Houston Outlaws’ Flex DPS Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang summed up his team’s collapse against Dallas Fuel last week in one word, “Pain.” Losing to an in-state rival is never going to feel good. Getting reverse-swept after coming within one teamfight of winning the entire match probably feels even worse.
Regardless, the Outlaws must set their sights forward to Week 25. They’ll be looking for a bounce-back victory against a struggling Washington Justice on Sunday night.
The Overwatch League regular season is beginning to wrap up, and wins are at a premium. Teams must finish ninth or above in the regional standings to avoid the single-elimination Knockout bracket in the North American end-of-season Playoffs. Currently, Houston holds the ninth spot with six wins. Washington sits below them in twelfth with three wins.
With the ninth seed still in reach for Justice, this match will be a dogfight for Playoff positioning. If the Outlaws can fend them off, it’ll set them up nicely to claim a spot in the top nine.
It’s been a turbulent season for Justice thus far, to put it mildly. They’ve undergone scores of roster changes in recent months, and they possess the second-worst record in the league. Washington are coming into this weekend off the back of an atrocious 3-0 loss to the Toronto Defiant.
Don’t underestimate the capability of the Justice though. They did damage in the Summer Showdown, taking wins against both Boston Uprising and Los Angeles Gladiators. Washington have plenty of potential on their roster, and with the importance of Week 25, they could hit another gear.
Whoops! Shouldn’t have ulted!
Perhaps the biggest issue Houston has to clean up at the moment is their ultimate usage. It was a problem that plagued them throughout the Battle for Texas, and it cost them the series in the end.
The Outlaws haven’t been badly misusing ults recently, just this last match. What happened?
A major factor in Houston’s poor ult management has been the hero pools for Weeks 24 and 25. For this two week stretch, Orisa has been banned. The Outlaws can’t coordinate their ults around Orisa’s Halt anymore. That was a central part of their (along with most other OWL team’s) strategy. Houston hasn’t adapted well to Orisa’s unavailability, and it’s hurt their usual ult structure.
The Outlaws will once again be without Orisa this weekend. They’ll have to use this week’s scrims to make the necessary adjustments for the Justice match.
Player to watch: Hydration
The player affected by the Orisa ban most has been Main Tank João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles. While he’s shown his proficiency on Orisa this season, his play on other tanks has left a bit to be desired.
Obviously, it’s difficult for Hydration to play heroes like Reinhardt and Winston at the highest level when he’s only just transitioned to the Main Tank role this season. But given Houston’s recent struggles with team coordination and cohesion, it’s time for the Brazilian-American to step up.
The Outlaws will need strong shotcalling and quality play from their Main Tank to insure their success on Sunday.
Match Prediction: 3-1 Houston
While the Outlaws had their difficulties against the Fuel, they did almost win the series. The Justice are certainly a tier below Dallas, so Houston should have the upper hand in this matchup.
Another tick in the Outlaws’ favor is the scheduling. They’ve had a long break between matches, eight days, to recover from last week’s defeat and prepare for this series. On the other hand, Washington has to prep for two matches this weekend, this one and a game on Saturday versus the Florida Mayhem. Houston can focus all their attention on winning this one match, a luxury Justice lacks.
If the Outlaws can perform at the level they were at a few weeks ago, they should take this one no sweat.
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
“From Our Haus to Yours”