The Overwatch League returned in full force this weekend, ending two weeks of post-May Melee dead air. Over the course of three days, 14 teams from across the globe battled their way towards a spot in the June Joust. This is a four-team tournament that will see competitors fly out to Hawaii in order to cross international divides and compete for the (fleeting) title of best team in the world.
Of all the teams who competed last weekend, none had as brilliant highs and cavernous lows as the Houston Outlaws. Like many other teams, the Outlaws played two games, one of which they won and one of which they lost. This pair of high-intensity matches stood out as fan favorites, containing multiple moving parts that kept them interesting. So what made these matches so exciting? And who are some of the standout players that made them so?
The Houston Outlaws VS The Atlanta Reign
The Houston Outlaws’ first game of the weekend was against the Atlanta Reign. Though this match proved to be exciting, many Outlaws fans were disappointed and many Pick ‘Ems were ruined after the Reign took the match 3-1. This loss understandably soured opinions on the Outlaws’ chances on getting into the June Joust. After all, though the Reign aren’t a bad team by any means, they also aren’t one that teams near the top were worrying about. More commonly Atlanta are considered the gatekeepers who separate the good teams from the bad teams on the NA power rankings.
However, that doesn’t mean that this loss was totally unwarranted, either. The Atlanta Reign have proven to be a strong team despite their even record. Their world-class DPS line has proven to be capable of slugging it out with the best the league has to offer, including the ever-dominant San Francisco Shock. Despite this, the Outlaws’ chances of getting into the June Joust seemed to be crumbling before them- and they needed a big win to get it back.
The Houston Outlaws VS The Florida Mayhem
Of all the teams the Outlaws played this weekend, the Florida Mayhem were arguably the strongest. This formidable team overcame many strong challengers to make it into the May Melee, and though they didn’t bring the championship home. This consistent level of success left many Overwatch League fans expecting the game to be a cut-and-dry victory for the Mayhem. However, the Outlaws overcame the odds and, despite doubts surrounding their success, took the game 3-1. This massive upset caused the Outlaws to shoot up in the power rankings as well as in the opinions of Overwatch League fans, many of which began to see the Outlaws’ chances of making it into the June Joust slightly more favorably.
Despite netting an even number of wins and losses over the course of the weekend, many members of the Outlaws’ roster performed incredibly, cementing their high-ranking positions on IBM Watson’s player power rankings. Of these notable performances, the phenomenal Winston and Wrecking Ball play of Song “Dreamer” Sanglok stood out the most. Dreamer joined the Outlaws in the middle of last week, and proved near instantaneously that, despite being absent from the League for the first part of the season, he remains a force to be reckoned with. Other brilliant showings came from Dante ‘Danteh” Cruz, whose Echo play proved instrumental in supporting the Outlaws’ versatile gameplan, and Jacob “Jake” Lyon, whose signature Junkrat returned for the first time in two years to clean up the Florida Mayhem.
But What About Next Weekend?
The Houston Outlaws’ level of success this past weekend makes it difficult to predict their chances of making it to the June Joust. A victory against the Florida Mayhem would spell good news for other teams in the league, but after a loss against the Atlanta Reign, such a win doesn’t clean much up about the Outlaws’ future prospects. Outlaws fans will need to wait until this Saturday, the day the Outlaws will be playing the London Spitfire, to get a clear image of the team’s chances of making their way into the June Joust.
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