Duos like League of Legends famous pair Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black and Peter “Doublelift” Peng, once thought inseparable, are now vicious rivals. Element Mystic’s 2018 team went their separate ways as Overwatch League Season 2 came around, and were split across multiple teams.
However, the Melbourne Mavericks have thrived by sticking together through thick and thin. From their time as SereNity to now, it’s been 18 months of hard work that has led them to their first top four appearance. After months of being underrated, and overperforming, they got their break against Mindfreak in the quarterfinals to book their first LAN appearance.
“I don’t think we as a team were expecting to make LAN this season,” main support Ash “Fluro” Thompson said. “We of course had the goal of making it, but our priority at the start of this season was more to rebuild and structure in a way that we could get results for season two.”
They were expected to make LAN in season three after a very promising start saw them claim the third-seed in Group B, but they lost to Athletico in the quarter-final.
“It was a pretty rough end for us as the series against Athletico could’ve gone either way,” flex support Myles “Forbles” Glacken said. “We were all pretty crushed after that one, and there was just silence in the team discord for hours after the game.”
WE’RE GOING TO SYDNEY!
We close out the series with a clean 3-0 against @Mindfreak. GGs to them!
Now onto @IEM Sydney where we’ll be playing on the 4th of May at the @qudosbankarena. We’ll be putting everything towards getting ready for our matchup against @Dropbearsgg. pic.twitter.com/Fp9FCch1Yb
— Melbourne Mavericks (@MelbMavs) April 15, 2019
The Mavericks did go through a small overhaul in the off-season. The squad lost DPS Jason “Nox” Tandy to Blank Esports, and off-tank Oliver “Oily” Barker to Ground Zero. Promoting season three substitute Kurt “Naahmie” Pedersen and bringing back former off-tank Gus “Guzto” Scholz allowed the Mavericks to develop into a threatening team who can flex onto any comp.
“Our playstyle is very chaotic and aggressive and a lot of that is represented in how we play DPS comps pretty regularly,” said Fluro.
“That being said, we can still play GOATS, but our ability to change gears quicker than most teams and having that variety gives us the edge over other teams.
“The introduction of Guzto especially has been great for the team. His ability to Sombra has really contributed to our success this season, and he has really exceeded expectations.”
Given the meta shift heading into LAN, with the introduction of Baptiste and the nerfs to Brigitte and other prevalent GOATS heroes, the Mavericks will be one of the most prepared teams to throw the gauntlet at IEM Sydney.
“There was a mad scramble with Baptiste being released for playoffs [in trying to learn the new meta], but we’ve got a good chance against any comp we might see at finals,” said Forbles.
“GOATS is still very prevalent just because we have teams all over the globe that have been practicing this one specific comp for almost a year now,” added Fluro. “We’ve been hard at work in the lab though working new DPS comps and refining them to a level that can challenge the best in the region.”
The Mavericks come into LAN as the tournament’s dark horse. With no big event experience as a team, and only one player with LAN experience in Guzto, there’s questions marks around whether they’ll be able to withstand the pressure of facing three-time champions Sydney Drop Bears in the semi final on a massive stage. However, they are quietly confident.
“While we didn’t have the best performance against these teams during the regular season, we’ve been working hard to make it a close series,” said Forbles.
“With the amount of time we’ve had between playoffs and LAN I think we will be able to meet SDB on stage and provide a very entertaining game for the fans to watch, hopefully get the upset and show that even a team that had beginnings playing against Amateur teams two years ago can topple the best team in the region,” Fluro said.
As for playing on the big stage at IEM Sydney, both players are hyped for the chance to show their talent and soak in the atmosphere.
“Honestly, I’m just looking forward to making my appearance on stage and gaining some exposure for myself and my team-mates as we’ve worked so hard for over a year.”
“For me, I’m looking forward to the scale of the event. For a lot of us it’s our first LAN so having the live crowd is going to be a rush,” said Forbles.
The Mavericks will take on the Drop Bears in a Sydney-vs-Melbourne classic at IEM Sydney on May 4 at 4pm AEST. You can catch the action on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel.