In need of a Zarya main, the Houston Outlaws now turn to former Spark tank BERNAR for a postseason push to its potential first tourney win.

The (potentially final) Overwatch league Grand Finals playoffs begin this weekend, and you know what that means. Roster moves! In what has somewhat become a tradition in OWL, Overwatch itself was recently patched with a meta-shifting update just before playoff time. Where Monkey dominated most of the regular season, Zarya and Reinhardt now return as the prime tanks. Not resting on its laurels, the Houston Outlaws went out and got themselves a one-trick Zarya player in BERNAR to help compensate.

Joining the post-season Houston squad is former Hangzhou Spark tank Shin "BERNAR" Se-won. And wouldn't you know it, this former off-tank specialist in Overwatch League Contenders Korea is here for one reason only: Bubbles. So many bubbles.

BERNAR joins Houston Outlaws as backup tank

Reduced down to a five-man squad for most of the season, the Houston Outlaws were potentially looking at trouble. The meta shift with the most recent patch changed the very nature of the game at the professional level. This includes the decline of Winston, Ramattra, and Lucio as mainstays. Instead, the meta now looks at a more brawly kind of composition featuring the likes of Zarya, Genji, Reinhardt, Baptiste, and Illari.

Which was bad news for the Houston Outlaws. A year removed from being one of the premiere dive teams in the league thanks to former main tank Danteh, the 2023 Outlaws are a different beast. Led by former Grand Finals MVP Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok, dive was still a feature of the playbook. However, the Winston play by Fearless was less about direct dive and more about separation--creating a blockade between enemy supports and their team.

Enter BERNAR, a D.Va, Zarya, and Sigma main who helped Hangzhou to a fourth place finish in last year's playoffs. In a 5v5 world players like BERNAR took a backseat. However, with a meta now focused on brawling and up-close affairs, a good Zarya is all but necessary.

Retired since the end of the 2022 season, BERNAR has been quiet besides a post back in June from the Midseason OWL tournament in Korea. He now looks to help provide the Houston Outlaws with a solid second option for switching lines from its fearless main tank.

Will it be enough to help push the third ranked Outlaws to their first playoff win? We'll find out this weekend.

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