MVP? Coach of the Year? A crown? The Florida Mayhem defeated the Houston Outlaws to secure all the awards and the OWL Grand Finals 2023 gold.
The Florida Mayhem want it all. MVP, coach of the year, Pro-Am, and now can claim the OWL Grand Finals 2023 championship for its history season. On the back of superb meta manipulation and their MVP tank Someone, the Mayhem ended a storybook season for the Houston Outlaws and won what could be the final OWL championship by a 4-0 margin.
Florida's victory is the franchise's first Grand Finals championship and marks an exciting, surprising, and bittersweet season. No matter what happens with Overwatch League after today, the Mayhem will always have its historic playoff run as evidence that OWL would not go quietly into that good night.
Let's go over the series, map by map.
OWL Grand Finals 2023: Outlaws/Mayhem Map One
The story of Map One on Antarctic was simple: Happy on Bastion, blowing the competition away. The Florida Mayhem came out without an answer to the recently buffed turret bot. The Mayhem Reinhardt composition was maybe a bad look against the Outlaws and it's Sigma-fronted approach. The Outlaws quickly took the first point on Map One.
Outlaws tank Bernar swapped to D.VA for the second point, along with Happy now on Hanzo. However, the story was the same with Houston's star DPS player combining with Pelican to dominate the high ground. Florida couldn't group up and found themselves misusing Ultimates and falling to solo kills. Bernar finally switched to Sigma himself, even as 2023 MVP Someone answered with a Graviton Flux and finally get control.
With high ground control, the Mayhem were able to pressure the Outlaws and build momentum. This caused Houston to hotswap back to D.VA, but it didn't cease the pink and black pressure. A Mei on Mei duel led to Florida taking the point and tying things up.
The counter-comp swapping continued on the third point, with Mayhem leading out with Junker Queen against the Outlaws. With the first map of OWL Grand Finals 2023 on the line, both teams pushed hard to be the first onto the control point. The Outlaws blinked and Florida finally took control on the back of Reinhardt pressure.
Houston too multiple stabs at taking Someone out, but could never capitalize on the team advantage. The Mayhem finally closed Map One out and took an early series lead.
Florida leads Houston 1-0.
Map Two: Blizzard World
The Outlaws opened Map Two of OWL Grand Finals 2023 by choosing Blizzard World, on offense. Houston continued with a poke composition of Mei and Hanzo, while Florida went with its signature Sigma comp. Much like Map One of Antarctic, Houston took early pressure and scored the first control point off Bastion pressure from Happy.
Florida attempted a cheeky Symmetra portal to high ground with Baptiste Ultimate and were immediately stymied. Whoops. Houston took the team kill and began to push the payload through the second point. Once more, Happy's Bastion took control of the offense and got a multi-kill from high ground. However, the Mayhem immediately got Support eliminations against Shu and stood tall.
We were then treated to Someone attempting a stealthy Shatter around corner, once again stopping Houston's momentum. However, a flank more by Bernar secured the second point despite a 1v4 situation.
A Blizzard secured the lockdown and left Houston with two points as Florida went to attack.
Houston opened with a defensive stand that fell flat, quickly dropping the point. The continued story of the Mayhem's dominance was better Ultimate usage and taking advantage of singular eliminations. Looking for an answer to Reinhardt, Bernar swapped to Orisa and attempted to give Houston a chance to stand upright. However, the spectre of a Mayhem Blizzard loomed large over every team fight.
A high ground team fight led Florida to all hit 'Q' at the same time, with Merit scoring a massive Sojourn Overclock and locking down the second point. Merit then swapped to Bastion, which gave the team enough offense to take the payload through the corner and secured Map Two.
The Mayhem continued to cook and the Outlaws would look to Suravasa and Map Three.
Florida leads Houston 2-0.
OWL Gran Finals 2023: Map Three - Flashpoint
The Outlaws would look to Pelican on Genji for the third map of the OWL Grand Finals 2023 championship. Once more, Houston would take the early advantage on the first point, with Bernar displacing the Mayhem off high ground. Sigma pressure from Someone and an Accretion kill on Genji gave the Mayhem the point back.
Both teams would trade Ultimates, but a Dragon Blade by Pelican ended extremely short as Florida took the first point.
Pressure from Bernar led to Houston taking control of the second point after a drawn-out encounter. The Houston tank would continue to dominate the map, knocking Someone out of his Sigma Ultimate and running straight past the MVP and into the Mayhem backline. With one fight left, Florida lost the Ultimate battle and Houston tied up the Flashpoint.
Florida took a strong position for the third point, with Houston falling to an early Mayhem team kill. Key Mei walls would give Florida a huge completion lead and a securing of the third point. Houston's meter would stop at 74 percent as Florida fought back once more, but multiple flip-flops ended with Houston tying it up 2-2.
The third and final point saw both teams jockeying for position, with Florida scoring blood off a Sigma Ultimate. Bernar's pressure as Orisa continued to be a struggle for Florida, but didn't stop the Mayhem from a clean and anticlimactic end to the third point and the third map.
Houston was running out of chances.
Florida leads Houston 3-0.
OWL Grand Finals 2023: Map Four, last chances
Esperanca set the stage for what would be Houston's final chance at victory. Searching for an answer, Houston removed it's mercenary tank Bernar and brought in the 2022 Grand Finals MVP, Fearless. Would the team's premiere tank be able to keep up in a Winston-less meta?
Looking for a change of pace and to take advantage of the Push map, Houston would come out on the dive that brought them success all season. Would Houston going dummy be enough? The plan would rely on Sombra hacks on Bastion to succeed.
Houston swapped the hack strategy to targeting Baptiste and attempting to remove Florida's prime healer. Pelican's Sombra quickly took control with the Mayhem unable to turn around in time to protect it's support line.
Checkmate would swap to Tracer in lieu to Florida taking control of the bot and gaining control once more. A support-focused EMP from Houston on the high ground caught the Mayhem off-guard and led to yet another swap with two meters of lead.
It wouldn't last, as yet another meaty EMP/Primal Rage combo gave Houston control, but at a cost. Now 20 meters down, the Outlaws would only have one Ultimate in Nano Boost for the next fight. A key Immortality Matrix would keep Houston from gaining an advantage and helped Florida take command.
With time counting down into overtime, Houston's last chance appeared. However, it wasn't to be as a Sombra EMP was countered and the Florida Mayhem secured the map, the win, and the OWL Grand Finals 2023 championship.
Overwatch League, forever.
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