More Overwatch League News: AMA with Pine of New York Excelsior
The first stage of the Overwatch League is now over, and Stage 2 is right around the corner.
The best Overwatch players around the globe played against each other in the OWL, and the best of the best was the New York Excelsior.
Jjonak’s incredible charge shots as Zenyatta, SBB’s Tracer, Mano and Meko who have peaked as Roadhog and Orisa, Libero’s Pharah, and Pine, the ultimate seventh man. Although the NYXL was defeated by the London Spitfire in the title match, they are more than ready for Stage 2, and all too eager to once again prove that they are the best.
On Feb 20th, two days before the beginning of Stage 2, Inven had a chance to talk to the pros of NYXL. Let’s hear about their thoughts on Stage 1, and their expectations for Stage 2.
Q. Hello everyone. I believe this is the first interview that the whole team is participating in. Would you like to say hello to your fans out there?
SBB: Yo Hisashiburi everyone! Good to see you all, haha.
Mano: Hi, this is Mano, the main tank in NYXL.
Ark: This is Ark, the Mercy player. I’m afraid I might not be able to speak much today because I have a toothache.
Jjonak: Hello, this is Jjonak, the support player in NYXL.
Janus: Good to see you.
Q. The first stage of the OWL is now over. You must have been preparing for it a lot. How do you feel now that the first stage is over?
Ark: Although we lost the title match, I’m glad we won first place.
Jjonak: I was nervous because it was the first league that I’m part of in a foreign country, but the sound of our fans cheering for us made me feel relaxed.
SBB: I was happy that a lot of people cheered for us.
Janus: It was such a spectacular season. A lot of unexpected events happened this season. I died from unexpected attacks, and we defeated the Seoul Dynasty, whom we haven’t won against for ages.
Pine: I’m glad that I won’t be seeing any more Mercy in Stage 2. [Laughs]
Q. Although you lost the title match, you won first place in Stage 1. What did you take away from Stage 1?
Jjonak: Although we are the members of team NY, we are foreigners to the people who actually live in NY. After winning first place we became really popular to everyone and I’m thankful for that.
Mano: Our team was a bit underrated it the beginning of the season. I’m glad we could disprove that.
Libero: Things that I got… bad comments probably? [Everyone else laughs]
Q. Now that you have played against all the teams in the OWL, how would you compare APEX and the OWL?
Ark: It’s hard to compare the OWL with APEX. We play approximately 1 match every two weeks in APEX, but we have to play at least 2 matches in a week in the OWL. But for the fans, the OWL might be much more fun to watch because the team comps are similar to the comps for regular competitive play.
Pine: APEX is more challenging to me, because in APEX every team has more time to prepare and can come up with some unexpected strategies.
Mano: I don’t know about one tournament being more challenging than the other, but in the OWL I get to meet players from all around the world so the team comps are more diverse in the OWL.
Meko: In APEX there are amateur teams and teams that don’t have a good practice environment, unlike the OWL where every team practices and plays in a good environment. I think that’s what makes the league teams very good in general.
Janus: The differences between Korean teams and non-Korean teams are more clear in the OWL.
Q. Which team was most impressive to you in Stage 1?
Pine: Fusion. Not only because the Philadelphia Fusion was really good, but also because of the Black Cat D.Va cosplay.
Libero: The most impressive moment was when the Florida Mayhem entered the stadium. [Everyone laughs]
Q. NYXL’s tanks, Mano and Meko, were some of the best in Stage 1. What could be the secret behind the awesome teamplay?
Mano: Team NY mainly focuses on teamplay, and both Meko and I like to focus on teamplay too. I think that’s why the tanks are working so well.
Meko: But with the Roadhog-Orisa comp, all I have to do is throw Chain Hook where Mano uses Halt. It’s a natural pattern rather than a planned strategy.
SBB: What? So Mano was the only one that does teamplay? [Laughs]
Q. In Stage 1, the team who had better tanks won the match in a lot of cases. Do you have any input on this?
Janus: Tanks must be there to protect the team, so the DPS can deal damage.
Mano: In my opinion, the current meta makes it hard for tank to survive. The tanks are doing great as long as they don’t die.
Meko: It was hard for all tank heroes, but it was especially hard for Winston to survive. Winston becomes a free ultimate charge for the enemies in many cases. Surviving was the most crucial thing that the tanks had to do, and we were good at surviving.
