The Florida Mayhem entered tonight’s series with the Los Angeles Gladiators on a two-game winning streak—their first in the Overwatch League season. But they failed to extend it against a Gladiators team primed for a run at the stage two playoffs.
Still, the Florida Mayhem continued to show improvement—a sign that the struggles of the now 3-15 squad may finally be over.
The series opened on Volskaya, and Mayhem looked in control to start with a strong defense that held the first control point until overtime. It took a clutch five-kill from Lane “Surefour” Roberts’ McCree to finally break through and end the round with 32 seconds on the clock. Florida needed overtime to capture both control points as well, but they blitzed through the first point on their time bank, putting Gladiators in a rough spot with only 1:32 on the board. Surefour, though, was again up to task, pulling out another clutch slew of kills, this time with Widowmaker. The map ended in a tie, but only for Surefour’s heroics.
Then came Nepal, and Florida looked squarely in control. The Gladiators opened with an awkward Hanzo and Pharah composition on Sanctum—and while it proved effective at breaking the Orisa shield on Mayhem’s side, that’s all it accomplished.
Mayhem looked squarely in control with a one-map lead heading into Hollywood, a few headshots away from a two-map lead. But the Gladiators, a team with playoff ambitions in stage two, wouldn’t go down quietly.
Los Angeles opened Hollywood with a creative attack that showed why they’re one of the most exciting squads in stage two. They attacked the first point with a Mei and Reaper as their DPS, using Mei’s wall to rotate through the right hall into the back of the cafe, pushing the Reaper directly into close-quarters combat against a hapless Mayhem squad that didn’t know what hit them. They then pushed the rest of the map with another creative hero pick: Doomfist. João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles’ play on the hero was stellar, preventing Mayhem’s tank-focused compositions from ever setting up.
The Mayhem fielded flex tank player Joonas “zappis” Alakurtti for the first time on Hollywood, swapping him in for DPS player Andreas “Logix” Berghmans. While zappis acquit himself well on D.Va, the move proved to be a transparent one—Florida telegraphed their desire to play tank-heavy compositions to Gladiators, making the Doomfist pick a perfect and obvious answer.
Los Angeles closed the series on Route 66, and Surefour again continued his antics. His Widowmaker was unstoppable—it was a thrilling display for Gladiators fans who saw him falter on the hero a day earlier against the Houston Outlaws.
Gladiators are now 10-8 on the season and 6-2 in stage two, in the driver’s seat to earn a spot in the stage two playoffs. They control their own destiny: Wins over Philadelphia Fusion and Boston Uprising next week will secure their spot.
For the Florida Mayhem, the loss ends their one and only winning streak of the season, dropping them to 3-15 overall. But the match itself was encouraging. It was a close series where Mayhem showed they can play with one of the best performing teams right now. Florida looks much improved since adding Korean coach Choi “r2der” Hyun-jin, and should reach another level as zappis and fellow free agent signings Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo and Kim “aWesomeGuy” Sung Hoon are added to the lineup. It’s a long season, and Florida Mayhem’s best games are still ahead of them.