Overwatch League’s Stage 2 is just around the corner. With that come refreshed teams, trades in between stages, even full on retirement. The Houston Outlaws had a quiet stage break, but are ready to get back in action. After finishing Stage 1 with a disappointing 3-4 record, the Outlaws look to improve, hopefully clinch a stage playoff bid and win some games in their home state. However, they will have some major roadblocks along the way.
Week 2 Vancouver Titans
Houston faces THE toughest team in all of the Overwatch League for their first match of the stage. Not only did the Vancouver Titans win the Stage 1 playoffs, but they didn’t lose once in all of Stage 1. The Titans roster is absolutely incredible. They can boast that they undoubtedly have the best Brigitte in the entire league in Hyojong “Haksal” Kim and one of the best main tanks in the world in Sang-beom “Bumper” Park.
In addition, almost every member of the Titans played together on the Korean Contender team, RunAway. Their team synergy will be just as good, if not better, than the Houston Outlaws.The Outlaws may find success if Dante “Danteh” Cruz gets the opportunity to play as Sombra and the team manages to work out of their issues with ult economy.
Week 3 Philadelphia Fusion
After the Outlaws face the Vancouver Titans, they play against another Stage 1 playoff team, the Philadelphia Fusion. Philadelphia have proven to be one of the scrappiest and strongest teams in all of the Overwatch league. Their mostly veteran team went to the Overwatch League Grand Finals in Season 1 and could be a major challenge to the Houston Outlaws.
Despite their impressive performance during stage 1, Philly were upset by the Florida Mayhem. Sang-bum “BQB” Lee of the Florida Mayhem caused the Fusion tons of problems with his incredible Sombra play. If Danteh can manage to replicate BQB’s performance, the Outlaws could pull out a win.
Week 3 Shanghai Dragons
The Shanghai Dragons continued to look more impressive as Stage 1 progressed. Despite missing a playoff berth, they managed to take victories from the Overwatch League Season 1 Champions, the London Spitfire and Stage 1 playoff team, the Boston Uprising.
Shanghai also utilizes a Sombra reliant team composition and have found great success with the hero. Houston will need Zarya specialist, Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen and main tank extraordinaire, Austin “Muma” Wilmot, to pop off to put up a fight against the Dragons and come out with a victory.
Week 4 Seoul Dynasty (Home Game)
The Seoul Dynasty did the impossible and upset the NYXL in the Stage 1 playoffs. Seoul looked like one of the weakest teams going into playoffs. However, their coordinated play gave them a rather dominate win against the playoff favorites. While the Dynasty did lose to the Vancouver Titans it’s clear that they will be taking some of their momentum into Stage 2.
Seoul is led by Zenyatta specialist, Je-hong “ryujehong“ Ryu. Houston’s support line has been rather lackluster, however, if Houston can manage to make some early picks off the Dynasty’s back line through Widowmaker play from Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin, they could upset the team from Korea.
Week 4 Dallas Fuel (Home Game)
Everyone loves rivalries. The one between Houston and Dallas goes beyond the Overwatch League. It’s safe to say that this is one of the most anticipated games of the weekend. In addition, this game will be played in Texas near Dallas, so it’s sure to be a shootout.
Just like the Houston Outlaws, it seemed that Dallas couldn’t find their footing in Stage 1. However, the boys in blue did manage to take a win from the Philadelphia Fusion and managed to 4-0 the Shanghai Dragons. The Fuel do their homework before matches and seem to have answers to team compositions that rely heavily on Sombra.
While Danteh has looked incredible on the hacking hero, he has struggled against teams that manage to avoid EMPs and hacks. Houston needs to clean up their GOATS play to find success against their Texas rivals.
Week 5 Guangzhou Charge
The Guangzhou Charge narrowly missed Stage 1 playoffs with a better map differential than the Houston Outlaws. It seems that the Guangzhou Charge are in a similar place as the Outlaws, struggling to find their footing, yet having some amazing performances.
Jinseo “Shu” Kim has proven to be the backbone of the Charge’s success. As one of the best flex supports in the Overwatch League it’s clear that Houston will need to find an answer to his incredible Zenyatta play. If LiNkzr can get some early picks as Widowmaker or if Danteh can disrupt the Charge’s support line, Houston may find themselves victorious against the Chinese team.
Week 5 London Spitfire
After winning the Overwatch League in Season 1 it seems that the London Spitfire found themselves in a small slump. However, counting out the London Spitfire in Stage 2 would be a mistake. The former champions are looking to return to glory and could cause some problems for the Outlaws.
Junyoung “Profit” Park and Jaehui “Gesture” Hong showed some incredible performances during Stage 1. If Houston wants a win against the English team, Muma will have to fight fire with fire against London’s strong Reinhardt.
Featured image courtesy of the Houston Outlaws
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