The Toronto Defiant entered the 2019 Overwatch League season with a whimper. As sharp as that might sound, it’s true. Their 8-20 record stands on faulty legs especially when you add the context that they narrowly led the three way-tie for second-worst overall match record alongside the Washington Justice and the Boston Uprising. However, they’ve spared no expense in building a robust roster for their sophomore season.While names like “Surefour,” “Agilities,” and “KariV” wage a war on your attention on the recent headlines and marquees, there is one player that is the underappreciated skeleton key to not only the roster but the organization as a whole. Andreas "Nevix" Karlsson was made for the Toronto Defiant.Throughout his nearly four-year-long career in Overwatch, the metagame has called for Nevix’s head, and he’s found a way to adapt. He was born defiant.Debuting on Eccentric Gaming in 2015, he piloted Mercy among some of the best at the time. He then moved to DPS with Arcane Esports and Ventus Gaming for some of the earliest tournaments in Overwatch’s competitive history. Nevix then swapped to flex tank, playing heroes like Zarya and the occasional Winston in GosuGamers’ Overkill League for IMPULSE 11. He then moved back to main support to play Lucio and Symmetra for Graviton Surge before being acquired by Misfits in the spring of 2016. There he rotated between Ana and a litany of DPS heroes after the team’s performance at OGN’s Overwatch APEX League.It’s not a question of what Nevix has played, you’re better off asking what he hasn’t played.This constant harassment by the metagame would be enough to break anyone--but not Nevix. He stands as a member of a dwindling elite few who have lasted since the start, a true veteran in every sense of the word. And with that title comes some negative connotations. People with that much experience can often be seen as stubborn or set in their ways--but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.“Nevix was an awesome teammate,” Overwatch analyst, expert, and former professional player Jonathan "Reinforce" Larsson explained.For nearly a year, Reinforce sat alongside Nevix as a teammate on Misfits, an organization that now operates the Florida Mayhem franchise. Reinforce explained that it was not only his work ethic that made him such a boon to the team, but it was his willingness to improve and his ability to remain calm when others were emotional that stood out. “[He] was such a relief on a team with, at the time, some of the most revered names in competitive Overwatch,” Reinforce said. “Obviously, the Misfits team was pretty stressed to achieve results because of our controversial three-way trade, but I would say Nevix was the glue that made it all work because TviQ, Zebbosai, and myself all sort of looked to him to calm us down and have us enjoy the game more. Add to that, his quirky personality in loving games like Rust, and board games--he was such a fun character to have in your team.”Reinforce continued explaining that Nevix wasn’t the most vocal in review sessions, but when he spoke, ears would perk up, and people listened. “You could always rely on him for great opinions on strategy and tactics, and because we all knew that, everyone respected what he had to say and what he brought to the table. In Misfits we disagreed with each other--a lot--but everyone got quiet when Nevix brought something to the table, and I think that just speaks to his smarts as an individual player.” Fighting through the melancholy memories of yesteryear, Reinforce continued to dote on Nevix’s behalf. “I don’t think I’ve had as much fun playing with just about anyone.”Former coach of Cloud9 Chris "spazzo" Infante recalled and echoed many of the same points.“He's certainly one of the most level headed players I've worked with and I'd say his work ethic is the most infectious part to me personally. Having a teammate putting in the hours actively creates a positive environment on its own.”After working with Nevix on Cloud9’s European stable, spazzo not only complimented his in-game IQ but his social awareness as well. “He brings a level of commitment that his teammates can trust--and that spreads like wildfire. You know he's always going to put in 100%, no matter the circumstances both in practice and review and that transfers into the matches. Nevix is the prime candidate of someone any team needs and I'm sure he's grown even more in the past two years.”Former teammate, Mikaël "Hidan" Da Silva, described Nevix as one of the best teammates he’s ever worked with. “He can adapt very well to any situation or game. Before Overwatch he was camping the top ladder on League of Legends,” Hidan explained. “He can literally play any role or heroes at the top level in Overwatch and that's a shame he didn't get that much playtime with San Francisco Shock.”“I don't think there is a player as flexible than him, to be honest.”Even retired German main tank star, Nicholas "skipjack" Rosada, sang Nevix’s praises. He recalled incredibly fond memories after working with Nevix during events like DreamHack Winter 2016 and ESL’s Overwatch Atlantic Showdown. “I remember him as a very rational person rarely showing emotions. It was an absolute pleasure working with him due to him being rational and professional because of that. “No tilting, no screaming, no complaining.”“He is a very good allrounder in everything he does. There is nothing he really excels at like some one-tricks where you could say he is the best in this and that, but he can do everything at a high level which is also very rare skill to have. If Overwatch was a Nintendo game he would be Mario.”“I liked him a lot, one of my favorite teammates. I hope he is doing good, I haven't watched any Overwatch in years.”At every stage in his career, Nevix has been defiant.And it’s not a temperamental resistance; it’s quiet, methodical, and thrives in this unsuspecting climate. It’s like a subtle spice to a dish that you don’t appreciate until it hits you. It brings all the flavors together, lifts them off your pallet, and enhances the dish--rather than overpowering you. That’s Nevix.He remains colorless and has his entire career. He lives in deepwater and thrives in reinvention.No one survives through that many different heroes, that many different roles, and that many different team dynamics without an unremarkable--and almost stubborn--willpower. The fact that he spent nearly all of the 2019 season on the bench for the San Francisco Shock tells you a lot about who he is as a person, let alone his skill level.And on February 8th, when the Defiant face off against the Paris Eternal, you’ll understand why I say Nevix is the ironman of Overwatch. He’ll quietly plant his feet like he always has and he’ll wait.No matter the metagame. No matter the hero. You’ll make a mistake, and Nevix will be there, whether you expect him or not.Your move.Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at@Volamel.Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and OGN.