Yesterday was Houston’s turn to ride the Overwatch League free agency merry-go-round. First (and most shocking) was the departure of Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell. Then came role changes for Matthew “Clockwork” Dias (Coaching) and Lukas “Mendokusaii” Hakansson (Content Creator). Houston fans everywhere gave a sigh of relief when GM, Flame, released the following tweet after the news about Mendo broke:
Also, you can all sleep well tonight, there may be more announcements, but no more freed up slots.
— flame (@flameIRL) September 3, 2018
There May Be More Moves Coming
In Flame’s tweet, it said that there would be more announcements, but no more “freed spots.” It seems like role changes like Mendo’s and Clockwork’s count as a freed spot, but what about trades?
The Outlaws are in a tough position right now with their DPS players. Mid-season addition WonHyeop “ArHaN” Jung was picked up as the team scrambled to find a top-tier Tracer player. However, by the time they got him, the meta had already moved on. ArHaN is the only Korean player on the team and has a very similar hero pool to Jake “JAKE” Lyon. With JAKE being the staple as he is, look for the Outlaws to potentially deal ArHaN to a Korean team.
But…Then Again…Maybe not?
On the other hand, if we interpret Flame’s tweet to truly mean that they are sticking with their remaining players, what does that mean for the team? We can count on the Outlaws to stick with their current tank line, potentially rotating Alexandre “SPREE” Vahomwegen into the lineup more often. However, expect a larger salary pickup at either DPS or support.
This author would speculate that the team cannot afford two more big-name players, but it seems feasible that they could land one. It was after the news of Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov’s departure from Boston that Houston announced their move to take Clockwork out of the lineup. Could this be a sign that the Outlaws want to pick up Mistakes at DPS? It may be a mistake not to.
A Core We Can Believe In
Whatever we can speculate from Flame’s cryptic tweet, we know for certain that the Outlaws are going to stick with their same core of players. In a recent interview with Dustin Steiner, Austin “Muma” Wilmot said, “I still believe in the roster we currently have. I think our team can only get better.” I think Muma is echoing here what the organization believes at large. There is a feeling that these guys really are just a group of friends, that their relationships go farther than just the game itself. This camaraderie gives Houston some of the best team chemistry in the league, which may pay off next year when the rest of the league is scrambled and reassembled.
Houston has decided that the grass is greener on their side of the fence, rather than looking elsewhere. If I’m a player for Houston, knowing my organization believes in me over all of the other free agents out there gives me a great deal of confidence. In a league where mental health and stability are at a premium, Houston is looking out for their own.
While there may or may not be more changes to come, look for Houston to compete in a big way next year. These players are going to be hungry for the playoffs after having just missed them last year. Look for them to stay hungry heading into Season 2.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Overwatchscore
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