The 2021 Overwatch League playoffs boast one of the most intriguing brackets in recent memory. Out of all first-round matches, the Fuel vs Justice pairing might have the most upset potential. Although the Dallas Fuel are a top seed in the Playoffs, this showdown is being viewed as evenly matched. Here is how the two teams stack up and what must be done for each of them to emerge victorious.
A major reason why this could be a close match has to do with hero selection. Based on what Western teams used during the Play-Ins, Winston and Reinhardt-based compositions are viable. Compositions involving these tank heroes are what the two sides showed the most comfort on during the Regular Season. It allowed for Main Tanks Eui-Seok ‘Fearless’ Lee and Tae-sung ‘Mag’ Kim to provide maximum stability for their respective teams.
Since Winston and Reinhardt offer the best chance for either side to win, expect to see an emphasis on tank comfort picks throughout the series. If the previous Fuel vs Justice meetings are any sort of indicator, the meta outlook would suggest a close contest.
Dallas Fuel Win Conditions
Keep Gui-Un ‘Decay’ Jang in Check
It is critical for the Fuel to prevent Decay from taking over the series. Just one year ago, Decay and the Justice went on a Playoff rampage. Decay in particular put up a flurry of historic performances. Based off what he showed in the Play-Ins, that trend may be set to continue.
Evidently, Decay is a completely different beast during the Postseason. The Fuel must slow him down. A huge responsibility is on the shoulders of Yeong-han ‘Sparkle’ Kim and Dong-ha ‘Doha’ Kim.
Sparkle will have to keep pace with Decay in a Tracer duel. Even if he doesn’t match him blow for blow, keeping it close is absolutely crucial. So long as some additional help is offered from Doha, the Fuel will be in a favorable position. Using his skills on Sombra, pressuring Decay with the threat of a few sneaky hacks could go a long way.
Stay Aggressive and Take the Initiative
If there is one thing the Justice have struggled with this season, it’s indecisiveness. To truly press the advantage, the Fuel must exploit this weakness. Dallas have never been afraid to play fast. They can easily force the Justice out of their comfort zone by making them play at their pace.
The moment the Justice no longer feel comfortable, they tend to crumble. Dallas have been notoriously good at controlling the in-game tempo this season. Aggression is their best friend in this scenario.
Washington Justice Win Conditions
Sung-won ‘Assassin’ Kim
As shown in their most recent victory over the Houston Outlaws, Assassin plays a pivotal role in how far this team can go. When he has a good game, the Justice tend to win. Unfortunately, Assassin has lacked consistency this season.
When he doesn’t show up, his team usually suffers the consequences. Fortunately for the Justice, Assassin will have every tool he needs. Sombra and Echo are relevant and they are his specialty. A big night out of Assassin will put less pressure on Decay to carry the entire game. If there was ever a time for Assassin to keep pace with the Dallas DPS, it would be now.
Shut Down Joon ‘Fielder’ Kwon
While the Justice match up well on DPS and tank, there seems to be an uphill battle present at Flex Support. Based on regular-season performance, Fielder has shown a higher ceiling than the Justice supports. If the Justice want a realistic shot at winning, pressure must be put on the Dallas Flex Support. The meta outlook gives Fielder way too many opportunities if left uncontested.
If Fielder feels comfortable, Hui-chang ‘Bebe’ Yoon may fall far behind. To compensate for this difference, there must be an above-average number of coordinated dives on him. Mag and Fury must take the initiative and jump on him whenever there is an opportunity.
Meanwhile, Decay and Assassin should sneak into the backline as much as possible. The Justice have to do everything in their power to make Fielder miserable. The key is to constantly disrupt his rhythm. Closing the gap between him and Bebe will help Washington’s odds significantly.
Prediction: 3-2 Dallas
Generally speaking, the Fuel are favored in this matchup. So much more has to go wrong for them to lose. Due to their stronger consistency and having to meet less win conditions, the Fuel are simply more reliable.
If the Justice manage to stay out of their own way, perhaps there is upset potential. After all, they are in a favorable meta in which they can match their opposition. But so much has to go right and that’s on top of hoping the team as a whole can play consistently.
Regardless of who wins, the Fuel vs Justice game has high potential to deliver. It very well could be the most intense and entertaining match of the first round.
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