After Florida Mayhem's unexpected victory during game two of their match against NYXL, I knew I wanted to sit down and talk to Johan "CWoosH" Klingestedt. Undoubtedly, each player on Mayhem was amped up after their victory, but CWoosH was the only one who let it show, raising his hands and beckoning the crowd to cheer more, to cheer louder.
I wanted to know what the showmanship was all about. Whether CWoosH was amping up the crowd to soak the moment in as long as possible, or whether this was a player who was tired of being an underdog and was seizing an opportunity to rise above.
I got my answer after our discussion in the form of the perfect summation of Florida Mayhem as a team -- "A happy, good bunch of guys just trying to make it in Overwatch League"
What is something people don't know about Florida Mayhem? Something the Overwatch League fans just don't "get" about the team.
Oh, that's a good one.
I think people already know this, but we are generally a really happy bunch of guys. Despite what people say -- 'oh they are focusing so much on entrances or memes' -- that's not correct at all. We are really hard working, we try our best every day and we always have some goal in mind during each practice day.
Those walk-ons? It's literally, like, three minutes before we walk we ask "what should we do? Ok, let's do this!" Someone has an idea and we just roll with it. It's not planned at all. I guess that is some background info I'd like people to know -- we just do it.
If an average fan were to sit in on your teams scrimming environment, what would they experience? What would it be like?
I think they would see a team that is very measured in the way that they practice. As I said previously, we always have a goal for each scrim -- this is what we want to improve, this is what we want to work on. We always help each other and give each other tips. We discuss a lot of things and I think the fan would see that. They would see a team that is really motivated, hard-working, and ready to take on the world.
A happy, good bunch of guys just trying to make it in Overwatch League.
Let's talk about losing. There are some teams that lose a lot and...
Like us? *laughs*
Well, yeah. *laughs*
But there is Fuel, and the Dragons during stage 1 -- you see it on their player's faces and they are just crushed. You see it on their social media and they really take the loss hard. Then, I talk to these teams and they all say how damaging this low morale really is.
However, it doesn't appear that your team has this low morale problem. How does your team take a loss?
I think losing in general sucks, right? Everyone can agree on that. But it all depends on how you lose -- there is the good way of losing and then there is the horrible way of losing. The good way of losing is, you walk up on stage, you go into game, and you give it all. You follow the plan, you execute, you play at the highest level and you try your best.
"we heard the comms and we said to our selves -- this is not the way we want to play."
You leave the stage with no regrets, even if you lose. In week 4 when we played our absolute lowest -- nothing was clicking, nothing was working -- we had some really rough losses there. We didn't feel like we tried our best, we didn't feel like we clicked, we didn't feel like we followed the game plan. People didn't feel like they gave it their all: those losses are the worst and you feel really bad about it.
Maybe we don't show it but, when we go backstage after those type of games, it's rough. However, the last few weeks or the last week of stage 1 and this week (week 2 of stage 2), we are just giving it our all. We have been giving it our all for a long time. When you do, you can walk away feeling like, "ok, I did everything in my power to win this game"
Sometimes it's not enough -- we lost to the better team, OK, hats off to them. But at least you actually have something to take from the game, something to work on.
Your most recent loss vs. NYXL -- what this one of those good losses?
I'd say so. It was a good loss because we feel like we can learn something from this game -- like we are on the right track. We played like we did at the end of stage 1, we played like we practiced -- like how we want to play. We just have to nail down the small mistakes or small errors that we make sometimes.
So yeah, this was a good loss.
Tell me about that moment you stood up and hyped up the crowd after you took a game after NYXL -- where does that energy come from?
I was just really happy! We were playing so good On Lijiang Tower -- it was amazing. We were listening to each other, we were following up on each other without screaming in comms. It was just really clean play and we know we can play like that. That feeling, when we won that game and it was so close? I got so happy, you know?
Manneten just fist bumps me and he has this smile all over his face. When we walked off to the dugout I was just really happy -- I had to show it off, you know? Express it, I guess.
