Overwatch League: Tae-hong ‘MekO’ Kim’s Contract Is Not Renewed With NYXL, Speculation Abounds As NYXL Loses Off-Tank

Overwatch League: Tae-hong ‘MekO’ Kim’s Contract Is Not Renewed With NYXL, Speculation Abounds As NYXL Loses Off-Tank
Credit: Overwatch League via YouTube

With Overwatch League now firmly in the offseason, roster changes have begun for the league’s twenty teams.  The first surprising and perhaps controversial move of this transfer season is that New York Excelsior have opted out of renewing MekO’s contract, a solid off-tank that has arguably referred to as the ‘silent carry’ of the team since their first appearance in the inaugural season of Overwatch League two years ago.  The second to last original member of the team LuxuryWatch Blue prior to the creation of Overwatch League, Meko performed admirably on his signature heroes of Zarya and D. Va, bringing NYXL to two separate OWL Grand Finals.

MekO has earned an estimated $215,112 in his play of Overwatch since December 2016, where his performance brought LuxuryWatch Blue to a first-place finish in the Intel Extreme Masters Season. MekO is not retiring from Overwatch, however, and this is where the speculation abounds as his contract was expected to be renewed by NYXL, being one of the top three off-tanks in the entire league.  However, his performance definitely allows him to claim top dollar from teams, and it is speculated that another team has picked him up; the gap between release statements is little more than a note of respect from MekO and New York Excelsior while the ink dries on the newest contract.

New York Excelsior was placed in a difficult strategic situation during this offseason, as NYXL arguably has one of the greatest performing benches seen on Overwatch, despite their consistently poor finals performance.  Sung-hyeon ‘Jjonak’ Bang, a heralded support player for NYXL that picked up league MVP in 2018, still remains on the team, as does impeccable in-game leader Jong-ryeol ‘Seabyeolbe’ Park.

It seems likely that NYXL was either unable or unwilling to match what other teams offered MekO to join their ranks.  If New York Excelsior chose to match what is likely a gargantuan offer, however, they would also have to increase the salaries of the other star players on their obscenely deep bench, resulting in an out-of-control salary spiral of all-stars on a bench.

This would put the New York Excelsior in roughly the same unpleasant spot of Counter Strike: Global Offensive‘s FaZe Clan, where the team is filled with superstars with superstar salaries, yet with very little in terms of synergy amongst the players.

New York Excelsior should pull through this loss well-enough; they still have a decent off-tank in BiaNcA who currently plays for New York’s Overwatch academy team, XL2 Academy.  The question remains as to what team offered MekO a fat enough paycheck for him to opt to leave familiar scenery.  It’s theorized that Shanghai Dragons‘s would benefit greatly from picking up Meko, although it would result in a permanent bench of Overwatch League‘s first female player, Se-yeon ‘Geguri’ Kim, as she simply hasn’t displayed the same level of game-sense as MekO.  Alternatively, Guangzhou Charge could be well complemented by an impeccable D. Va player, although Hotba has impressive performances as well/

Ultimately, while we could theory-craft as to where MekO will end up near endlessly, two things are for sure.  One, whomever picks up this colossal carry is sure to be stronger than they were last season.  Secondly, where MekO will end up will be answered very soon.