The LuxuryWatch roster was constantly seen as one brimming with potential but unable to quite meet it. Under the name LuxuryWatch Red, the team topped some of the world's best, including Lunatic-Hai, at IEM Gyeonggi. The team switched over to the LuxuryWatch Blue name for APEX Season 2 and hoped to carry the momentum over to Korea's most prestigious tournament, but things did not work out as planned.
They were knocked out in the semifinal to the Cinderella RunAway squad, limited to a 3rd place finish after defeating another surprise team, Meta Athena. LuxuryWatch Blue tried again in APEX Season 3 but were eliminated even earlier, finishing 5th/6th. In both seasons the team was plagued by a lingering wrist injury for Fl0w3R and repeat hospital visits for janus' pneumothoraces.
The team seemed reinvigorated for a run at the title in APEX Season 4 when the organization signed Afreeca Freecs Blue star tank Mano, but instead the squad became mired in controversy. LuxuryWatch released Luna just a day before APEX's roster deadline and pulled out of APEX with short notice given to OGN, leaving their group with only three teams to compete.
The team dropped out of the last season of APEX citing Overwatch League commitments; this was revealed later as the majority of the team signed with the New York Excelsior. While NYXL may be built from a roster that finished just short of glory in APEX -- and will be without their usual star DPS player in Fl0w3R -- it is a team that has a new, exciting aura about it.
Half of the South Korean World Cup roster was made up of LuxuryWatch Blue players, two of which will be on the Excelsior this season, and one who will likely join his teammates in New York next season. While the other half of South Korea was made up of the supports and flex from the Seoul Dynasty, the Koreans representing New York would not be outshone easily.
Mano's tank play was solid throughout the tournament as the Koreans picked off each of their opponents. Saebyeolbe, with or without the support of ryujehong's orbs, proved to be the superior Tracer against each of his opponents. Fl0w3R made flashy plays throughout, especially on Widowmaker, and was only outvoted for tournament MVP by xQc, who first took the lead in the vote before he even played his first match.
Even though Saebyeolbe and Mano (along with Fl0w3R) were the only NYXL players impressing at the World Cup, the rest of the team is equally as talented. janus, MekO, and Pine have all been part of LuxuryWatch Blue for the better part of the past year, with Pine being the only one not on the IEM Gyeonggi winning roster. JJoNak, like Mano, was picked up shortly before APEX Season 4 but has yet to play in a tournament with his new teammates. Talented support player ArK was picked up from LuxuryWatch Red to join the team, while the ever flexible Libero will be coming in to try and fill Fl0w3R's shoes.
If the World Cup performances and the fresh roster acquisitions spark confidence in the team's performance, their arrival in North America sparks confidence in Los Angeles. While some onlookers have declared they would support any group of players as long as they brought glory to their city or country, others -- particularly in the case of the New York Excelsior and London Spitfire -- claim it will be hard to root for a team that they can't relate to or doesn't speak their language. The players of the Excelsior have answered the call.
Whether because of English tutoring given by the NYXL organisation or through English skills they had prior, the Koreans arrived to the Overwatch League facility in Los Angeles with language abilities far beyond expectations. The players were instantly able to integrate themselves into pickup games with western OWL players and were able to show their humorous side in English on stream. The NYXL players' streams began to draw in an English-speaking audience -- particularly Saebyeolbe, who has earned a fandom for his positivity and sense of humor.
Many expect New York Excelsior to finish in the top four this season; wherever the team ends up, they may already be setting themselves up for a better season next year. Fl0w3R, who is unable to compete in the Overwatch League's inaugural run due to his youth, will be playing in the next season of Contenders for the Excelsior. The team plans to call up their young superstar to the major leagues next year.
APEX fans missed an opportunity to see whether or not the newest version of LuxuryWatch Blue could finally stake its claim as the kings of Korean Overwatch, as the org decided to keep the team's ability shrouded in mystery for months longer. That shroud will soon be lifted, and the reborn New York Excelsior will no longer be fighting for the rights to the Korean throne, instead competing to become the best team in the world.
The New York Excelsior will be competing in the Overwatch League with:
- Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong Yeol (DPS)
- Kim "Libero" Hye Sung (DPS)
- Kim "Pine" Do Hyeon (Flex)
- Kim "Mek0" Tae Hong (Flex)
- Song “Janus” Jun-hwa (Tank)
- Kim "Mano" Dong-gyu (Tank)
- Hong “ArK” Yeon Joon (Support)
- Bang “JJoNak” Sung-Hyeon (Support)
- Kim “WizardHyeong” Hyeong-seok (Coach)
- Yu "Pavane" Hyeon-sang (Coach)
- Andrew Kim (Assistant Coach)
- Scott "Bearhands" Tester (Director of Player Personnel)