Season 2 of the Overwatch League has gotten off to quite the interesting start, but so far, even the highest points of the season have been without one of the brightest stars in competitive Overwatch.
Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon made his debut for the New York Excelsior as a hitscan specialist, completely taking over entire maps like Ilios with dominant King of the Hill performances on the likes of McCree and Widowmaker. While NYXL's DPS talent has always been stacked, Pine has managed to carve out a niche of value and remain a fan favorite despite limited playing time due to a specialty role.
Pine has yet to play a single match for NYXL in season 2 of OWL. The GOATS meta favors a Zarya player in the DPS slot, and rookie phenom Jeong "Nenne" Yoen-kwan has done a stellar job holding down that role. The NYXL were sitting with a 12-0 record after a methodical dispatching of Philadelphia Fusion 3-1 on Thursday evening.
However, next day's match saw the Atlanta Reign get the better of NYXL to a 3-1 score as well, the latter of whom looked out of sorts without a day off in-between matches. Following NYXL's first loss of the 2019 season, Pine joined Inven Global to discuss the team's flaws in preparation for the week, his personal focus this season, and Nenne's rookie of the year campaign.
We're here with Big Boss Pine of NYXL. How are you doing today?
I'm really good. Well, because we lost today, I'm a bit sad, but it's okay.
This was the first regular season loss for NYXL. What do you think went wrong today?
The conditioning of the players who played today wasn't very good. That was probably the biggest reason we lost.
Do you think the Atlanta Reign played better than expected, or was it entirely an underperformance by NYXL?
Every team makes mistakes, and today we happened to make a lot of mistakes. We'll try our best to fix those mistakes for next time.
We haven't seen much of you this season due to the meta. What have you been working on during this season?
I'm just trying to help the team as much as possible, even though I am not playing that much. I am practicing a lot of heroes, heroes that might not be meta right now, but to prepare for the next meta. I can't say which heroes, but there are a lot. Generally, I'm making sure I'm ready for a Widowmaker meta or a DPS-centric meta.
What changes to the game will need to happen for a DPS-centric meta to come back to the forefront of competitive play?
...If Brigitte gets removed from the game, maybe...
Is there any balancing that hero? We've seen her nerfed over and over again and she remains as relevant as ever?
In all seriousness, the reason teams don't play DPS is because Tanks and Supports do just as much damage as DPS heroes, and also have more HP, mobility, and utility. Overall, the latter are simply better heroes than DPS heroes. If we want to change the meta to favor DPS, a lot of things need to change, not just Brigitte.
There are certainly a lot of factors, but more teams are playing DPS in stage 2 than in stage 1. Why do you think this is?
Tanks and Supports are easier to learn and play because DPS heroes require flawless individual play. Tanks and Supports' main strengths are skills and abilities, which are easy to use. You don't need precision like you do when you play DPS.
Of course, it's impossible to always be perfect and always play flawlessly, so Tanks and Supports are more optimal because they allow more margin for error. Even if your team is better at DPS comps, Tanks and Supports are the optimal choice.
In the same vein, Nenne has done a great job filling the Zarya role for NYXL. What do you think of his play?
Nenne is playing really, really well. He should win rookie of the year this season.
Nenne has pulled other heroes out recently, too, including Widowmaker. Did you give him any tips on playing Widowmaker?
Since I'm not too familiar with the current meta, I haven't been able to give Nenne too many tips. However, I did talk to him about certain situations and gave him situational tips. To clarify, I wasn't teaching Nenne; it was more of a conversation between the two of us.
Given your experience as a veteran in the Overwatch League, are you able to help him outside of the game in any sense?
The only thing I did was talk to Nenne after our Stage 1 Playoffs loss against Seoul Dynasty in the Quarterfinals. I told him that he played really well and not to worry about it, but that was about it.
Do you think that losing today and getting that out of the way before the Stage 2 Playoffs will help NYXL in the long run?
Of course. This was our first back-to-back game with no off days in-between. From playing two days in a row, we have learned that we need to prepare harder and better next time we have this schedule.
Thank you so much for the interview Pine, I appreciate your time. Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans who are waiting for your return?
I wish I could say this in English and not through a translator, but I'm not able to, so I'm kind of sad: Some of my fans are kind of concerned about me, and some are sad that I am not playing. I want to tell them that I am okay. Do not worry about me, I am doing well. Just like any sport or esport, some players don't play because of the meta or strategic trends.
When the meta favors Pine, I will be ready, and I will show the fans what I can do.