South Korea’s Overwatch World Cup Group Stage Team Is Basically New York Excelsior

L: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Team South Korea has finalized its seven-man squad for the Overwatch World Cup group stage.

The line-up features five members of the New York Excelsior, the Overwatch League team that dominated the regular season, locking in the number one spot in just the second week of the fourth stage.

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The full South Korea national squad features twelve players, but for the group stages teams are only able to field seven. Those seven are made up of five of the NYXL’s typical starting members, along with Philadelphia Fusion’s Lee ‘Carpe’ Jae-hyeok and LA Valiant’s Koo ‘Fate’ Pan-seung.

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With the team being coached by Excelsior’s Yu ‘Pavane’ Hyeon-sang, it’s perhaps little surprise that, for the first stage of the tournament, South Korea is going for the safe option by fielding an almost entirely NYXL-based team. By the time they get to the playoffs at Blizzcon in November – assuming no massive upsets – they’ll have had time to experiment with integrating additional players.

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South Korea’s group stage campaign will take place on home soil as they host one of the four group stages. Each group consists of six teams, of which two will advance to the Blizzcon playoffs. South Korea will be heavy favorites to top their group, with the stiffest competition likely to come from Finland, another team stacked with Overwatch League talent, followed by Russia as a potential dark horse.

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Assuming they do reach the playoffs, the team will look to defend their title once again, with South Korea having won the World Cup in both 2016 and 2017. Of the 2017-winning roster, only Park ‘Saebyeolbe’ Jong-ryeol returns to compete for his country this year.