Atlanta Reign shock fans with first regular season defeat of NYXL

Hunter C. April 20, 2019

The Atlanta Reign may have given the previously winless Los Angeles Valiant their first win of Overwatch League Season 2, but they’ve also notched a much more prestigious accomplishment.

Atlanta Reign became the first team to hand the New York Excelsior a regular season loss in Season 2. NYXL’s only prior loss in 2019 came to Seoul Dynasty in the Stage 1 playoff quarterfinal round.

The massive victory for the Reign came in unexpected fashion. The team went up 2-0 and kept its foot on the gas pedal during the third map, King’s Row, allowing it to come out on top 3-0. NYXL took the final map, Rialto, after the match was already decided, resulting in a slightly closer final score of 3-1.

Though NYXL may have been underprepared after the team’s previous match with the more renowned Philadelphia Fusion, Reign completely dominated the match with their patented aggressive play.

Some fans are jokingly attributing the Reign’s success to flex support Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman’s new bowl haircut, which he debuted at the NYXL game. Perhaps a more realistic attribution would be to Dogman’s big support plays, as the veteran North American player had a stellar series. He was especially impressive on Busan, tallying a staggering 31 final blows from his support position over the course of the match.

A massive key to success for the Reign was the return of Dong-hyeong “Daco” Seo to the starting roster amid swirling rumors of his toxicity towards some of his Western teammates on the Reign roster. None of those tensions, whether real or imagined, seemed to slow the Reign down versus NYXL.

The Reign improve to 2-3 on the season, still a far cry from their playoff run in Stage 1.

There are many things fans have attributed the Reign’s backslide to, but perhaps none are bigger than the retirement of charismatic DPS player Daniel “Dafran” Francesca during the offseason. That move led the Reign to sign Andrej “babybay” Francisty from the San Francisco Shock. Babybay has yet to completely gel with the team, but this recent win over NYXL show what the roster is capable of.