The Houston Outlaws hand-wrap a 3-0 victory to the Florida Mayhem
The Florida Mayhem has probably had the worst two years of any other Overwatch League team. Even the Shanghai Dragons, the team that was notorious across all sports for going on a record-setting 42 game losing streak, managed to turn their fortunes around and actually become a moderately successful team in 2019. For the Mayhem, changes needed to happen for 2020.
With a new head coach, new anticipated Contenders pickups, and actually attractive team colors, the Mayhem are looking to see if this new look can finally give them a season away from the bottom of the rankings. Head coach, Dae-kuk "KuKi" Kim, wants you to know that he’s committed to making the Mayhem a better team, regardless of the identity “A change in colors doesn’t effect how the team plays, aside from that, what I want to do is completely change how the Florida Mayhem feels.”
Joined by main tank San-ha "Karayan" Choi, dps Jun-ki "Yaki" Kim, and flex support Nam-jin "Gangnamjin" Gang, the team celebrated their first win as a new team in their first post-match interview. On the subject of the win, the team was in high spirits. “It was my first match in OWL, and I was pretty nervous, but this win is definitely a boost in confidence”, Gangnamjin told us.
Gangnamjin comes from a year of dominating Contenders Korea with Runaway. His teammate Yaki, also comes from Runaway and joined that team in the latter half of 2019. Both players talked about what it meant to finally make it to the top. For Yaki, “Just arriving in the League, itself it has meaning for me. Now that I’m here I’m going to show you even better plays”. Gangnamjin echoed this sentiment; “now that I’m here I’m going to try even harder to show you my skill.”
For coach Kuki, he was a little franker about the team’s situation; “we're starting from the very bottom and we’re very thirsty for wins. We’re going to learn from every victory and keep improving more and more.” As a coach, Kuki has had some experience with Runaway, but he’s still relatively new to the position. What direction is he looking to lead the team into? “Rather than laying out a strategy for the team on what kind of plays to make, I work more on increasing the awareness and game understanding of the six people who are playing.”… “As a pro player, I had a lot of thoughts of ‘if I was coaching, I would do something like this’, and that's influenced me a lot so far”.
For now, the team had nothing but praise for Kuki. Yaki commended his leader; "simply put, he does everything you expect a head coach to do", with Kuki adding “mention how I give you all individual feedback!” Gangnamjin was also full of admiration for his new teammate; "oh! I was going to say that. Even if you’re not a starter, he'll still take care of you and coach you very passionately. He makes sure the game very easy to digest whenever he can.” The devotion didn't end there with Karayan adding "we can see him be super tired because it’s a taxing job, but we can see that he’s super passionate about helping us.”
For Korean players, it might be a bit weird representing an America state. How are the players and staff getting adjusted to that? “Our housing situation is great, the environment the org fosters make us feel like home.” Kuki explained. “ Also, the food is great”. Gangnamjin added.
As the interview began to wrap up, the Philadelphia Fusion began to play their match against the Washington Justice, and a TV in the room showcased the game. As his teammates responded to questions, Yaki stared intently at the screen. When questioned on if there was anyone, he was excited to face tomorrow, he only had one word, “Carpe.” Which lead to a resounding jest from his teammates; “ooh, Carpe!”
All images courtesy of Stewart Volland and Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.