GAME WITHIN THE GAME
This Week in Houston eSports – Houston Outlaws and Clutch Gaming
Last week was a mixed bag for the Houston based franchises. Clutch Gaming went 0-2 against both 100 Thieves and Cloud 9. The Outlaws went 1-1 for the week, defeating San Francisco 3-1, but losing to Seoul 3-2. In addition to the standard weekly updates, this week’s article also explains the competition structure in both sports.
League of Legends
The League of Legends season (Season 8) is divided into Spring and Summer Splits, each containing a best of one double round robin where the teams play 18 games per split. The top six teams in each split make the playoffs. Based on the standings after playoffs, teams earn circuit points that lead to three of the ten teams qualifying for the World Championships against top teams from around the world. (The summer split winner, highest remaining circuit points holder, and the team that wins a gauntlet style event based on the amount of circuit points held by the remaining teams) Riot Games also announced earlier this week that the Spring Split finals for League of Legends will be held in Miami.
Clutch Gaming (2-4) Tied for 7th Place
Despite this week’s 0-2 record, there are some positives and reason for optimism moving forward. Against 100 Thieves, Solo played a very strong game on Jayce with a 1/0/5 KDA (kills, deaths, assists) stat line. The team also had a gold and kill lead before losing a late game team fight that allowed 100 Thieves to push into the nexus and win the game before CG’s players respawned. Cloud 9 maintained a consistent lead over Clutch Gaming, but Febiven’s 5/1/2 KDA was certainly a bright spot for the team. Despite the loss, the whole team played well and made things interesting with some strong late game plays.
Predictions (1-1 for the season)
This week, Clutch Gaming takes on Team Solo Mid (Saturday at 4 PM) and Optic Gaming (Sunday at approx.. 8 PM)
Things will click into place for Clutch Gaming this week with a hard fought victory over TSM and a clean win over Optic Gaming, leaving the team with a 4-4 record as they near the halfway point of the Spring Split.
The Overwatch League consists of four Stages of five weeks each, with a total of 20 series played at two matches per week. At the end of each Stage, the top three teams from the Stage participate in a miniature playoffs to determine the Stage winner. At the end of all four stages, the top team in each division along with the next four highest ranked teams regardless of division will participate in the playoffs to determine the winning team for the inaugural season.
Houston Outlaws (5-3) 4th Place Overall
Last week resulted in a 1-1 record for the week and a reason for optimism for Outlaws fans to expect a very strong season and playoff contention at the end of the season. Star DPS player, LiNkzr did not play last week due to illness with Clockwork filling in quite well. Tank player coolmatt was having a very strong week as well. After beating San Francisco 3-1, the Outlaws fought admirably against the Seoul Dynasty, eventually losing the series 3-2 on the fifth map tiebreaker.
Predictions (2-0 for the season)
This week, the Outlaws begin with a crucial series against the 7-1 London Spitfire on Thursday at approximately 8 PM and play against the 5-3 Boston Uprising on Saturday around 3 PM. Both series are must win if the Outlaws want to have a shot to play in the championship series for the first Stage. The Outlaws showed that they are prepared to play well under pressure and LiNkzr returns from illness to have a very strong week, finishing Stage One with a 7-3 record. If things fall their way in the other matches, they will have a chance at finishing in the top three for the Stage. Either way, they will be well positioned to have a strong start to Stage Two.