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During the opening weekend of the 2021 Overwatch League, on April 18, the Houston Outlaws upset the San Francisco Shock 3-2. This game was a six-map thriller with a reverse sweep attempt from the top-tier team that everyone expected to win easily. For this reason, this is Upcomer’s Overwatch League “match of the week,” and it also goes to show how underrated the Houston Outlaws are.
This game started with the Shock playing some of their depth players, including the first appearance of Sean Taiyo “ta1yo” Henderson. However, the Outlaws took advantage of that and dominated them on the first control map. Ta1yo didn’t have a big effect on the first map but one of the Outlaws did. Jung-woo “Happy” Lee came out of the gates on fire. From the start of this series to the end, Happy outplayed the Shock lineup. After the Shock brought their starting lineup back in, they drew the hybrid map, stopping the bleeding but not matching the score. The third map, however, is where everything went from bad to worse for the Shock.
— Houston Outlaws (@Outlaws) April 18, 2021
The Houston Outlaws surprised everyone by starting Jacob “JAKE” Lyon on support for his first map of the season. The Shock also put their flex support Minki “Viol2t” Park on McCree for the second time this season. This time, it didn’t work out as he struggled to get a final blow and lost the map in a significant fashion. This put the Outlaws on match point; one map win from victory. But, the Shock banded together and won the next two maps to take it to a final map six. Havana ended up as close as could be. Both teams had an amazing first-point defence. However, rookie main tank Myung-heum “JJANGGU” Cho landed a big shatter in overtime and stopped the reverse sweep.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 18, 2021
What this game means for the Outlaws’ future
To put it lightly, the Outlaws have been underrated this season. They are one of the five teams who won both games this opening weekend against two great teams. In the preseason power rankings, the Shock was the team to beat, and the Houston Outlaws did just that with this upset. They capitalized on the Shock’s mistakes and their team popped off when needed. Additionally, players on the Outlaws have stepped up and shown their skill against a top team. This is especially true for their rookie tank duo and new support duo, who were crucial in the victory.
This was surprising result to say the least, which makes this game Upcomer’s Overwatch League match of the week.
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.