The Houston Outlaws are headed into the Summer Showdown with a rare chance at redemption. They’ve been put up against the Florida Mayhem for a Week 21 rematch in the first round of the Summer Showdown. When these two teams faced off last Saturday, it was Florida finishing on top in a close 3-2 series.
Despite coming up short last time, the Outlaws have proven they’re capable of beating a team like the Mayhem. Here are three things Houston must do in order to come out of Friday’s match victorious.
1. Shut Yaki down
It’s no secret that Flex DPS Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim is one of the key factors in Florida’s success thus far. His play on heroes such as Tracer, Genji and Echo has been causing headaches for opponents all season. The attention Yaki draws allows the rest of Mayhem to execute their signature aggressive playstyle.
Last weekend, Yaki ran a ton of Genji into the Outlaws. Given that the Summer Showdown will be played with the same patch and ruleset (including no hero pools) as last week, it’s likely that Yaki will bring out the Genji yet again. The Outlaws did a decent job against the Yaki Genji previously, but they’ll need to be even better this Friday.
The most important part of shutting down a Genji is countering his Dragonblade. Doing so requires excellent cooldown management and coordination on the part of the team getting bladed. For Houston, this means they must improve upon their plans for dealing with Dragonblade in preparation for the Yaki Genji.
Additionally, there’s a strong possibility that Yaki will see playtime on Tracer. The Mayhem had tremendous results against Houston last Saturday when they ran their classic Tracer-Ashe composition. With that outcome in mind, there’s a chance Florida will have Yaki play more Tracer than Genji in this upcoming match.
Houston definitely have the tools necessary to keep the Yaki Tracer in check. In particular, they have a star Tracer of their own in Dante “Danteh” Cruz. Danteh can look to force Tracer duels versus Yaki in order to prevent him from attacking Houston’s backline for free. The Outlaws can certainly win the Tracer-Ashe mirror matchup, so long as they keep a thumb on Yaki.
2. Continue to play around the Hydration Orisa
Main Tank João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles has been a blessing for Houston as of late. The current Overwatch League meta requires teams to utilize Orisa’s Halt to set up effective combos with other abilities and ultimates. It just so happens that Hydration is an outstanding Orisa player, and he’s great at coordinating Halt combos with his team.
The Outlaws have already made good use of Hydration’s prowess on Orisa. Last weekend, Danteh managed to get a four kill pulse bomb off the back of a Halt from Hydration. But that’s only one example of how Hydration gets value out of Halt.
Combos such as Halt with Pulse Bomb or Halt with Gravitic Flux are mainstays in the OWL meta. Successful teams are able to force their opponents to use crucial resources countering these combos. Houston are no exception to this rule. They were able to take advantage of their superior Halt combos in their Week 20 win against a talented Los Angeles Gladiators team.
Obviously, Florida Main Tank Pan-seung “Fate” Koo is an adept Orisa in his own right. But if Hydration can out-perform Fate in the Orisa matchup, the Outlaws will gain a major edge in the match.
3. Stick to your strengths!
For the first time in a long time, it seems as though the Outlaws have a team identity. They’ve figured out a lineup of players that work well together, and they’ve found compositions that suit them. These newfound strengths explain why Houston’s been climbing the power rankings since Week 19.
It has already been discussed how Danteh on Tracer and Hydration on Orisa can make a difference. But it’s also worth mentioning the support lineup for the Outlaws, with Jung-keun “Rapel” Kim and Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty in the starting spots. With this double-Flex-Support duo, Houston have converted their support line from a weakness to a relative strength. With the support role being a soft spot in the Mayhem’s lineup, look for Rapel and Rawkus to be a deciding factor on match day.
Another core part of the Outlaw’s recent success has been their ability to run the Double Shield composition with Tracer. It’s an extremely effective comp in the current meta, and Houston can run it at a high level.
The Mayhem are no slouches on this comp either. In fact, they made it to the finals of the May Melee running the exact same thing. Nonetheless, a big reason why Houston can compete with teams of Florida’s caliber is because of their proficiency with Double Shield and Tracer. The Outlaws must play to their strengths and best the Mayhem with this comp in order to advance in the Summer Showdown.
Featured Image Courtesy of FANTOM
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