Outlaws' Rawkus leaves Overwatch League to pursue Valorant career

Olivia R. August 2, 2020

Houston Outlaw's Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty is leaving the Overwatch League. 

The popular support player announced on August 1 that it was officially the final day of his Overwatch career, a decision he "wasn't taking lightly." 

In a TwitLonger about his departure, Rawkus explained that he lost a lot of sleep over the decision due to the friends and memories he made while playing Overwatch competitively for the last four years.

Instead of continuing on in Overwatch, he has decided to pursue Valorant in part due to his established fandom of tactical shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. He told fans he will be streaming Valorant and Overwatch and also has some yet-to-be-anounced news regarding the transition. 

"When I realized how it had a similar style of CSGO aiming mixed in with ability usage, I instantly felt comfortable," Rawkus said. 

Rawkus started playing Overwatch professionally in 2016 when he was signed with FaZe Clan. When the Overwatch League was formed, he tried out for the Houston Outlaws because of their logo and the city they represented. He ended up playing for them for three years, gaining a lot of diehard Texan fans along the way. 

"The highlight of my time in Overwatch was definitely representing USA in the Overwatch World Cup for three consecutive years. The ups and downs of the journey to bring the gold medal home were probably some of the hardest. I started in 2017 with Sinatraa, Jake, FCTFCTN, Coolmatt, and Adam. The whole experience opened my eyes to a new level of passion in competing. Persevering through two years of crushing losses only pushed me to work harder and be better," Rawkus recalled. 

He described 2019 as a "redemption story," since the United States finally beat South Korea to become the World Champions for the first time in Overwatch history. 

Rawkus leaves Overwatch for Valorant career

After announcing his major career change, Rawkus dedicated the second portion of his TwitLonger to thanking his family, friends, and teammates. 

He thanked his mom and dad for supporting him while he pursued his passions. Rawkus' father passed away two years ago and he struggled with grief during the second half of his career. He thanked his fans and the Overwatch community for their support during that time. 

"Without you guys and your support, I don't think I would have been able to push myself through it. You guys have been there for me from the start and through my hardships. I'll never forget my first time signing a USA jersey in Santa Monica World Cup group stages in 2017. From that one time to seeing many green Rawkus jerseys at the Blizzard Arena and our homestand.. It'll never stop giving me feels," Rawkus recalled, saying he was "lucky" to have some of the "best fans ever." 

Rawkus then asked his fans to continue supporting him in his next steps. 

The popular support main then thanked the Houston Outlaws squad. This includes now-retired Matt "Coolmatt" Iorio and Jacob "Jake" Lyon, who showed up at the airport to pick Rawkus up after his father passed away, gifting him a drone. 

"It made me happy in a time where I truly didnt think I could feel happiness anymore," Rawkus said. 

He went on to thank more of his Houston Outlaws teammates, past and present, as well as players he met and competed with at the World Cup. 

"If you guys have made it this far, you’ll see just the surface of how many great people I’ve gotten to know and interact with. There are so many more incredible people and I’m never going to forget any of you, even if your name wasn’t mentioned here. I’ve loved this game and it’s community for so many years. Always have always will," Rawkus expressed.