a lot of peeling for each other.
The two groups are joined together by the tank lineup. While not as impressive as that of Seoul Dynasty or London Spitfire, the tanks are functional. They know their role and enable the space created for their supports.
New York Excelsior has a comfortable lead at the top of the overall standings. With the way the team is performing right now, we expect them to want to win every match. They should be able to top Stage 3 and it would be a surprise if they did not.
Houston Outlaws Roster:
Houston Outlaws is owned by Hector Rodriguez, Owner, and CEO of OpTic Gaming. Coming from an esports background, they have a lot of experience in managing an esports team. Houston Outlaws, till recently was one of the only team with an all western roster. However, when they added Arhan to their roster, they also joined the rest of the teams in having a Korean player on their roster.
Houston Outlaws presents the perfect study of a team whose results reflect the changing meta in different stages. Stage 1 saw them use the overpowered Junkrat to its full effect. Jake, obviously remains one of the best Junkrat till date in the Overwatch League. However, in Stage 2, Jake’s Tracer has been quite ineffective compared to the better teams in the league.
Houston Outlaws’ fate relies heavily on the performance of their DPS players. They have a wide variety of DPS players in the team such as Mendokusaii, Jake, Linkzr, and Clockwork. However, they have mostly been only using Jake and Linkzr on the starting roster. Linkzr is a very effective Genji and a widowmaker and has been able to match the best in the Overwatch League. However, his picks with Widowmaker are not always followed by a team fight win for the roster. That stems from the problems that they face in finishing of kills fast enough in order to not give the opponents a foothold into the round.
Jake is the centerpiece of any conversation revolving around Houston’s performance. His effectiveness and the loss of form have not been replicated by similar success stories on other players. So this puts a lot of pressure on Linkzr to perform, often times with impossible
statistics. Houston Outlaws need to figure out their DPS combination in order to be totally effective with their lineup.
The tanks on the team are all individually well-known players on certain heroes. So while Spreeis amazing on the Zarya, Coolmatt is known for his D’va. So when we see a particular roster change, it becomes evident to the opponent as to what the starting heroes for the team would be. It is not impossible to correctly guess the hero composition for the Houston Outlaws, simply depending on the players on the roster for the map. Houston has been trying to field and mix and match the tank players on different tank heroes.
Arhan was recently added to the Houston Outlaws roster. His addition comes as the team feels they need to integrate the Korean culture into their roster. With strict practice and good communication, the current Houston Outlaws roster can become a very good team. However, it is still unknown how far they can go based on their past few days of practice.
Houston Outlaws have started off Stage 3 with a 3-2 win over London Spitfire followed by a 0-4 loss to Boston Uprising. The difference in their playstyle in the two matches is quite evident. They are slightly inconsistent right now and it is difficult to judge which Houston team will show up in this match.
The outcome of this match will depend heavily on the performance of Houston Outlaws. As we mentioned previously, Houston Outlaws is a team which has variable performances at this stage itself. Their 0-4 loss to Boston Uprising is definitely surprising for a team which recently won 3-2 against London Spitfire. It does seem that they are very rigid in their performances and once the opponents figure them out, it becomes difficult for the team to adjust.
Jake will have to carry the weight of the team on its shoulders. The Tracer player is integral to the performance of the team. We are assuming that they will be fielding the same roster as they have in the previous weeks, which right now, seems to be their best roster. However, that does put Houston Outlaws in a precarious situation as the fate of the team’s results depends on him. Houston Outlaws also need better coordination as a team in order to strengthen their attacks. While they are notorious for getting amazing kills with their DPS ultimates, it is based on individual performances. In order to build up to these ultimates, they often rely on several failed attempts.
New York Excelsior obviously is the best teams in the League. The NYXL roster has developed
an amazing coordination and synergy as a roster. Peeling for their backline has become second nature to the team, and they are always able to protect JJonak and ARK. Saebyolbe’s different play styles provide adequate protection for the support lineup. Once he is able to take care of the opponent’s Tracer, which he should be able to do with ease in this matchup, he is free to harass and potentially eliminate the enemy support lines.
We recommend a medium sized bet on New York Excelsior based on their performance and previous matchups against Houston Outlaws.