Florida Mayhem (1-4) 1-3 Houston Outlaws (2-3)
The Florida Mayhem and Houston Outlaws both hit the stage on Saturday hoping to pull themselves from the bottom of the leaderboard. After falling just short of a victory against the Guangzhou Charge, the Mayhem wanted to show that they could push a different team to their limits and come out on top this time. The Outlaws, meanwhile, were recovering from a crushing defeat by the New York Excelsior, and they refused to let something like that happen again.
The two teams clashed hard for a much-needed victory, but Houston came out on top. With the help of some well-timed plays and a generally aggressive playstyle, the Outlaws pulled off a decisive 3-1 victory.
Ilios: Houston 2-1 Florida
The Mayhem moved quickly to get the initial cap on Lighthouse, but it didn’t take long for the Outlaws to get into their groove. They made short work of overwhelming Florida and proceeded to hold the point nearly to completion. New pickup Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey ate a Graviton Surge during a key team-fight, however, giving the Mayhem the advantage they needed to grab the point again. Although they put up a valiant fight to keep it that way, Houston rallied one more time, cleaning them up again and taking the first round.
On Well, it seemed that Houston would keep up the momentum. A massive Orisa halt by Austin “Muma” Wilmot took out two Florida players early, giving the Outlaws a quick advantage. They held on the point into overtime before the Mayhem gained the advantage, finally pushing back and flipping things in their favor. Despite one last-minute flip back from Houston, the Mayhem held strong, and they took the second round.
The teams appeared evenly matched in the first fight on Ruins, but Houston’s positioning won out, and they took control early on. Some extremely aggressive Zarya play from Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin took center-stage in the Outlaws’ defense, and they nearly completed the round without trouble. At the last second, however, Hyeon-woo “HaGoPeun” Jo pulled off some vital picks, giving Florida the opening they needed to claim the point. Houston quickly returned from spawn with a Graviton Surge from LiNkzr and pushed back just as decisively. The Outlaws claimed Ruins, taking the map 2-1.
King’s Row: Houston 5-3 Florida
After subbing in Kevyn “TviQ” Lindström and Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo, the Mayhem headed to King’s Row. Their first defense started off shaky, as Houston rolled in with ease and claimed point A. They made significant progress towards point B, but a huge EMP from Sang-bum “BQB” Lee gave the Mayhem the edge they needed, putting a stop to Houston’s push. They held on to point B for quite some time before Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen caught the team in a Graviton Surge and the rest of the Outlaws followed up. Houston’s push continued until the end of the map, but the Mayhem gathered for one more strong defense. Though Houston cleared the map, it took until overtime for them to do so.
Florida boasted a strong first offense as well. With TviQ and Jun-soo “Kris” Choi offering up some standout performances, they steamrolled through point A and much of point B before Houston could regroup. The two teams fought hard through point B as the time bank dwindled. Florida finished the map in overtime as well, sending the map to a second round.
Despite their small time bank, the Outlaws put on an inspiring push during their second offense. They quickly capped point A and headed to point B, rolling over the Mayhem every time they tried to stop them. A deadly Self Destruct from xepheR gave Florida the advantage they needed to stop the Outlaws, but Houston’s push ended just before a second map completion.
Florida’s second offense wasn’t as successful. They appeared to hesitate in their first fight, facing off against Houston in the map’s hotel but taking too long to move decisively. By the time they began to fight in earnest, their time had nearly run out, and Houston won both the team fight and the map.
Horizon Lunar Colony: Houston 4-3 Florida
The Mayhem’s first defense started off strong, as they staved off Houston in the first team-fight. However, the Outlaws regrouped quickly and broke through, taking point A with plenty of time to spare. A two-kill Self Destruct from McGravy stopped them from snowballing outright and gave Florida the time they needed to catch their breath and reestablish themselves on the defense. After a few more tough fights, Houston pushed through to complete the map.
Florida proved formidable on their first attack. Damon “Apply” Conti was a force to be reckoned with on Genji, tearing through the Outlaws and enabling his team to take point A with ease. They kept up the momentum as they headed to point B, though Houston had gathered themselves for a solid defense. The two teams went back and forth, with the Outlaws just barely holding them off at times. Ultimately, Florida broke through, completing the map with a little under two minutes in the time bank.
Houston held tight during their second defense, nearly making it through the time bank. BQB and Apply pulled off an impressive EMP-Dragonblade combo, however, wiping out their opponents and clearing point A. They hurried towards point B, hoping to build off of their momentum. Though it nearly worked, Houston managed to rally for one more fight, holding them back just in time.
The Mayhem held strong on their second defense, despite an aggressive push from Houston. However, a well-timed Earthshatter from Muma and a Graviton Surge from SPREE left them vulnerable, and Houston moved in to take point A. They were able to keep the snowball rolling, and pushed through point B with little resistance. They took the map, and the series with it.
Rialto: Florida 2-1 Houston
Houston brought in Matt “coolmatt” Iorio for their last map of the day, and he proved an excellent choice for their offense. With him leading the fight, they moved forward quickly to complete the first leg of Rialto. Undeterred, Florida regrouped and provided a much stronger defense on point B. During a crucial team-fight, xepheR ate a Graviton Surge, and Houston’s plan around it fell apart. Despite a solid overtime fight, the Outlaws’ payload stopped short of point B.
Florida’s offense proved equally deadly. With xepheR on Zarya and TviQ on Mei, they made short work of Houston’s defense, moving easily through point A. Houston’s second-point defense proved stronger, and they held them off for quite some time. However, one last energetic push gave the Mayhem the edge they needed, and they took the map, finishing the series 3-1.
It’s been a tough stage for the Mayhem so far, and adding another loss to the record stings. However, the team’s shown some improvement over the stage. A victory over the Philadelphia Fusion and a close match with the Guangzhou Charge are both solid achievements, and Florida can learn as much from those wins as they can from their losses. They close out their stage with matches against the Boston Uprising and the Washington Justice. If they continue to build off of what they do well, they could pull off a few more wins before the stage closes out.
The Florida Mayhem return to the Overwatch League stage on March 10, when they take on the Boston Uprising. Be sure to tune in!
Follow Darby on Twitter @soundchecck! She is happy to talk about anything she’s written! You can also get in touch with her on Discord (soundchecck#7242).
Featured image courtesy of Anthony Salzarulo for the Florida Mayhem.
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