eSPORTS REPORT

The week in Houston eSports: Updates on Clutch Gaming and the Houston Outlaws

The Outlaws returned from a one-week break. Twitter

The Houston Outlaws returned from the one week break between stages looking like possibly the strongest team in the Overwatch League. A solid 2-0 week has them sitting at 9-3, one game behind New York. They are 2-0 with a +5 differential in stage two and a +22 overall map differential. Clutch had a week with one good win against CLG before losing against Cloud 9 after getting counter-picked in the top lane and experimenting with Lee Sin in the jungle.

Clutch Gaming (7-5; tied for third place)

Clutch’s game against CLG broke open with a team fight around the 20 minute mark and very strong play from Solo on Sion. They likely would have won faster than the 47 minute match time, except for CLG getting two very effective picks off on Febiven in the late game. Against Cloud 9, Solo got punished early and often on Ornn against Licorice’s Kled. The C9 lead in the top lane snowballed into a 24 minute win as Lira was unable to turn things around with the Lee Sin pick in the jungle. Clutch’s Academy team is in 7th place with a 5-7 record and looks to continue to improve and gel as a team now that ADC Piglet has returned to the roster.

Predictions (6-2).

Only six games remain this season. At this point a 4-2 record down the stretch is needed to guarantee a playoff berth, though they could still make it in with a weaker record. Barring a collapse by either Echo Fox or Cloud 9, getting a top two seed and a first round bye is highly unlikely. This week Clutch takes on Optic and Flyquest. A 2-0 record this week should happen and put the team much closer to a playoff berth. Week 8 has games against Echo Fox and Liquid. Unfortunately an 0-2 week is probably the likeliest result as so far, Clutch has seemed to be the fourth best team behind those two and C9. Clutch wraps up the spring split against 100 Thieves and the Golden Guardians. Clutch should be able to beat GGS, and the matchup against 100 Thieves will likely be a match where Clutch wins and locks in the four seed for playoffs. Final Split results: 11-7 and No. 4 seed for playoffs. Once playoffs get closer I’ll look at potential qualifying scenarios and likely opponents for playoffs.  

Houston Outlaws (9-3, tied for second place)

The Houston Outlaws began Stage Two with a hard fought 3-2 victory against London and a 4-0 victory against Boston which was much closer than the final map scores indicates. The Outlaws continue to perform very well with Linkzr and Muma taking on a lead role in the victories for the week. The meta for the new patch is already starting to emerge as compositions with extra tanks and a wider support meta are already coming into play.

Predictions (6-0)

The Outlaws are on a roll and this week will present very tough matches against Philadelphia and New York, two of the three teams that beat the Outlaws in Stage One. Philadelphia will be a tough test and New York was the champions of Stage One, but I think the Outlaws avenge their earlier losses with a 2-0 week, even though a 1-1 week is more likely.

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

All Elite hosted its first pay per view since launching into its weekly format, now running the old school WWE/WCW format that did work for so so long. The method that WWE pumped up and turned into the nationally traded financial juggernaut it is now, it's got a good history. The event went very well, AEW's booking continues to be bold and exciting, with their stars dropping matches and elevating second tier guys to the top of the ladder. I am honestly excited by how AEW has handled itself and its stars, I wonder how long this sort of good will within the company will continue but so far it looks like they are making all the right moves and putting real pressure on WWE.

In contrast to Full Gear from AEW coming off without a hitch, a little over two weeks ago WWE sent the rosters of both Raw and Smackdown to Saudi Arabia in an effort to keep making lots of money. The matches went off without a hitch and the bookings weren't too bad but it was a surprise to see Seth Rollins lose the title and the Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez match was very dissatisfying making the Kofi Kingston title drop even more questionable. To make matters worse, there were plane issues and suddenly only certain guys were able to get back and most of Smackdown's roster wasn't in the country for Friday night Smackdown. After the brand split and the networks making their cases that there wouldn't be crossover of roster between Raw and Smackdown this further complicated the travel issues and suddenly you get the NXT invading Smackdown. Clever bit of writing and of course Triple H makes great television, but the invasion was a totally unnecessary maneuver created by WWE's poor decision to stay in the Saudi Arabia game.

Ultimately perhaps the biggest piece of news this week was the announcement of the return of CM Punk, kind of. He's now signed on to WWE Backstage through Fox, not with WWE and perhaps might even be one of the best things to come out of this whole Fox-WWE relationship. With the ratings not being what everyone expected over at Fox, WWE hasn't had the kind of control they're used to and the rumor mill is running rampant that WWE is probably unhappy with the hire considering the long cold relationship between McMahon and CM Punk. Overall WWE hasn't been the major maneuver FOX probably thought it would be and coupled with AEW's success on TNT, it has to lead other networks to realize that while live events are good, it matters what you buy.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office email me for details or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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