With the Florida Mayhem removing BEARHANDS as GM, a replacement had to be made quickly as the 2019 offseason began. Fortunately, long time Mayhem staff member Albert Yeh had the experience and ability to move into the coveted role. Watchpoint Lobby had the opportunity to speak to the new GM about his past, the Florida Mayhem, and the 2020 Overwatch League season.
Albert’s Early Overwatch Career
Albert Yeh got his start in Overwatch through the open beta. Two months after the game came out, he joined team Elevate to kickoff his esports career. His time with Elevate did not last as the team disbanded their roster only after a month of Albert joining. Albert then hopped from team to team and even created his own teams to make his Overwatch career happen. He didn’t have a team to call home until he helped found the org Prestige Worldwide. Then the glory days for Albert as a player began, with his team only dropping one tournament to Evil Geniuses. After nine months with Prestige Worldwide, the team transferred to Rocket Esports and Albert “YeHH” held the title captain of the team. He played with familiar OWL faces like Stratus of the Washington Justice and NLaaeR of the Atlanta Reign.
Becoming a coach
After his time with Rocket Esports was over Albert was stuck in limbo. Not wanting to start over from square one, he decided to take his Overwatch career into a different direction. As a result, he took his first step into coaching as he joined NRG as an assistant coach. Even though he was only present for one event, Overwatch Contenders season 1, he gained a lot of experience in what it means to be an Overwatch coach. Two months later the Florida Mayhem offered him an analyst job.
This offer was made halfway through the inaugural season so he didn’t have much to say for the roster at the time. Albert then was transferred to Mayhem Academy and became the Head of Player Development and Scouting. Albert was put under assistant manager duties for the Florida Mayhem but kept the title of the head of scouting. He continued being the assistant GM until BEARHANDS was released by the team and Albert was promoted to General Manager. Needless to say – he’s been all around the organization from top to bottom in the span of two short years.
Working for the Mayhem
When asked what is it like to work for the Florida Mayhem, Albert responded, “it’s been very exciting… but it’s been a tough learning experience. Obviously we’ve been the worst team for two years running. I think since day one it’s been about doing my best to improve the team every day.” Clearly, the team’s lack of success weighs heavy on him and he knows there is work to be done.
Dealing with Mismanagement
The keyword that Albert hears a lot from the fanbase is mismanagement. Based on the performances of the past two season it’s understandable why. Albert said, “I’ve been working hard on changing it, but now that I’m GM, I’ll have more of a direct hand in being able to change those perceptions of our organization.” This means that Albert is taking full responsibility for the roster coming into season 3 which shows that the Mayhem has the utmost confidence in Albert to get the job done.
What is your best memory of the Mayhem?
Albert thought hard about this question and for good reason. How can you have a good memory with a losing franchise? Albert responded that he was proud of the Fate trade and how well it impacted the team’s improvement in the long run. He said, “I was especially proud of being able to finally make a big trade like that. I think it was a win-win for both sides. The Valiant obviously used our guys, I got to promote two of my Academy players, and we were able to get a big star in fate in return.”
Why did the Mayhem perform so poorly in season 2?
According to Albert, the major reason why the Mayhem failed in season two was the constant changes. “We’ve kind of been just shaking it up, the team dynamics, over and over again” he said, alluding to all the changes the team has made over the past two years. This is crucial because without a support staff organizing the team it all falls apart. Summing it up, Albert said, “I think it’s already hard with six players that speak the same language – there’s going to be issues there. There’s always issues in every team; personality issues or performance issues or what have you, or just team issues. On top of that, if we keep changing the mix I think you have to learn something new every time you mix up the kind of nationalities again.” Cleary the revolving door between players and their native languages created a difficult environment for a team to succeed in.
Did 2-2-2 Role lock play a part in the Mayhem’s success?
Despite a 6-22 record for the year, Florida went 4-3 in Stage 4. That surprise success Albert believes had a plethora of causes. “I think it was a combination of several factors,” he said. First, Gargoyle stepped up. “I was very surprised that his hog was that good. So that helped us a lot, Gargoyle’s Roadhog was actually insane. He just made a lot of good rotations, if you watch his play, I was consistently impressed with how he knows when he needs to flank, he knows when he should be in the front line. He consistently made really, really good decisions. Gargoyle coming into his own was a big part of it” Albert reflected.
Second, the Mayhem’s star player Fate stepped up. “He’s been a leader for the team since day one… Kris and Fate have very good chemistry together… they play off each other really well cause Kris is also an in game leader as well. They would do a lot of like target calling and then they’d help each other plan out tactics and set up. That’s kind of what propelled us to stage four” he said.
Do you think the current meta would benefit the Mayhem?
” I’m sure Gargoyle is good at Sigma but, I don’t have any footage of him playing Sigma in scrims cause our season ended before we were able to play Sigma .”Albert “yeHHH” Yeh
Albert believes that when widow is in the meta then Florida will be well positioned. “I’d still consider Sayaplayer to be the best Widowmaker at least in strictly widow duels, better than any widow in the league” he said with no hesitation. Sayaplayer has shown he’s the most skilled sniper in OWL so his confidence is well founded. As for the rest of the team, Albert thinks it depends on hero balance, nerfs, buffs, and any new hero that comes out.
Will the Mayhem avoid a repeat of season 1 and 2?
“It’s only up from here. My goal as a GM is to get our team to the season playoffs. I will be working to my utmost potential to make that happen for the fans. “Albert “yeHHH” Yeh
It’s been a tough start for the Florida Mayhem, and no one knows that more than Albert. Speaking honestly, he said, “it’s been a tough season. I mean, it’s been a tough few years for the franchise and I appreciate everyone that stuck with us. And I hope to do well by the fans next year and get us into the play-ins at least.” Given the massive turnaround Florida saw to close out the 2019 season, that isn’t an unrealistic goal.
Albert spoke with confidence that the Mayhem will not make the same mistakes for season 3. He understands the hardships the fan base has gone through and ensures that things will be better. As a man who takes full responsibility for the Florida Mayhem this is definitely good news.
Are the walkouts coming back?
For many Overwatch League fans not intimately familiar with the Mayhem, they may only know about the team’s zany entrances. Will there be more of them in 2020? According to Albert its up to the roster. He wouldn’t want to force his players to do anything uncomfortable. But he also took a bit of an issue with this idea of the team, saying, “I don’t want to only be known as the team that does the walkouts. I want to be known as a team that is good in the game, right?” But Albert knows its going to take alot of work to change the perception of the team across the league.
Wrapping up the interview, I wanted to know what Albert thought of the Mayhem’s fans and what he wants them to know if they’re listening. He said, “our fans are pretty resilient. I think meeting a lot of them, they’re super nice, but they’re always in the back of their mind like, ‘it’s another Florida team, we always suck. We always have bad performances in sports and all that.’ I had kind of hoped to change that narrative. But you know, they’re surprisingly loyal. I appreciate everyone that’s stuck with us for these hard two years. And you know, I hope we’re going to turn the corner in season three.”
Having someone whose been there from the start, has learned from the team’s mistakes, and is empowered to make the right moves is a good start. The team’s success to close out the last season is another big step. The question is, can they maintain that forward momentum? With hard working members like Yehhhh on board, it’d be hard to doubt them.