Joseph "Owakening" Conley cracks into our Top 10 players of Modern Warfare after an exceptional rookie season for the Florida Mutineers. He lands at #8 on our list, presented by BattleBeaver, by helping Florida win back-to-back homestands in his first two professional events played.
Last year was the first iteration of the top 20 where analysts, content creators, and personalities voted on the top 20 players in the recent season. This year we have 16 voters today, with the likes of Brandon "NovusVita" Hewitt (Paris Legion Analyst for the '19-'20 season), Ryan "Flux" Oldfield (Toronto Ultra analyst), IUOTurtle (Community Stats), and Cam Allen joining us to vote on who their top 20 players were for the Modern Warfare season.
A brief history
Owakening became eligible in 2019 during the Black Ops 4 season but mostly fell under the radar for the entire season. His team placed 9-12 at the CWL Amateur Finals in 2019 earning them a qualifying spot at CoD Champs in 2019 but lost 0-3 in the group stage to finish 25-32 to close out the year.
The Modern Warfare season meant a new beginning with new challenges. The season started off slow with his team placing 33-48 at the Launch Weekend Open however took a turn for the better with a 5-6 placement at the Atlanta Open. The following major tournaments consisted of one 4th place finish, three 2nd place finishes, and a 1st place finish. Owakening’s contributions did not go unnoticed applying pressure and consistently leading the team in slaying. The call to the pro-league was just around the corner.
The Year in Review
Florida Mutineers exited their very own Home Series in last place following their victory in the previous event hosted by Dallas. With how influential Fero was for the team as he arrived in place for Prestinni, the team decided it was time to further strengthen in the slaying department, and acquired Owakening from the Challengers scene in place of Maux. This ended up being one of the best roster changes of the entire season. The team went on to win the following two Home Series hosted by Minnesota and Paris the moment Owakening arrived.
Owakening was one of the strongest slayers during these two victories, and also finished in the top 5 KD leaderboard at the Paris Home Series. Florida now had the most Home Series victories in the CDL and had new additions Fero and Owakening to thank for this achievement.
Going into the London Home Series as the team to beat, Mutineers failed to keep the win streak alive and lost to London Royal Ravens 3-2. Although they were able to bounce back and make bracket play, they eventually fell to Dallas Empire in the semi-finals who went on to win the event.
The Toronto Home Series added fuel to the fire. Empire handed Mutineers two more defeats in group play to send Mutineers packing with just one win. With COD Champs just around the corner, Florida needed a reality check if they wanted to gain anything from the biggest event of the year. As the number three seeded team, Owakening knew his team was in a good position to finish in the top 3 and earn a minimum payout of $600,000. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Back-to-back losses to Toronto Ultra and Optic Gaming Los Angeles kicked Florida Mutineers out at 7-8th place. In a season with so many ups and downs, signing Fero was ultimately one of the best decisions the franchise made.
Owakening was one of the best slaying Flex players last season, where he excelled being apart of the three-headed slaying dragon in Florida. Having both Fero & Skyz helping control the map, with Frosty & Havok doing the dirty work, Big Wake was able to pick his power positions and put up ridiculous numbers with the M4. Here is a breakdown of his key statistics throughout the season:
While his Hill Time per 10 minutes is glaring red, the rest of his statistics were very consistent. He finished every event with a KD at 1.10 or above in both Hardpoint and Domination. In SnD he had two sub-par events but managed to put up a record KD at CDL Toronto (2.39). If he had joined the league sooner, he would've been able to challenge Shotzzy more for Rookie of the Year honors. Check out his detailed game mode breakdowns below:
This was the mode that Owakening was known for being a beast during his time in the amateur circuit, so it was no surprise to see it translate very well into the pro circuit. He maintained a very high level of play during the year, having only 8 maps with a negative KD out of 29 maps. He hit a peak cumulative KD of 1.27, ended with a 1.15 for the season, and hovered above a 1.20 for a major of the season. He was a big reason for Florida's success in the mode and will look to maintain this form in Cold War.
Search & Destroy
This was Big Wake's only up and down mode this past season. He had a rough stretch to start the season but really picked up form to end the year. The one event that really needs to be focused on was CDL Toronto, where he ended the event with a 2.39 KD and 1.49 kills per round. He went +32 across 4 maps, having 55 kills and 23 deaths. That one event boosted his cumulative KD from a 1.05 to his peak of 1.27. He will look to have a more consistent form next season in the mode, while still hitting his absurd peaks.
The final mode of the CDL season was Domination, another very strong mode for Owakening. Out. of his 17 nominations played, he ended only TWO maps with a negative KD. He'd finish every single event with a KD of 1.10 or higher in the mode while ending the season with a 1.17 KD. He strived in the mode using the M4, able to take the power positions he preferred to lock down flags with 3 players flying in front of him. He consistently put up top marks in kills per game, KD, and even captures per game. He was a very good do-it-all flex player in the mode.
Here are Owakening's season series statistics. It breaks down how he did in each length of series, whether the series went 3, 4, or 5 maps. His high for kills in a single series was at his first tournament of the year (CDL Minnesota) when he finished with 100 kills vs the LA Guerrillas over 4 maps. The rookie Flex star ended with seven series with 90+ kills out of his seventeen total series. As for his highest KD marks, he finished with a high of 1.41 series KD to kickoff CDL Paris vs the Paris Legion. Check out more series data below:
Every year, there are a select group of rookies who become known as “can’t-miss” pickups. Owakening was one of them. He joined the Mutineers squad at a time where consistency was the issue (the previous two tournaments were 1st place and last place) and a meta that was favoring a faster composition (1 Main AR, 4 SMG). Owakening’s impact was noticed immediately with the team winning back-to-back tournaments followed by a 3-4 finish upon joining.
Owakening’s presence allowed Florida to play against the meta while still finding success leaning into Florida’s strengths of 2-3 ARs. With this meta and Owakening on board, Florida would see their series win-rate go from 53% to 65% with the major improvement in Search & Destroy (36% to 57%) and a slight lift in Hardpoint (52% to 55%). He finishes the season with the 3rd highest adjusted KD ratio (1.18), 4th highest respawn kills per 10 minutes (29.1), 2nd highest kills per round (0.89), and 4th highest first bloods per round (17%). Without a doubt, Owakening had one of the most significant impacts as a rookie this season and is deserving of the #8 spot on this year’s Top 20 players.
Looking ahead to Cold War
Owakening will continue into 2021 with the Florida Mutineers after his contract was extended by the organization this offseason. He will be joined by Cesar "Skyz" Bueno (#9) and Maurice “Fero” Henriquez (#11), with their 4th player yet to be announced. The team is loaded with slaying power with their core three, and just need a selfless SMG to help pick up the dirty work. Names that come to mind are of course Havok, Frosty, and Asim to fill that void. None the less, the Florida Mutineers should be a very scary team next season in Black Ops Cold War.