Q. After the recent update, the meta shifted to Quad or Triple Tanks-Moira-Lucio. Do you think this will be the meta for tanks in Stage 2?
Janus: In my opinion, the tank pair will be Reinhardt&Zarya, Roadhog&Orisa, or Winston&D.Va. These are the most common pairs, and it won’t be much different in Stage 2.
Meko: But in certain maps, Rein&Zarya or Roadhog&Orisa will be used more than Winston&D.Va.
Mano: I think I’m the only one who has a different opinion. I think a lot of teams are used to Winston&D.Va, so they won’t be able to change their compositions that easily.
Q. (To Tanks) Who do you think is your rival?
Pine: Should only the tanks answer this question? Or can other people answer this question as well?
SBB: He asked specifically to the tanks. But you are the tank for our team in real life.
Mano: Miro. In fact, I said that Miro is my rival in one of my interviews last year. I’ve never defeated him in leagues because Miro didn’t play in the match against the Seoul Dynasty. I want to meet him in Stage 2 and win against him.
Janus: Fate in LA and Muma in Houston. They are really good.
Meko: Fury in London. I remember losing to London when Fury was the main player. I want to take my revenge.
Q. (To Libero) You played for almost all matches as the main DPS. How would you evaluate your performance in Stage 1?
Libero: I made a lot of mistakes in Stage 1. I shouldn’t repeat the same mistakes in Stage 2. My teammates are really good, so if I can improve and fix my mistakes then we’ll play as well as we usually do in Stage 2.
Q. How would other DPS players evaluate Libero’s performance in Stage 1?
Libero: 65 out of 100.
Pine: 50, because of Hanzo. [Laughs]
SBB: I’ll give him 90. I’ve never noticed before, but when Libero fights an enemy Pharah as Pharah, he always wins.
Q. (To Libero) As SBB said, there were many fights between your Pharah and an enemy Pharah in Stage 1. Are you confident about Pharah vs Pharah fights? Who was the most impressive Pharah that you saw in the OWL?
Libero: When an enemy Pharah attacks me, I attack back. Or else I just stay on the ground. DreamKazper seems to be good at Pharah but I’ve never met him in the matches. I’d like to play against him if I have a chance.
Q. (To Pine) You have been in the same team with SBB for a long time, and the two of you used to be a DPS pair in your former team. How come we don’t see the SBB-Pine pair that much in the OWL? Is it because the Libero-Pine pair is more effective?
Pine: Libero can play all heroes that I can play, except for Widowmaker. But SBB can play Widowmaker, so the Libero-SBB comp or the Libero-Pine comp can pick a wider variety of heroes.
Q. Pine, what is the secret behind your popularity?
Pine: My dominating McCree plays during the matches against Boston and Houston could be one reason, and my dance moves, which my fans love, could be another reason. I think I left a nice first impression on them.
Q. (To SBB) In a recent interview, you said that you were not satisfied with your performance. Is it still the same?
SBB: I had a hard time adapting to the new environment when I first came to the US. That must have affected my game performance. My performance is not bad, but I’m still not satisfied with it.
Q. A lot of people think that the Mercy comp decline starting from Stage 2. It looks like the Moira-Lucio-Single DPS comp is the new comp. What do you guys think about the shift in the metagame? Is the NYXL preparing anything specific for the new meta?
Pine: I’m not sure about each team’s composition, but I’m sure that Mercy will be 80% to 100% gone.
Libero: I’m not sure about anything… I can’t give you a definite answer right now. We’ll have to see how it goes after the season starts.
Q. (To Supports) The two of you had to play as Supports in all of the matches because the NYXL does not have a substitute Support player. What are some advantages and disadvantages of this?
Ark: Teamwork-wise, not having any substitute Supports is better. Knowing how my teammate plays - for example, what he does when an enemy Winston is focusing on him - is very important. But not having any substitute players can be a big risk, because one of us might get sick before the match. I remember when I had a flu before the matchup against Dallas. We desperately needed a substitute player then.
Jjonak: I agree with Ark that not having any substitute Supports is better for teamplay. I felt okay throughout the season so…
Q. (To Jjonak) You proved yourself as one of the best Zenyatta players in the world. Who do you think is your rival as Zenyatta?
Jjonak: Ryujehong in the Seoul Dynasty and Bdosin in the London Spitfire. Ryujehong plays Zenyatta very safe and steady, while me and Bdosin tend to play more aggressively.
