The Houston Outlaws faced their toughest challenge yet with their Week 2 matchups against the Spark and NYXL. Despite this, Houston went into the week with a fresh mindset and a new strategies giving them their first win of the season against the impressive Hangzhou Spark. The Outlaws may still have some difficulty with the current Meta, things are looking up for Houston and their fans.
Hangzhou Spark (2-2)
Going into the match, Hangzhou looked like one of the best, if not the best expansion teams. Houston needed to adapt to the Spark’s aggressive and flexible play style if they were to pull out a win. So, the Outlaws stepped up to the plate, ready to take on the challenge.
They began Busan with an impressive 2-0 win where Hangzhou only took the point once during the entire map. Their DPS heavy team composition seemed like too much for the Spark to handle. Jiri “Linkzr” Masalin’s play on Widowmaker shined as he had several incredible kills with Widow and Danteh continued to dominate with his stellar Tracer play.
Unlike Busan, Kings Row and Temple of Anubis were much closer games, each ending 5-4 and 4-3 for the Outlaws respectively. The victory on King’s Row came off the back of a stellar D.Va bomb from Flex Tank Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen. In contrast, the win on Temple of Anubis didn’t star any real highlight plays from the Outlaws, but rather, an incredible strategy. On point A, Houston baited the Spark support line to overextend and picked them off one by one forcing Hangzhou to drop back to regroup. Despite losing on Dorado, Houston put up a great fight and proved they can stand toe to toe with some of the better teams in the league.
Player(s) of the Game
While it may have been his first appearance on the Overwatch League stage this season, Spree proved that he’ll be an influential figure for the Houston Outlaws. His stellar play on both D.Va and Zarya is crucial for their success with the current GOATS meta. Furthermore, Danteh proved again that his play on Sombra and Tracer will be a huge influence on the game.
New York Excelsior (4-0)
The Outlaws suffered a tough loss against the New York Excelsior. During the entire match, excluding Route 66, Houston could not score a single checkpoint. Despite losing 0-4 Houston looked much better than they did in week 1 and have certainly cleaned up their GOATS play.
Houston came out with a 3 DPS team composition in village on Nepal where they put up a great fight against the NYXL. However, NYXL regrouped well and push the Outlaws off the point and pulled out the win. On Sanctum and every map thereafter, excluding Route 66, New York began to exploit Houston’s weakness playing a 3 tank, 3 support team composition. Houston took hold of the point multiple times on Sanctum, however, the Excelsior would continue to knock the Outlaws off the point and come out with a win.
The next two maps were a huge struggle for the Outlaws. They lost both Hollywood and Temple of Anubis quickly, with New York having 3+ minutes left to spare if the game would go into extra rounds. Furthermore, Houston lost a tough match on Route 66 2-1, played more relaxed team composition with support player, Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, playing with Roadhog. Despite the losses, The Outlaws’ Jacob “Jake” Lyon showed his prowess on Hanzo leading to this highlight play.
Jakezo is here! pic.twitter.com/yUnRqZdtid
— Houston Outlaws (@Outlaws) February 24, 2019
Player of the Match
Houston showed a lot of heart and passion against their match against the NYXL, showing a willingness to not give up even when the odds were stacked against them. No one showed more passion for the game than Jake. His in-the moment anger showed fans that he hates to lose and even when he tries his hardest and fails he is still upset about it. Hopefully Jake’s experience and passion for the game and his team help push the rest of the Outlaws to become better and succeed in the future.
Florida Mayhem (1-2)
The Houston Outlaws have short week ahead of them with only one match against the Florida Mayhem on Saturday. The Mayhem’s upset victory over the Philadelphia Fusion proved, that like the Outlaws, Florida can win against strong teams.
However, their loss against the Chengdu Hunters proved that the Mayhem tend to stick with a 3 tank, 3 support team composition and are week against a DPS heavy team composition.
Houston cannot stick to the traditional 3-3 team composition if they want a win against the Mayhem. Luckily, with Houston’s DPS talent it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them to make flex picks such as Jake playing Pharah and Danteh playing Sombra.
Result: 3-2 Houston
Player(s) to watch
Keep an eye out for Danteh, Jake, and Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin to come out swinging against the Mayhem. As stated above, Houston needs to build a team composition around their DPS line again for them to find any success against Florida. The Outlaws success hinges upon adjusting their team strategy and giving their players the opportunity to succeed by playing to their individual strengths rather than just following the meta.