The strongest team of the inaugural season of Overwatch League, New York Excelsior, had a good start in Season 2 by confirming a spot in the playoffs for stage 1. Since they weren’t able to win the championship at the Grand Finals in Season 1, they’re more determined this season. Even with two new faces to the team this season, Nenne and Anamo, the teamwork and synergy between the players were still proficient. We were able to have a chance to talk to the new players and their head coach.
The following is our interview with Nenne, Anamo, and head coach Pavane.
(To Pavane) You finished 1st in the regular season in the inaugural season. This season is going quite alright as well. How does the team keep doing well even with the meta shifts?
Pavane: I think we’re able to maintain good results because the three keys of the team: board, coaching staff, and players all are working together well.
Which game was the most difficult during the season?
Pavane: The match against San Francisco Shock was the closest. Although the set score was one-sided, the details of the games were very close. We also had a hard time against LA Valient because we made a lot of mistakes; I’m thankful to the players that they pulled off the victory in critical situations.
You’re preparing for the playoffs now. Which team and player are you looking out for the most?
Pavane: We’re looking out for the 1st place team, Vancouver Titans the most. They’ve played in the current meta the longest and they’ve won the last contenders championship. However, if we were to meet at the finals, I want to prove that we’re the best.
Anamo: I’ll pick Vancouver Titans as well. As for a player, San Francisco Shock’s ‘sinatraa’ was the most impressive on his performance on Zarya. Since he’s really good at playing aggressively, it’s fun to play against. I really want to beat him if we were to meet in the playoffs.
Nenne: For me as well, I’m looking out for Vancouver. For the player, I think Atlanta Rain’s ‘Masaa’ is really well aggressively on Lucio.
Anamo and Nenne both aren’t players that were in the team from the beginning. What did you see in them to pick them?
Pavane: I’ve been with Nenne for about 2 years in LW Red. He’s really smart and has a wide pool of heroes that he can play well. Since he’s doing well on Zarya and good at making all kinds of plays, I think he’s doing what I expected of him.
As for Anamo, many people recommended him. When we tested him, he had all the necessary abilities. I’m proud of him because he’s been proving what he’s capable of.
We heard that Ark will be moving to Washington Justice. How would it affect the plans for the playoffs?
Pavane: It was the team’s decision. Although Ark’s prowess is really competitive, he wasn’t able to play as the starting member often, so that’s regretful. If we decide to recruit more players, it will be at least after the next stage.
(To the players) You two have been playing well on your main heroes. What are your thoughts on your current position and strengths of your Zarya and Lucio?
Anamo: Personally, I’m really confident about playing Lucio. I don’t think he’s the hero I’m best at though. However, I’m capable of working out Lucio in the team game. So I could say I’m good and confident at Lucio, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s my best hero.
Nenne: If it comes to only the performance on Zarya, I think I’m the best. I’m ahead of any other player when it comes to timely uses of the barrier or ultimates. The biggest strength I have would be blending in well with the team.
(To Anamo) In the current meta, Lucio is really important. What do you think of the current meta?
Anamo: There’s a lot to think about; I need to work well with the team. Lucio became a lot more interesting because he has to carry an aggressive role as well as being defensive.
(To Nenne) The team synergy New York Excelsior has this season is very impressive. It’s only your first season, but it doesn’t seem like it. How did you blend in with the team so well?
Nenne: I’m very vocal when I play and I ask of my teammates' opinions a lot. They’re also vocal about what type of play they want me to do, so it wasn’t very difficult.
Your matchup will be decided after the Seoul Dynasty vs San Francisco Shock match. Which team do you want to play against?
Nenne: It was more difficult playing against San Francisco Shock. Sinatraa’s Zarya deals damage well and he’s very good when he’s playing aggressively. As for Seoul Dynasty, I saw Fissure taking down several people with Reinhardt in their last match. I’m being cautious of things like that.
Anamo: I also think San Francisco was hard to play against. I want to meet Seoul. For me, Choihyobin’s D.Va was really good. In Seoul, Fissure is really good once he gets on the flow.
Pavane: It doesn’t matter which team comes up. For the players, I’m the same with the players. We need to be careful of sinatraa and Fissure.
You don’t play against all the teams in one stage anymore. What do you think about the new schedule format?
Pavane: Since we won all the matches, I don’t think it affected us much. We’ll continue to bring good results. I think other teams may have some complaints.
Except for New York and Philadelphia Fusion, the results of other teams that were strong in the inaugural season aren’t very good. What do you think the reason is?
Pavane: I think London and LA Valient had difficulties in adapting to the meta. However, they’re teams that can rise again, thinking of the whole season. When we played against London, the players said that they were hard to play against. [Their slump] is only because of the meta; you’ll never know what’ll happen later on.
Vancouver often plays and is good at 3 tanks - 3 support. What do you think their weakness is?
Pavane: When they’re too aggressive, they make mistakes. If we can penetrate through that, we’ll do well. I don’t know about the meta, but we have more experience in the playoffs of Overwatch League. We know how to deal with different situations so I believe we can win.
Many people talk about Bumper. Personally, I think his vigorous spirit and plays that reflect his young age is really good. It goes well with the meta. I’m looking forward to meeting him in a match.
Starting from the inaugural season, New York Excelsior is a team that has the most experience in the playoffs and finals. Was it different coming up when you won and didn’t win the playoffs?
Pavane: Not much of a difference. The game tilted with a few little mistakes. We always go to the playoffs thinking we’ll win the championship. Even if we aren’t able to win, we think that the next season will come around.
This season, mostly the damage players played Zarya. In the current meta, the damage players aren’t able to pick damage heroes. Are you satisfied with the meta?
Nenne: I played a lot of Zarya from when I first started playing Overwatch. Since I’m comfortable with Zarya, I don’t have any complaints about it.
(To Anamo) As a support player, what do you think about the new hero, Baptiste?
Anamo: I haven’t played Baptiste much yet. Looking at the skills, it seems that the team has to be close together to make it effective. I think he’ll appear often with the compositions that have Orisa and Reinhardt. With Baptiste coming in, the meta may change. The 3 tank - 3 support comp was originally Lucio and Moira but it changed to what it is now. There could be a 3-3 comp with Baptiste; even more changes could be coming.
Which style map are you the most confident in?
Nenne: I personally like escort maps. Escort maps need to select where to fight well and use ults accordingly to where the payload is. The playstyle suits me well in situations where we need to control high spots.
Anamo: I like the maps where I can push people off the map with Lucio. It’s a bummer that there’s no Lijiang Tower in this playoffs. I like assault maps; the reason is that we need to be quick in decision making and one’s personal mechanics is really important.
Excelsior’s win rate on assault maps was the lowest. What do you think needs to be improved?
Pavane: Among the assault maps, the win rate on Horizon Lunar Colony is the lowest. During practice, it wasn’t that hard, but we had a lot of regretful moments in the league matches. We are doing our best practicing to improve those parts.
Lastly, a word to the fans of Overwatch League and New York Excelsior?
Pavane: Thank you for all the support. Your cheers are sources of motivation for us. That motivation must have led us to the current results. We’ll do our best so that we can deliver good results.
Nenne: I’m thankful to everyone who watches our matches. I’ll do my best so that we can win the championship. Look forward to our performance.
Anamo: I’d like to thank all the people who are interested in and support Overwatch League and New York Excelsior. We’re doing alright now; please keep cheering for us to the end.