Florida Mayhem lose to San Francisco Shock 4-2 in May Melee Final


The Florida Mayhem after their win on Horizon Lunar Colony versus the London Spitfire before the matches were moved online due to COVID-19. Photo from OWL stream.

André González Rodríguez, Contributor

Riding the momentum of their five-game win streak, the Florida Mayhem fell just short of winning their first championship win, as they lost to the San Francisco Shock 4-2 in the finals. 

Coming into the May Melee, analysts, fans, and other teams were counting Florida out due to their weak strength of schedule. Many believed the Mayhem getting the second seed was a byproduct of their schedule. Florida was seeded just under the reigning Overwatch League (OWL) champions, the San Francisco Shock. 

Performing well at this tournament meant silencing the naysayers and proving that all of the roster changes made up to this point were well worth it. The current Mayhem roster is a complete overhaul of their notoriously bad roster from season one, only having Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha – a mid-season pickup at the time  as the remaining member. This would also be the Mayhem’s chances to prove that they were deserving of the second seed.

Day 1:


Florida Mayhem vs. Atlanta Reign 

In their first match of the May Melee, the Mayhem faced off against a middle of the pack team in the Atlanta Reign. Up to this point, Florida had yet to beat Atlanta – having not won a single map against them dating back to season two. This would be the second time the Mayhem would face off against the Reign this season and were looking to rectify the loss that they were given prior to beginning their five-game winning streak. 

Florida would pick Atlanta as their Quarterfinals opponent due to having a bye in the first round because of their second seed in the bracket. The Reign dominated the Toronto Defiant 3-0 in their knockout match the previous day.

During the picking of opponents, Atlanta’s Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman, made it clear that he and his team didn’t see the Mayhem as a worthy threat,  calling Florida losers and stating they got lucky due to their strength of schedule. Dogman wouldn’t be the only player on the team to emphasize this, as other players on the Atlanta team would voice their agreements on Twitter. 

The Mayhem threw their past record against the Reign out the window and let their gameplay do the talking after refusing to partake in the pre-match trash talk. Florida was firing on all cylinders,  maintaining the synergy that they had built and showed throughout their win streak. Player of the match, Kim “Yaki” Jun-gi, was the clear standout with his Tracer play, proving to be unstoppable and leaving the Reign searching for answers on how to counter it. Florida won the match 3-1.

“It kinda sucked when we lost to them last time, but we got beat when we were still pretty bad and new,” Yaki said in his post-match interview with Soe “Soe” Gschwind through the team’s translator. “But this is our meta so the victory definitely feels more real and to be honest, Dogman was pretty bad so this was easy.” 

Day 2:


Florida Mayhem vs. Philadelphia Fusion 

For their semifinals match, the Mayhem faced off against a Philadelphia Fusion, a team who was coming off of a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Gladiators. Much like versus the Reign, this would be the second time the Mayhem faced off against the Fusion this season after having been defeated by them 3-0 at the Philly homestand. 

The Fusion were seen by many of the game’s analysts, pundits, and fans to be the best team in the league due to their strong start to the season and their ability to maintain their momentum throughout its duration. Much like the Mayhem, Philadelphia had a weak strength of schedule, which led to them being the third seed. This was a marquee matchup since this was the Mayhem’s chance to break into the upper echelon of teams in the North American region. 

Philadelphia was the one team that let the rest of the league know of their existence through its trash talk and this matchup was no different. As opposed to staying quiet in their matchup versus Atlanta, Florida partook in some pre-match trash talk, a rare sight since the Mayhem players tend to keep their heads low. 

Florida backed up their trash talk with yet another 3-1 victory. Philadelphia’s attempt to contain Yaki wasn’t enough, as he dominated former season two MVP Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee and the rest of the Philly squad. The Fusion’s sole map win came off the back of a Blizzard World map pick that they used to specifically counter Yaki’s Tracer. The DPS duo and tank duo of Florida came up clutch in the last two maps, having plays that helped finish out the series. 

“Today actually was a very comfortable atmosphere,” Sang-bum “BQB” Lee said in his post-match interview with Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson through the Mayhem’s translator. “It helped that we beat Atlanta pretty easily yesterday. So we knew the Fusion was a strong team, but we’ve practiced hard this week and went into it with a we can do it kind of attitude.” 


Florida Mayhem vs. San Francisco Shock

This was the first time Florida reached a final in the Overwatch League, having performed abysmally throughout the league’s existence dating back to 2018. They would face the reigning OWL champions in the San Francisco Shock – a team that has been able to continue their momentum since the past season. The Shock are one of the few teams that have a deep enough bench that allows them to make roster swaps based on the maps and game types they have to play. 

The last time Florida beat San Francisco was in the OWL’s inaugural season, which much like the Mayhem, San Francisco has made huge roster improvements since then. It would prove difficult for Florida to recreate that past success, as the Shock’s roster was an experienced and battle-tested roster. San Francisco went back and forth against an equally matched Vancouver Titan’s team throughout all of season two, and later swept them in the Grand Finals. 

The reigning champion’s experience came into play, as they quickly found a way to counter Yaki’s Tracer play in the form of map picks. The series began with a quick 2-0 round sweep on Nepal Control, as the Shock picked it specifically to prevent Yaki from playing Tracer. The Mayhem would later respond with a dominant map of their own in game two. The trend of San Francisco and Florida alternating wins continued until the series was tied 2-2. 

Game five on Lijiang Tower Control proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Mayhem. Florida swiftly took the first round with their patented Reaper and Mei they ran in the past to fit their brawler style composition. They weren’t able to capitalize on finishing out the map after being up 99-0 percent in the second round though. The Shock’s experience once again came through to win them the fifth map and they later dominated the sixth and final map.

Although the Mayhem weren’t able to win it all, they have vastly improved compared to seasons past. The complete roster overhaul and switch from western players to Korean players proved to hit the mark — allowing them to go from 20th place to second place. 

Florida looks to continue their momentum at the next OWL Regional Tournament on June 13.