The Florida Mayhem went 7-33 across the inaugural season, comfortably the second worst team in the league. Their league-smallest starting roster and coaching staff proved inadequate, and their additions during the signing window proved insufficient.
When it emerged that TviQ, their star player, had to drive the team an hour each way to get the team to and from matches, the Mayhem ownership’s unwillingness to spend the money necessary for the team to be successful came to the public’s attention, forcing some changes.
With the release of the Season Two signing window timeline, however, it’s clear how difficult it will be for Mayhem to climb out of the hole they’ve put themselves in.
An Inauspicious Start
The Florida Mayhem entered the inaugural season with six players and one coach. This same team, competing as Misfits, came second in European Contenders right before the start of the league, however it was clear even before the preseason that Mayhem would be outgunned; most other teams had nine or more players and three or more coaching staff.
Mayhem, who won an abysmal four games across the first two stages, would go on to sign three players during the signing window. First was flex tank Zappis, an odd choice since Manneten was Mayhem’s best player for the first half of the season. They then added main tank aWesomeGuy, hitscan specialist Sayaplayer, and their coach Rider, all from Korean team Meta Athena.
While Sayaplayer proved to be a strong addition, and main tank was one of Mayhem’s areas of need, main support was (and continues to be) the team’s most dire weakness, and flex support is also a weak area, and no signing was made in either position. The team also took longer than any of its competitors to reach three people on their coaching staff.
A Mountain to Climb
Mayhem Academy was a half-hearted effort. There were some recognizable names from the Tier 2 and Tier 3 scenes, but the roster lacked the ambition or star power of the other affiliate teams. There was no one on the roster that you could see making the jump to the Overwatch League. Mayhem Academy came in 8th out of 12, enough to escape having to requalify through Contenders Trials, but behind every other Overwatch League team’s Contenders affiliate.
And that’s important because the very first opportunity teams will have to sign new players will be to promote them into the main team from their Contenders affiliate. From August 1st through September 9th, existing teams will be able to resign existing players, sign players from their academy teams, and trade players with existing OWL teams.
After that, expansion teams will have a month to sign free agents before existing teams will be able to. While we don’t know how many expansion teams there will be, it’s a near-certainty that many of the biggest names will be signed before Mayhem will have a chance to.
Mayhem need to make quite a few moves before Season 2 if they hope to fare any better than they did in the inaugural season. The addition of two-way players – who can play in both Contenders and the Overwatch League – opens up some options, but Mayhem will still need to make painful choices, including cutting players and shaking up their coaching staff.
Assuming that they don’t release everyone but Sayaplayer and build an all-Korean roster, here’s what they need to do:
DPS: Logix started the season cold, but found his form late in the year. He and Sayaplayer have overlapping hero pools, but they can justify keeping both on the roster, at least until the mid-season trading window. TviQ has had cold spells as well, showing flashes of brilliance, but also spells of mediocracy, especially on Genji. Bringing in a Genji specialist will let the team run better dives and allow TviQ to concentrate on other heroes. The coaching team will have to figure out a system for rotating all four players in, but DPS is Mayhem’s area of least need.
Tank: On a team that has lots of weak areas, flex tank isn’t the most pressing. While he’s had struggles, Manneten has shown enough to suggest that he’ll perform better if he’s surrounded by better players. If the opportunity arises, they should add a second option, and designate one of the two as a two-way player. This would mean cutting Zappis, but he’s had ample opportunity to displace Manneten, and has not been able to do so. At main tank, neither CWoosH nor aWesomeGuy have looked solid. The team needs a new started, and needs to either sign a new second option, cutting both existing tanks, or shift him aWesomeGuy to a two-way player as a backup. Either way, this would be the end of CWoosH’s time on Mayhem.
Support: It felt like every fight, on every map, in every match started with one of the two supports dying. While they were not always properly protected, there’s no denying the skill gap between them and their counterparts on other teams. Sadly, this is a case of “blow it up and start over”; the team needs a new primary support duo and a new backup support duo, and should probably make both backups two-way players. Zebbosai was consistently the team’s weakest player, and it’s time for Mayhem to part with him. Zuppeh was not far behind, and hasn’t shown enough promise to warrant keeping him on as a backup.
Coaching: Mayhem needs a change in direction. As Misfits, the team struggled to settle on which players would run which heroes, and in which compositions. As Mayhem, these issues continued, and the team proved slow to adapt to the Mercy meta, and poor at preparing for opponents. Even after adding Rider, the team’s results did not improve. Without being in the locker room, it’s tough to say if Rider should be given the main coach slot or if a new person needs to be brought in, but if Mineral is going to stay on, it can’t be as main coach. Regardless of who survives from the current regime, Mayhem needs a strong hierarchy, and a full team of coaches, analysts, and support staff. Another skeleton crew would be unacceptable.
So where does Mayhem get four new supports, two or three new tanks, and a Genji specialist? It’ll be expensive, but the best option is to enter into sign-and-trade agreements with other Overwatch League teams.
Suppose, for example, that Mayhem decides that WhoRU, currently signed to Fusion University, is the Genji specialist they need. Mayhem can’t sign him directly until the general signing window opens on October 8th. However, Fusion can sign him beginning on August 1st, and can trade him to Mayhem for cash immediately. This strategy would allow Mayhem to stock up on players before the expansion teams begin to sign their rosters on September 9, but would limit Mayhem’s options to players currently signed to one of the other affiliate Contenders teams. They might not be able to net all of the players they need this way, but it’s a start.
That will have to wait for a new coaching structure to be installed, however. The sooner Mayhem moves on that, the better, as the new coach will need time to assess the existing roster and to scout potential players before August 1st.