Stage 1 for the Dallas Fuel was a tale of two teams. Either the good Dallas Fuel shows up with good rotations and focus fire, or the bad Dallas Fuel shows up and gets stomped. It took time for the starting roster to settle in for the stage and that contributed to their inconsistency. The driving factor that won Dallas games wasn’t hard carries or clutch plays, but team confidence. When Dallas was confident in their game, they would execute plays efficiently and have control of the pace of fights. However this was not how they started out the stage.
Dallas Fuel vs San Francisco Shock: 0-4
This first game for Dallas was a stomp by San Francisco. Dallas had no sense of direction or teamwork in this game, San Francisco was tearing them apart at the seams. The Overwatch League almost had to put an “18 and up” sign on the broadcast because it was so brutal. Jokes aside, Dallas got demolished in their debut match, but maybe this was a wake up call for them because they got up swinging.
Dallas Fuel vs Seoul Dynasty: 3-1
Despite not making many roster changes, Dallas looked like a new team. They came prepared with a plan to abuse Seoul’s strategy of Ana GOATS. Dallas’ coordination and proactive play style allowed them to control the pacing of the game whereas Seoul was trying to play keep up with what Dallas wanted to do. This lead to Dallas picking up three maps, only losing Volskaya to Seoul. After this game everyone wrote Dallas’ first game off as a fluke and looked forward to their next match that was supposed to be a stomp by Dallas.
Dallas Fuel vs Guangzhou Charge: 0-4
Again the tale of two teams, one decisive and proactive, confident in what they wanted to execute. The other, a discombobulated mess of different strategies and compositions that Dallas didn’t practice. Nobody knew what to expect from Guangzhou so they had the element of surprise. The only composition Dallas looked good on in this match was Sombra GOATS, so despite losing, this is what they would run in the future.
Dallas Fuel vs Philadelphia Fusion: 3-1
After some trash talk between Assistant Coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy and Jaehyeok “Carpe” Lee, both teams had something to play for. Most of this match was mirror GOATS and Dallas were the clear victor over Philadelphia in this game. In Philly’s defense, their Zenyatta player was out sick and they had a main support filling his role. This likely messed up their comms and made the win for Dallas easier. The only map Dallas lost was the map that Hyeong “Effect” Hwang was subbed in over Dylan “aKm” Bignet on Zarya. After this map aKm was officially the starting Zarya player. This win was the start of a winning streak, something the Fuel were not accustomed to.
Dallas Fuel vs Shanghai Dragons: 3-2
This match would end the tale of two teams as Dallas would win in a close one against their Season 1 scrim buddy. Shanghai had one strategy they were good at, this one dimensional team meant Dallas could prepare well for it and counter it with their own strategy. While Shanghai were really only good at Sombra GOATS, Dallas could play a decent pure GOATS and a decent Sombra GOATS. This came down to the maps where Sombra was great, Shanghai won, and where she wasn’t great, Dallas won.
Both Volskaya and Numbani are open with good high ground, great for Sombra’s to poke and build EMP fast. With that being the case, Shanghai would find their Sombra flow and cycle ultimates efficiently, bringing them the win on both of those maps. Ilios and Nepal are both maps favored to pure GOATS, not Sombra, so Dallas won these two maps with pure GOATS. The fourth map was Dorado and Shanghai ran Sombra, they could have won the map and taken the series, but they pulled a huge C9 that bit them on their final defense. This match was extremely back and fourth, but gave Dallas the knowledge to prepare for their rematch the following week.
Dallas Fuel vs Shanghai Dragons: 4-0
Dallas did their homework for this match. They studied how the Dragons’ Sombra played and adjusted accordingly. Whenever Dallas knew that Shanghai had EMP, Minseok “OGE” Son would play passively and Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson would hide with Transcendence to not get EMPed. Once Shanghai used EMP, uNKOE would come in with Transcendence and save everyone, then Richard “rCk” Kanerva would counter EMP on the now fully engaged Shanghai Dragons to win the fight. Dallas decided to play Shanghai at their own game and beat them convincingly.
Dallas Fuel vs Boston Uprising: 2-3
This game looked so good for Dallas in the beginning, Boston had no idea how to shut down rCk’s Sombra. Dallas were stunting on Boston for the first two games, but halftime came and the Uprising rallied together to stop rCk. Dallas had been practicing Sombra GOATS against Boston, likely because they felt they weren’t better than Boston at pure GOATS. Eventually Boston adapted to the Fuel’s strategy and Dallas couldn’t re-adapt, they lost the series in a reverse sweep. This loss meant Dallas didn’t make Stage Playoffs and their Stage 1 was over.
Dallas Fuel had trouble finding their footing in the first stage of the Overwatch League. Dallas lost to teams they probably should have beaten and they beat teams that they shouldn’t have. One Dallas Fuel was confident, proactive and measured. The other was a dumpster fire that the fans had gotten used to from last season. Dallas did improve and find their feet, but next stage they will likely have to do it all over again.
What do you think of Dallas’ Stage One performance? Tell Ethan what you think @Hearin_Voices
Featured image courtesy of Overwatch League
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