With a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Reign, the Houston Outlaws have very likely closed the door on the play-ins. With a projected threshold of 13-14 wins required for 12th place, the Outlaws require major help from other teams in order to still qualify. They are currently sitting in 15th place with a match score of 9-16 and a map differential of -18 with merely three more matches left in their season.
The rest of their schedule looks relatively tame, as they’ll meet the struggling London Spitfire next Saturday, followed by a match against the Washington Justice. Their season finishes in week 4 against direct rivals for the 12th place, the Chengdu Hunters. Even if the Outlaws were to win every single one of those matches (and they can’t afford to lose a single one), those 12 wins are still very unlikely to be enough at their map record.
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In arguably the most important match of the season, the Outlaws looked largely out-muscled by the Atlanta Reign, who didn’t lose a point on Lijang Tower and full-held the Outlaws on Blizzard World. Even on Route 66, the Outlaws looked lost against Atlanta Reign’s offense and were not able to finish on theirs. The Outlaws maintained their line-up for the entire match, resulting in notable absences from Matt "coolmatt" Iorio and Jacob "JAKE" Lyon.
News that the Outlaws have been sold to Houston Real estate investor Lee Zieben was also reported by ESPN this week. Outlaws’ parent organization Infinite Esports & Entertainment had previously been acquired by Los Angeles Valiant parent org Immortals Gaming Club and consequently put under Overwatch League supervision to protect from potential conflicts of interests. Presumably, the process that the Outlaws underwent this season left them unable to make adjustments to the team or staff after the pre-season.