Q. After the huge nerf on Mercy, Mercy won’t be picked as much as before. Also, at the end of Stage 1, a lot of teams picked Moira and Lucio instead of Mercy. What are your thoughts on this meta shift?
Ark: Mercy won’t be picked as much as before. I wasn’t good at Mercy so I had to practice a lot. When the meta changes, I’m going to have to do the same for the new hero.
Jjonak: Mercy’s healing is powerful, but Mercy cannot heal through damage bursts like Zenyatta’s charge shot. Resurrection is too limited after the nerf, so the nerf will definitely affect Mercy in negative ways. But in my personal opinion, it will be more fun because the team comp can be more diverse.
Ark: We’ll have to see how it goes for a while after Stage 2 starts. Our team’s playstyle might change as well.
Q. The NYXL is especially famous for their solid strategies. How do you guys and the coaches exchange ideas for strategies?
Janus: We try to make the environment casual, throw in some jokes here and there.
Mano: I like team meetings where anyone can say anything. That’s how we can exchange more ideas.
Q. Who is the one that has the most ideas?
Pine: No one in particular.
Meko: Mano has some creative ideas.
Ark: Indeed. Mano has some eccentric yet creative ideas. Very eccentric, but somehow they work very well.
Q. Do you think trying to stick with plans and strategies too much is one of the weaknesses that the NYXL has?
Janus: Yes. I think that’s the biggest weakness that our team has. We are trying to be more flexible with strategies.
SBB: It’s a weakness that we have to overcome in Stage 2. It’s actually the biggest problem that we have.
Q. If you can have one non-Korean player in the NYXL, who would you want?
Pine: BABYBAY from the San Francisco Shock. He’s good at both hitscan heroes and Genji.
Mano: LiNkzr from Houston. His aim with hitscan heroes is amazing.
Ark: LiNkzr, if I have to pick only one.
Jjonak: LiNkzr. His aim is so good. I was surprised.
Q. What are your personal goals for Stage 2?
Pine: Winning will be the goal for all of us. Personally, I want to be more adjusted to the team’s strategies and compositions. I was about 60% blended in for Stage 1, and my goal for Stage 2 is to blend in up to 80%.
Janus: Ending Stage 2 with no loss!
Mano: I made a lot of mistakes in Stage 1, and I want to make up for those mistakes in Stage 2. I want my fans to remember me as the best tank in the world.
Libero: I want people to say something like “Libero is the best (hero name)”. For now, the hero would be Pharah. “Libero is the best Pharah.” like that.
Meko: I want every game to be a perfect game, not even with the smallest mistake.
Jjonak: MVP awards for every match? [Laughs]
SBB: And my goal is to stop Jjonak from reaching his goal. [Everyone laughs]
Ark: The highest Death rank among all Lucio and Mercy players.
SBB: You want to die the most?
Ark: [Laughs] No, I mean, I had the highest amount of healing and (the lowest number of) deaths in Stage 1, and I want to show everyone that I’ll still be the best even after the change in the meta.
SBB: Are you saying that you were the healer that died the most in Stage 1? How did we win all the matches? [Everyone laughs]
Q. Any last words for your fans?
Pine: I’m single. [Laughs] I’m just kidding. I will finish Stage 2 with no problems. We are all Korean, but we also have fans in America as well. I really want to thank all of them.
SBB: Hey, who knows? Maybe you will have a girlfriend soon if you are serious about it. [Laughs]
Ark: Um… I wish you wouldn’t be too harsh on us when we don’t play well. [Everyone laughs]
Janus: I want to thank our fans in Korea for cheering for us all the time. I’ll do my best in Stage 2.
Meko: I want to thank our fans in New York. We are foreigners to them, but they cheer for us and like us very much. It really cheers me up.
Libero: I will try my best to get the best results in Stage 2, and try not to get any injuries.
Mano: It want to thank all of you who cheer for us in Korea despite the time difference, and those of you who cheer for us here in the arena with our team’s uniforms on. All of you mean a lot to me. I will win the title match in Stage 2.
Jjonak: I tend to do better when I see my name in the community. Please send me both compliments and criticisms in the future as well.
SBB: Hisashiburi everyone!
More on Overwatch: London Spitfire - Ambitious Goals and the Upcoming Meta