Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Earlier this week the Houston Outlaws announced that one of their inaugural players Jake “JAKE” Lyons would be leaving the team and retiring from professional play in the Overwatch League. Jake has been a staple of the Houston Outlaws brand since the Overwatch League launched in 2018, making a name for himself on the Junkrat and who would go on, still to this day to be known as the Jakerat when in the hands of Lyons. The move isn’t all that surprising given that Jake has been spending much of his off-season time doing casting for the Overwatch World Cup. In his TwitLonger post Jake mentions that he plans on going back to streaming Overwatch in the evenings and that we haven’t seen the last of him in the Overwatch scene. He wasn’t kidding, as Overwatch League has announced that both Jake and Custa would joining the casting and analyst talent for the 2020 season.
For me it’s bittersweet as I fell in love with the Outlaws as soon as I saw their branding revealed in 2017. At the time I was playing a lot of Junkrat myself and I feel like I saw a bit of me in Jake. I’m a fan of all the Outlaws, but Jake holds a special place in my heart. It eases the pain knowing he’s not going too far and we’ll still see and hear him from week to week.
But with that, I present to you some of my fondest Jake moments from the past two seasons…
Jakerat Horizon Point B Defense
The moment I truly fell in love with Junkrat play was very early on and it was all thanks to the Jakerat. It was Horizon Lunar Colony Point B defense where it really seemed to shine. In this match against the Philadelphia Fusion seeing Jake rain explosives down from on high as he sat perched on the beams was a beautiful thing. Not easily dislodged and even if you did manage to get him down, if you failed the push he was right back up there waiting for the next group of feeders to up his ult charge. Jump to about 4 minutes in to see the Outlaws hold point B with some epic Junkrat action.
Houston v Shock 2019
It was tough being a Houston fan in the 2019 season, I don’t think anyone would argue that. I had friends and co-workers alike ask me why I still root for them or why I still follow them and it’s because I believed, I had faith! It wasn’t always rewarded but their match in Stage 3 against the San Francisco Shock was all the proof I needed that there was always a chance they could come back. In a time when the Shock seemed absolutely unbeatable and the Outlaws…well seemed very beatable, they took them to the limit with a 5 game series and clinched the victory. This was the match that convinced me to lay down the $100 for my Houston 3rd Kit Jersey. It was Jake’s, of course.
Tracer: Special Delivery
These are the moments in epsorts I love the most, numbers go out the window, theories and metas don’t matter, it’s all about two players going head to head and one just outsmarting the other. At 6:30 in this video Jake hides in a corner on his Tracer and we see Asher come zooming by on Tracer as well, but Jake ignores him. Everyone assumes he must be waiting for a support. We then see Surefour come by on his Widowmaker grapple hook up into the air to make a shot and as he lands Jake sticks him with a Pulse Bomb and blinks away. Jake later said he noticed Surefour use this maneuver many times in scrims. Seeing players get inside each others heads and outwit each other will always be some of the best moments for me.
Tactical Visor and Crouch
Who can forget the classic tactical visor and tactical crouch combo? Birdring should’ve easily had this kill down but quick footwork (finger work), a biotic healing field and a tactical visor gave us this great 1 v1. It also went on to inspire a hilarious little video featuring Jake and MonteCristo.
Jake was an integral part of the Outlaws, not just on stage but behind the scenes as well. For a long time fan like me he helped to establish the brand and the image that the entire team lives up to to this day. I’m sad to see him go, but he isn’t really going too far. As the Houston Outlaws themselves said on twitter, “Forever an Outlaw.”
Note: CheckpointXP and the Houston Outlaws are both owned by the Beasley Media Group.