There are many words one may use to accurately describe the past week of Overwatch League matches. “Exciting” and “decisive” are easy contenders, as are “varied” and “telling”. However, if one had to pick a single word from a smorgasbord of descriptors to paint an accurate picture of the games seen in week 7 of OWL, it would choose “lopsided”. Though individual maps were down to the wire, matches as a whole were not.
Scores of 3-1 dominated half the record, while sweeps dominated the other. This pattern was disastrous for the weaker teams, who found themselves even deeper in the power ranking pit than at the start of the weekend. Yet, fantastic for some of the stronger ones, who solidified themselves as strong contenders for the June Joust.
Of all the strong teams that played in week seven, the Houston Outlaws benefited from the lopsided matches the most. Despite the Outlaws’ strong showings this season, confidence in their ability to take a title has been in constant flux. And though specific victories have helped to remedy this lack of trust, nothing has managed to cast it off entirely. Houston have needed something strong to treat their ailment for a while- and last weekend, they may have found the cure. So what made this past week of play so rewarding for them? Who was instrumental in getting them the results that they so desperately needed? And will this momentum be substantial enough to carry them into the June Joust?
The Houston Outlaws VS The London Spitfire
The Outlaws’ first victory of the weekend was courtesy of the London Spitfire. This sweep wasn’t an upset by any means. However, it still helped to reaffirm the validity of the Outlaws’ high-ranking position on the power rankings, an indicator of their success that was brought into question after their loss to the Atlanta Reign a week before. But despite how relieving this victory was for Outlaws fans, there isn’t much to say about Houston’s performance. It was an incredibly standard game for the Outlaws that mimicked many of the games that they’ve placed this season. Instead, the spotlight should be shone on the Spitfire, who put on a strong showing against a top-tier team. The Spitfires’ DPS line was especially commendable, as they managed to go head to head with DPS superstars like Jung-woo “Happy” Lee and Dante “Danteh” Cruz, showcasing their gradual, impressive improvement.
The Houston Outlaws VS The Toronto Defiant
Of the games the Houston Outlaws played this weekend, their match against the Toronto Defiant was arguably the most exciting. The Defiant are an extremely strong team that very nearly matched the Outlaws in the May Melee. They also possess an impressive lineup of veteran and rookie talent alike. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that many saw this match as totally up in the air, and likely to go to five maps. Despite this speculation, the match kept rank with the other games played over the weekend, ending with a 3-1 score that went in the Outlaws favour. Though they struggled on Control, they dominated in other gamemodes, and didn’t allow the Defiant to take a single point. This performance put hope in the hearts of many Outlaws fans, and solidified the team’s ability to take a title.
The Outlaws’ performance this weekend bolstered the hopes of many of the team’s fans. But who were some of the players that elevated their spirits? An obvious choice is Jung-woo “Happy” Lee. His McCree play was particularly commendable, as he managed to score 12.6 final blows per 10 minutes in his game against the Toronto Defiant, a showing which earned him the title of Player of The Match. But his performance wouldn’t have been enough without a strong flex DPS fighting alongside him. Dante “Danteh” Cruz did an incredible job of affecting fights with his deadly Echo. If not for his performance on the adaptable hero, the Outlaws wouldn’t have had as easy a time defeating the London Spitfire. This is a sentiment shared by Overwatch League analysts, who proclaimed him Player of The Match for that particular game.
But What About Next Weekend?
Though the Houston Outlaws aren’t guaranteed to play in week 8 of the Overwatch League, their presence is extremely likely. The top teams in NA will be competing over the latter half of the weekend in order to reserve their spot in the June Joust. Unless a major upset occurs, the Outlaws will surely be playing in these matches. And if their match against the Toronto Defiant is any sort of indicator, they may be winning them, too. This is the Outlaws shot to make it into the June Joust, and if they’re anything like their namesake, they’ll be making every bullet count.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage: