The Kickoff Countdown: Houston Outlaws
Howdy, Y’all! Welcome to another edition of The Kickoff Countdown! We at The Omnic Post are excitedly counting down the days to the inaugural matches of the Overwatch League with an in-depth look at two teams every week. The first League event, which will be a handful of exhibition matches, will take place at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles from December 6th to 9th. Stage 1 of the League will take place on January 10th, marking the official beginning of the season. In our in-depth looks at each team, we’ll give you a rundown of the team members, some fun facts, and their schedule for the first leg of the League. It is my honor as a Houstonian to introduce you all to the newest team to grace H-Town name, The Houston Outlaws!
Welcome to the Powerhouse
Houston, Texas is a working city focused on energy, medicine, and pride in its Texas traditions. Houston also takes their sports teams very seriously, you can’t go far in the city without a seeing an image of J.J. Watt (American football defensive end for the Houston Texans of the N.F.L.) or The Houston Astros (who won their first World Series recently). Having the Houston Outlaws will be a welcome addition to our city’s sports teams as well as a good team to start our participation in the Overwatch League. Something Hector Rodriguez, “H3CZ“, owner and C.E.O. of OpTic Gaming sees as something game-changing and will “formalize what ‘true’ franchise looks like”.
Someone had to break the ice
Houston may not be a name many people associate with ESports and video gaming, however, most of you will recognize the name OpTic Gaming, especially if you are familiar with Call Of Duty. What’s so interesting about this is that OpTic Gaming owns The Houston Outlaws, so even though Houston itself may be new to the ESports world, OpTic gaming is not. The fact that the Outlaws are being managed by an experienced ESports and gaming company will give them a benefit in that their management will be understanding of the requirements of both the report and the players.
“That’s going to look amazing on a T-Shirt”-H3CZ
Many have already stated that the brand and logo of the Houston Outlaws is the best and “most badass” in the Overwatch League. It is a perfect fusion of both being iconically Texan and of OpTic Gaming, a combo that everyone on the team loves. The Brand Logo is a Longhorn Skull, an easily recognizable symbol of the West, made up of two revolvers, another symbol of Texas and the American West. This all adorned by a single, lone star, fitting of Texas as it is the “Lone Star State” in The United States. Texas, being almost synonymous with cowboys and the American Wild West, is the fitting home for McCree. Also with a name like Outlaws it couldn’t be in better harmony with Mcree and the Spirit of Texas. The name was chosen as to ”honor the region’s rebellious and fearless nature in the face of all challenges, channeling its history and fight for independence to create a name and identity that is as large-and-in-charge as its hometown.” The brand’s color scheme is made up of Black and Green as an homage to OpTic Gaming as that is the color scheme they themselves use.
Much of the Outlaw’s team is familiar with each other and have played either with or against each other in the past. Many of the players for the Outlaws value chemistry and synergy as an important aspect of the game. They see Overwatch as the game we all love and are passionate about. Thus, even though they may be new to this level of competition and “true” professional gameplay, they’re first priority is still to have a much fun as possible while playing. Their biggest concern is just enjoying the game and playing with teammates as a family. “Boink” described it as them being more than capable of being reaching the “Top 4” but they are also seriously looking forward to the fun of the league more than just the rankings.
Lucas 'Mendokusai' Håkansson
Mendokusai makes up part of the Outlaws strong DPS base. Mendokusai specializes in "Hit-Scan" shooters. These are shooters that use firearms as their weapons of choice which means that we will be seeing a lot of effective DPS characters like Soldier 76 and Tracer.
Matt 'Clockwork' Dias
Matt has a long list of experiences under his belt. In Team Fortress 2 he is known to many as being "the best Scout of the game". He has even played with players like Seagull but nothing on "the 'true' professional side" like the Overwatch League is. He also specializes in Hit-Scan DPS characters and has an additional proficiency with projectile characters. His main goal is teamwork and to benefit the team as a whole by causing the most damage and eliminations as possible.
Jake Lyon, known to many just as "Jake", is a veteran Overwatch player having recently just played for the USA team in the Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon 2017. Jake is an experienced ESports player and competitive Overwatch player. He never played in the Beta, similar to teammates "Boink" and "Muma". This exclusion from the Beta makes him play with a chip on his shoulder in order to prove himself as being able to perform at the highest level of play in Overwatch.
Jiri 'LiNkzr' Masalin
Jiri Masalin, also known as LiNkzr, is a Finnish player that will also play DPS for the Houston Outlaws. He is most proficient in Genji, Mcree, and Windowmaker.
Austin "Muma" Wilmot
Austin Wilmot, also known as "Muma", is the main tank for the Houston Outlaws. Like "Jake" and "Boink" he wasn't involved with the Beta release. He also comes from Team Fortress 2 where he played with "Boink".
Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty
Rawkus joins the Houston Outlaws in the all-important role of Support. His proficiencies are in Zenyatta, Ana, and Sombra.
Daniel "Boink" Pence
Boink joins the Houston Outlaws as a Support player with his main focus on Lúcio. "Boink" comes to Overwatch from Team Fortress 2, and cites Team Fortress 2 as the origin of his name. He didn't participate in the Beta of Overwatch but still has a lot of experience. A lot of the Outlaws are made up of players that were with "Boink" on a previous team. This means they are already mostly accustomed to each other and "basically a family" as he put it.
The Houston Outlaws take pride in making the team as versatile as they can so the players can play multiple heroes and aren't limited to just one. They have three players on their roster as "Flex" players. These are:
Matt "Coolmatt" Lorio
Coolmatt is an American player who has experience from the Overwatch World Cup with Team USA and also played with Team Hubris. His signature heroes are Zarya and D.Va.
Alexandre "SPREE" Vanhomwegen
SPREE joins the Houston Outlaws from Belgium as a flex player with experience in Zarya, Soldier 76, and Tracer.
Chris "Bani" Benell
Bani joins the Houston Outlaws from Canada as a support/flex player with specialties in Sombra, Zenyatta, and Ana.
Teamwork makes the Dreamwork
The Houston Outlaws understand that unit cohesion and teamwork are what is necessary to be effective in Overwatch. With the entire outfit from the players to C.E.O. Hector Rodriguez, “H3CZ”, having experience in ESports and the Game community as a whole mean the Houston Outlaws all have a shared culture of understanding and acceptance with each other. General Manager Matt Rodriguez, “Flame“, goes into detail about how team corporation and understanding is paramount. This means maintenance of individual egos and team synchronization will be critical. “Flame” also adds how the personality of the players and their playing style are critical in maintaining harmony as a whole.
The Houston Outlaw’s roster is a fuller one with 10 players on it in total. “Flame” describes this as a necessity to keep pressure off of the players. With 10 players on the roster but only 6 able to play at one time, this means some players have the opportunity to take time off if needed. “Flame” describes Overwatch to have a high ‘Burn Out’ rate with the players and with the aggressive schedule of the Overwatch League,so it’s understandable that some players may just need to take some time off to recover.
The Outlaws are part of the Atlantic Division of the Overwatch League. This means they will be in competition with the East Coast of the United States and the London Spitfire. The Houston Outlaws will have a real Texan Showdown versus the Dallas Fuel in their debut round, December 7th. Sadly, it will be at 6 pm in Texas’s Time Zone and not at High Noon. The Houston Outlaws have many ways for you to keep up with them via different social media platforms. You can visit their Youtube page, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also keep up with us here at The Omnic Post for updates as well!