Overwatch League Season Two starts February 14, with Dallas Fuel’s first game on February 15. They had a rough first season, only bringing it back at the end. This season Dallas wants to make a statement and cement themselves as a high-caliber team, the first stage is where that will begin.
Having a strong start to the season could give Dallas the confidence they need to keep it rolling all the way to the playoffs. The first stage will set the precedent for the rest of the season, almost like first impressions. The Fuel have new pickups and will need to find a way to implement them so they consistently work together, Dallas doesn’t want to have to make a stage four redemption again, so stage one is where to start.
Many of the teams Dallas faces in the first stage have new rosters, or are a new team. All of these teams are looking to make it to the top before the standings are set it stone. This is what the Dallas Fuel have to face in their first stage of the Overwatch League.
Week One: San Francisco Shock
The San Francisco Shock can almost be considered a new team, with four new pickups making themselves a 12 man roster. This large roster gives a lot a flexibility to deal with anything Dallas might throw at them.
This team made serious moves this off-season, putting themselves in the position for an early lead. They made a very controversial pickup of NamJu “Striker” Gwon from the Boston Uprising, who was able to carry the team for the last two stages of season one.
Not only that, but the return of DongJun “Rascal” Kim to the Overwatch League could make a devastating Korean duo. San Francisco seemingly has enough players for two rosters, but with that comes a lack of team synergy and coordination that Dallas has. San Francisco can use the tools at their disposal to throw the Fuel off of their game, it will be a fun match either way.
Week One: Seoul Dynasty
Seoul went into season one as the favorites to win it all, that didn’t happen. This season they want to live up to their expectations, so they made changes during the off-season.
Last season Seoul had main tank issues, so this season they picked up one of the most impactful main tanks in the league, Chanhyoeng “Fissure” Baek. Fissure turned the team around mid-season for the Los Angeles Gladiators, now he can work his magic for Seoul.
Seoul and Dallas were extremely similar last season, main tank issues, and general roster swaps that made their performances inconsistent. This season the same thing could happen, they now have two main tanks, two flex tanks, three DPS players and three supports. Dallas found out what roster they wanted and are sticking to it, only adding what they needed last season. Seoul, on the other hand has a larger roster, much like last season, which would lead fans to believe that they haven’t learned their lesson. Dallas never beat the Dynasty last season and a win against them in the first week of the new season says a lot about both teams.
Week Two: Guangzhou Charge
This new team is looking to make a good first impression. The Charge’s match again Dallas is their first match against a veteran team, so a win against Dallas means they aren’t messing around. For Dallas this match means showing the newbies who they’re messing with, a loss against a new team could spell disaster for the Fuel.
The players from this team come from Meta Bellum, LGD Gaming, Toronto Esports, British Hurricane, and Philadelphia Fusion.
Aside from Hong-Jun “Hotba” Choi who comes from Philadelphia Fusion, nobody on this roster has played in the Overwatch League. Not only that, but the roster contains six Korean players, two Chinese, one British and one American, meaning there could easily be a language barrier between them. This team will likely struggle early on, learning how to play together and communicate, so Dallas probably shouldn’t sweat over this match too much.
Week Two: Philadelphia Fusion
This match will be the most difficult for the Dallas Fuel. The Fusion made it all the way to Grand Finals last season and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Philly has strong DPS and Support duos that played together all last season. The tank line for this team is consistent with Joona “Fragi” Laine playing an aggressive Reinhardt. Also Sumin “Sado” Kim with a nimble Winston. This team only added Elijah “Elk” Gallagher from Fusion University, who is on a two-way contract.
This match will be a struggle for Dallas all around, the Fusion have more time working as a full team, and made it all the way to Grand Finals with this roster. Dallas Fuel’s Richard “rCk” Kanerva will have to stand up to Gael “Poko” Gouzerch and deliver game changing D.Va bombs. Minseok “OGE” Son is going to have to outclass both the main tanks on the Fusion, a tall order for the Korean tank. Dallas winning this match means “We aren’t messing around this time”.
Week Three: Shanghai Dragons
The Shanghai Dragons are a force to be reckoned with this season. The Dragons dropped almost their entire roster from last season and picked up three players from Kongdoo Panthera, one from Lucky Future Zenith, and one from Toronto Esports. Kongdoo Panthera was a very good team last season of Overwatch Contenders, a lot of that team is here now.
Dallas shouldn’t expect Shanghai to go without a win this season. They need to take this match seriously and not underestimate their opponent.
Last season these teams were the bottom feeders of the league, now they both have the tools to make a huge impact and redeem themselves.This match up can go either way, both teams have some previous synergy, and new team members. Dallas has been a team before the league started, and the Kongdoo players on this team have been together for a while too. This match is evenly matched and could go in any direction, definitely a must watch.
Week Four: Shanghai Dragons
There isn’t too much to say about this game, the team that won the previous game will likely win again. The Dallas Fuel are a streaky team. When they are getting into their flow, they work like a well oiled machine. But when it rains, it pours for this team.
If Shanghai loses the first match against the Fuel, this is their way of claiming it as a fluke and getting near instant redemption. Both teams can use what they learned from the previous game and develop a tailored strategy to dismantle their opponent.
Week Five: Boston Uprising
Boston Uprising’s off-season saw a lot of roster changes. Striker was moved to the San Francisco Shock, Neko to Toronto Defiant and Mistakes retired. While Boston Uprising had new pickups, the roster overall looks weaker than last season’s.
The Uprising will have growing pains early on, but by the time this match rolls around, they may have had everything figured out. The Uprising goes for a more “Diamond in the ruff” approach to picking up players, which worked really well last season.
While not big name players, the pickups look promising, but that might not be enough alone. Last season Striker was more or less the carry for the team. Now that he is gone, the rest of the team needs to step and learn to adapt. The Uprising had problems playing anything that wasn’t dive and dive isn’t meta right now, so they need to figure out what they are going to do or else this will be an easy match for the Dallas Fuel.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @Hearin_Voices.
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