You mentioned that you weren't screaming in comms and you were following up on each other -- those strike me as clearly identifiable things your team work on. What are the steps you are going to take to make sure this type of play isn't some remarkable thing, but something normal?
*pauses to think*
We watched our games during stage 1, week 4. We listened to it, we watched the VODS, we heard the comms and we said to our selves -- this is not the way we want to play. We can't hear anything and it was all over the place, to be honest with you. Week 5 -- we were more motivated than ever to go into practice and work on those things, because (week 4) was such a crushing defeat, you know?
We just grinded it out, especially practicing exactly how we wanted to play on stage. We kept the comms levels the same and had a hierarchy of people talking. That was one of the issues on stage -- people getting too hyped on stage and talking more than they usually do during practice. This is going to happen -- people get hyped -- but we need to try and keep that to a minimum so we can keep the same levels and the same kind of gameplay we are aiming for.
We have been focusing a lot on communication and, it sounds really simple, but just acknowledging someone in the game is really important. Like, if someone says "oh, can we go here?" If you say "no" or "yes" that is really important, otherwise he is going to be left there -- "are we going or are we not going?"
A lot of teams are taking a lot of steps outside the game in an attempt to improve their in-game play. We have players in the league going to the gym, meditating, repeating mantras before the match -- all sorts of calming techniques.
Now that you let me know getting too excited is something that causes your team to lose their focus, I'm curious about what things you could do outside the game that might help you keep your cool inside the game?
That... is a really good question.
We have been thinking, based off a suggestion from our manager, that we can maybe do yoga in the mornings. We will see where that lands up, he only suggested it a week ago.
Personally, I think it is up to the individual. Maybe if the coach is getting too hype, but he likes to do something outside the game that makes him happy or calm -- whatever it is -- maybe he should try to incorporate that. I don't know just one thing we could do to make it better, but I'm sure there are a lot of things we could try.
It's a good question. We will see if we can figure something out.
What does Florida Mayhem look like when it's operating on all cylinders? What is the thing you guys do really well?
Obviously, we all need to pop off and play our absolute best, right? But it all comes down to communication. When that is clear, we can listen to Zebbosai's calls. When a fight is over, we talk about ultimates: what they used, what we have, what we want to do next fight, how we want to position. If we do that, and try not to overemphasize calls too much as to leave space for Zebbosaii to make up the plan, it's up to the rest of us to execute it.
I usually do most of the engagement calls and decide who we are going to go on. But, it all depends of course. If Logix is on a flank and he gets in on a Zenyatta, he is going to call for me -- "I'm going now on this position!" Or if TviQ has Dragonblade, I'm going to follow him. It's all up to us as a team to listen to the plan and just execute.
How do you, as a Florida Mayhem player, respond to the communities odd embrace of your team's in-game skins as something...
Yeah, like something players use to intentionally be as loud, flashy, and funny as possible. Even some of the Korean pros when they stream wear Mayhem skins because so many people request it. Are you for this, or against it?
I'm all for it. I think GODS was streaming and we were on Route 66 and I was playing Reinhardt. We were about to attack and, I just embraced it. I pretended to be a waiter, or like I was behind the cashier as a McDonald's employee giving out burgers and sh*t. I just embrace it, I love it.
Dafran, he is amazing. I watch his streams and he is really funny I think. Everyone on the team embraces it and we think it's really fun to look at the memes -- no one has an issue with it. It's all good.
You can have the last words.
As always, thank you to Florida Mayhem and Misfits. Thank you to the fans -- without you guys it wouldn't be the same. When we were losing so much and people were still sending us kind words -- you just helped it. It felt like you pulled us out of a black hole and we just kept on going, more motivated than ever.
Huge shout outs to the fans and also my family. I love you guys and I will see you soon.
All photos inside the Blizzard Arena stadium taken by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment and subsequently released by Blizzard for publication.
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