The Florida Mayhem have had a rough go of it so far in Season 1 of the Overwatch League. After fumbling their way through Stage 1, and struggling for much of Stage 2, the unexpected happened these past few weeks: they were winning games. In week 3 they had a reverse sweep against the Dallas Fuel, who looked like they were about to have their first win since the first week of Stage 2. Mayhem followed it up with a win against the Los Angeles Valiant. While still at the low end of the rankings with a score of 3-15, we are going to see a different Mayhem from here on out.

What’s changed? There is no one answer.

The mid-season signing of Zappis, a flex tank player who was on Team Gigantti when they won Contenders EU Season 1, has definitely played some role. While Zappis has only played two maps so far, both on Hollywood, in a recent interview, Logix (DPS) had great things to say about Zappis’s hero flexibility, particularly with tanks, and cool leadership that brings the heat down.

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Soon the Mayhem will have their new pickups from Korean team Meta Athena: r2der (coach), aWesomeGuy (tank), and Sayaplayer (DPS). While aWesomeGuy and Sayaplayer haven’t made their way to the US yes, r2der has been with the team for a short time and Logix said their recent Route 66 strats were influenced by his decision making.

On this week’s Watchpoint, Montecristo added that Florida recently moved houses, drastically reducing the team’s commute time to the Arena every day from about 45-60 minutes to something much shorter, which alone saves them almost 12 hours a week in travel time, allowing for more time to focus on the game.

When asked what he thinks has changed, TviQ said the team has started to play with each other a lot better, and CWoosH added that they scrim less, but talk about what happened during matches more. The two also feel that communication has become much more clear. While there is no recent, previous example to compare, you can hear a clip from their match against the Valiant here.

Whatever the secret ingredient is, it’s great to see these players turn things around and hopefully climb out of the lower rankings by the end of the season.

Taking a Look

Last week, the Mayhem went 3-1 against the Los Angeles Valiant (VOD) and we thought we’d look at some of the plays that helped make that victory possible, as well as some of the shortcomings.

Hanamura (2-1)

After a few false starts where TviQ is sent in but his teammates have to quickly retreat and leave their friend to die, Mayhem noticed that the Valiant left their healers alone. Diving in and getting the healer eliminations, the fight was a bit messy for the Mayhem, but they were able to cap point A.

Moving on to point B, and attempting a number of different ways to take it, the strategy that worked was sending Logix (Tracer) on the porch with CWoosH (Winston) to back him up from Valiant’s SoOn (Tracer).

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In the final moments of their assault, Manneten used his Self-Destruct on the point, and it was all but over for the Valiant as the dominoes began to fall.

Things may have gone differently if it were not for one small mistake by Envy: he got stuck on a wall trying to escape the Self-Destruct. In that same moment, unKOE almost had Transcendence and SoOn was returning. Had Envy still had his mech, he may have been able to shut down TviQ’s Tactical Visor long enough to allow unKOE to gain and use Trans and get SoOn back in without fear of TviQ’s auto-aim.

Nepal (2-0)

It was a quick match on Nepal, but Shrine had one particularly interesting moment.

In the penultimate push from Mayhem on Shrine, Valiant lost track of TviQ (Soldier: 76) and didn’t catch that he was left behind enemy lines. Once the final push began, in a move usually seen in Quick Play, he hit Tactical Visor from the Valiant backlines, drawing both Envy (D.Va) and unKOE (Zenyatta) away to chase him down, and leaving the point tankless. TviQ fell, but it was too late as the Valiant players left on point died and gave Mayhem the map win. (clip)

Hollywood (0-1)

For the first time we finally got to see Zappis in action. Swapping Logix’s Tracer/Widow for Zappis, who would play a third tank to start, the Mayhem plan of attack was to take the following path with a triple tank against the Valiant who would hole up in the cafe. They had a plan and stuck to it, no matter what, and unfortunately for them, it wasn’t meant to be.

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The clear intent was to work their way over behind the boxes and dumpsters, which would provide lots of cover for the Valiant who hid in the cafe. The problem with it, while they could make it over there, they couldn’t do so without taking losses.

With TviQ getting picked off and unable to get proper placement to secure any eliminations in the cafe, he switched to Pharah, hoping to make some headway against from the air. Agilities said, “No problem!” and replaced his Junkrat with a Pharah of his own.

On the final attempt of the round, it looked like Mayhem were finally about to take the point, but at 88%, Fate’s Primal Rage stall, SoOn’s unanswered harassment of the backline, and Mayhem’s inability to deal with either of them allowed Valiant to regroup and full-hold the point. (VOD)

Route 66 (3-2)

Taking another strategy from Quick Play, the Mayhem opened with a double-sniper comp. Opening with Hanzo isn’t uncommon because many teams will use Sonic Arrow to scout the enemy, but surprising everyone, he stayed on Hanzo instead of switching off. With two snipers able to watch much of the entire area for Point A, the Valiant were hard-pressed to actually defend while still in their dive comp, not knowing who to dive and do so without being flanked by the other sniper.

It was fun to watch while it lasted, but after Point A, Valiant were able to harass the Mayhem enough to keep them from setting up, and force the switch off the QP comp.

Mentioned earlier, r2der was said to have influenced the Mayhem’s strategies for this map. TviQ said he wanted to play Hanzo, so they made it work. Will we see more double-sniper in Stage 3?

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Onward

The next day, Florida would play the Los Angeles Gladiators and lose 1-2. Mayhem still looked like a changed team, but again would struggle on Hollywood.

This week they play against the San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty. If Logix can keep up his Tracer and Widowmaker play to the same level he’s been playing the past few weeks, the Mayhem have a good chance at defeating the Shock. As for the Seoul, it will be one of the toughest matches they’ve had since Week 2. While there is still hope if they play at their best, for right now the most they can likely do is affect Seoul’s map differential enough to maybe keep them out of the Stage 2 playoffs.

Once Sayaplayer and aWesomeGuy are able to play, and r2der has more time to share his wisdom, watch out, everyone.

Cover photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard