The Houston-based Overwatch League team just missed out on the playoffs in the inaugural season. They were considered one of the most mediocre teams in the league, and they had highs and lows. But how will they fare in the second season? Did the Outlaws fill in the holes in their roster that kept them from reaching the playoffs?
As a recap, I’m going over each Overwatch League team and what’s changed since the inaugural season. Each team will have its own article covering which players and coaches left, and who has replaced them. After going over the changes and my opinions on them, I’m going to rate them much like my weekly series last season. This rating will be a little more in-depth, considering I have more time than a week to look over the teams, especially the new ones. I’ve already done most of the league, but there still are six teams to go, including Houston.
The challenge for Houston was to change just a little, enough to improve and keep the synergy. Did they do enough? Let’s look into the roster of the Houston Outlaws.
Damage players (DPS)
The DPS players for the Houston Outlaws are Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin, Jacob “JAKE” Lyon, Won-hyeop “ArHaN” Jeong, and Dante “Danteh” Cruz.
Let’s start with the players who were on the Outlaws last year: Linkzr, Jake, and Arhan. These three were rotated in and out of play last season. The flashiest one was Linkzr, a Finnish Widowmaker and McCree player who was always risky to face against. Jake, who used to be on the American team, was the vocal team captain. Jake’s most known hero was Junkrat, but he could also play Soldier: 76 and Pharah at a good level. Last but not least was Arhan, who was signed partway through the first season. He used to play for Korean team Meta Athena, but was known for his great play for former Korean super-team Afreeca Freecs. He is known for his Genji, but could also handle Tracer and Hanzo at a high level.
The new addition to the team is Danteh, who got traded to Houston from the San Francisco Shock. He was one of the most improved Overwatch League players last season, developing into a great Tracer and Sombra player. He fills in that Tracer role, something the Outlaws didn’t have last season and arguably needed to be top tier. The only problem with this signing is the three other players in his position he has to play better than.
The tank players for the Houston Outlaws are Austin “Muma” Wilmot, Matt “coolmatt” Iorio, and Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen.
All three of these players were on Houston last season, with Muma and Coolmatt getting the most time. Muma is their main tank, arguably the best Western main tank in the world. He plays Reinhardt and Winston, working well with his teammates. Coolmatt, the D.Va player, was very underrated and smart. Spree didn’t get too much playtime as a Zarya main, but has already seen a lot of time on stage so far in season two.
The support players for the Houston Outlaws are Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, Daniel “Boink” Pence, and Chris “Bani” Benell.
This support line remains unchanged from last year, with Rawkus and Boink being the main two players yet again this season. Rawkus is the main support, his trademark heroes being Ana and Zenyatta. Boink is the flex support, mainly playing Lucio and Mercy. Bani is a very flexible support, capable of playing both main and flex support if needed. Bani is known for his Zenyatta, Lucio. and Mercy play.
The player who left the Houston Outlaws is Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell.
FCTFCTN is a main tank player, mainly playing Reinhardt and Winston. He never got any playtime over Muma, who deserved that main tank role. He ended up being the only player released from the Outlaws, moving onto the Florida Mayhem’s academy team: Mayhem Academy.
There were also two players who left the roster of the Houston Outlaws, but they are still in the organization. These former players are Lucas “Mendokusaii” Håkansson and Matthew “Clockwork” Dias. Mendokusaii was known for his long time in the Overwatch scene, playing for Cloud9. He joined the Outlaws but never played a game, becoming a full-time content creator for the organization after the first season ended. Clockwork came in as a Tracer player, but never gelled with the squad in-game. He did end up being useful for the team, though – enough for the organization to sign him as an assistant coach after the first Overwatch League season ended.
Starting team and prediction
The starting roster for the Houston Outlaws should be Danteh and Jake on DPS, Muma and Coolmatt on tank, and Rawkus and Boink on support.
This team just missed the playoffs last season, solidifying their mediocre season. They made the Stage 1 playoffs, but never sniffed the postseason afterward. Was the one signing of Danteh enough to put them over the edge and make them a playoff team?
I’m giving them a 6.5/10. The Outlaws improved where they needed to, but with how much more this season will rely on versatility, they didn’t do enough. Their support line is still mediocre at best, and they have too many DPS players to solidify a lineup. Especially with how all three tanks are needed this stage, I can’t see them starting as strong as they did last season. Hopefully they can do well and prove me wrong, but this mostly American team won’t be that good this season.
For more Overwatch League insights, check my analysis on the Philadelphia Fusion.