Houston narrowly avoided an upset against a strong Toronto Defiant in the opening of Block D of the OWL Pro-Am West.
The problem with being the preseason darling is that, eventually, you must play. Suddenly all of the statistics on paper and amazing trades must be placed aside and some Overwatch must happen. On paper, the 2023 Houston Outlaws has perhaps one of the best rosters of all time. Luckily, that talent shined through as the Houston Outlaws avoided defeat against a strong and scrappy Toronto Defiant by a score of 2-1 at the Pro-Am West event.
All of this isn't to say that Houston looked less than today. Far from it. This roster of literal all-stars came out of the gate hot on Nepal. Especially as 2022 Grand Finals MVP Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok applied pressure as the best Winston in OWL. However, as would be the story throughout all three maps, it wasn't the play of either Tank but both squad's Support players that made the difference.
The hotly contested series came down to healing diff, with each team's Ana and Lucio players making clutch saves. As per usual, the difference maker came from OWL GOAT Park "Viol2t" Min-ki. Stellar Zenyatta play as a counter-Tracer propped the Outlaws up for victory, even as they came close to losing 2-0 on Blizzard World. Houston versus Toronto in this first Group D match of the OWL Pro-Am West was decided by clutch Support play and tenacity.
Toronto eventually faltered despite showing up strong the first two maps. The Push map avalanche caught the Defiant in a landslide, being bullied in teamfights over and again. It was here that Houston locked down their style of play and grabbed the reverse-sweep.
The biggest concern about this new-look Houston Outlaws was if these major players could gel into a unit. It looked rough at the start. But, slowly and surely, they showed that this season may not be as Houstonable as years past.
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