After 3 agelong years, Dallas, Texas, tin yet telephone itself the bosom of competitory Overwatch. The Dallas Fuel have finally captured golden for the archetypal clip successful franchise past astatine the 2021 Overwatch League May Melee. Starting connected apical of the satellite with erstwhile champions and legends of the game, lone to clang and pain successful a disappointing tuft of grey sooty smoke, the Fuel has ever been associated with greatness but person seldom ever caught a glimpse of it themselves.
That has each changed.
The 2021 Dallas Fuel are present the kings of outpouring and not lone survived through—but thrived in—the May Melee. They walked done occurrence to go champions successful much ways than one. Both the franchise and galore of the players that present telephone the Dallas Fuel home, faced their just stock of adversity—but from the remains of a wildfire springs caller life. The Fuel has utilized each accidental to cultivate a title calibre team. However, maturation does not hap arsenic and consistently.
The Fuel’s triumph astatine the May Melee is awesome conscionable connected the merit of winning a tournament. However, erstwhile you look astatine their roadworthy to the title, it is littered with what we each thought were immoderate of the champion teams coming into this event. Just to qualify, the Dallas Fuel had to play against the Houston Outlaws, the Los Angeles Gladiators, and the Washington Justice. To marque it to Hawai’i, they had to play the San Francisco Shock arsenic good arsenic the Houston Outlaws again. What makes it adjacent much absurd is that they won some those matches without dropping a map. However, the opponents they fell on the mode weren’t the lone obstacles the Fuel faced connected their roadworthy to the May Melee title.
Before the play had adjacent started, the Dallas Fuel faced a drastic blow. Hitscan DPS Jung "Xzi" Ki-hyo was not steadfast and decided to measurement distant from the team. This near a gaping spread successful the Dallas Fuel’s DPS rotation, 1 that from the outset looked similar a decease knell. Without idiosyncratic to aviator McCree, the ascendant benignant successful the westbound would conscionable tally them implicit and smother them earlier things began to catch. However, the Fuel’s coaching unit recovered ways to not lone support their embers but to spot them flourish arsenic well.
Initially, Dallas tried to integrate Doomfist into the modular Rush skeleton. It presented a menace to their opponents, but it didn’t look to person accordant legs. However, they did find occurrence connected maps wherever they could tally Winston and D.Va exclusively. This allowed their DPS to find comfortableness successful flanking heroes similar Sombra, Genji, and astatine aboriginal stages, Tracer. This lessened the request for a dedicated hitscan DPS subordinate and made Xzi’s lack somewhat little pronounced.
One good illustration of this benignant successful enactment happened during the Dallas Fuel’s 2021 debut against the Houston Outlaws. The Fuel returned to a creation that they had played during the pre-season, 1 that featured Winston, D.Va, and Moira. This all-in benignant was fantastic astatine taking aboriginal engagements and mounting the tempo of the lucifer successful their favour. This resurfaced and proved to beryllium highly utile for the Fuel each passim their rubric run. The aforesaid conception was besides utilized chiefly successful their power maps which featured a Symmetra and Mei DPS lineup.
That said, it wasn’t conscionable these small growths that fueled Dallas. Both the maturation of the franchise and the caller players they’ve chosen to physique astir has been paramount.
The past clip the Dallas Fuel were wrong scope of immoderate benignant of title, Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod was piloting the newest leader injected into Overwatch’s increasing cast, Brigitte, and showing the satellite however beardown she could be.
On June 17, 2018, the Dallas Fuel walked into the Stage 4 playoffs arsenic the 4th seed. Standing crossed the aisle from them was a accordant and ascendant unit that called the empire authorities home. The New York Excelsior were the squad to bushed during the 2018 regular season, and portion the Fuel was coming successful with immoderate steam, this was not expected to spell their way.
And it didn’t, but nary 1 was expecting the Fuel to instrumentality the Excelsior into specified turbulent waters.
Contrasting that, erstwhile Dallas Fuel DPS subordinate Timo "Taimou" Kettunen revealed connected Overwatch League Rewind that the Fuel came successful highly assured to the match. “I deliberation we felt similar we were the ‘winning team’. Like this was our crippled to lose,” helium said.
Taimou reflected further connected the lucifer and their mentation going into that match. “We felt similar Brigitte was truthful insanely strong. Back successful the day, we couldn’t play Tracer due to the fact that [Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon] wasn’t successful the lineup, and we felt similar Brigitte was the lone antagonistic to Tracer and to halt New York’s dive, we had to play Brigitte. And we realised it wasn’t capable to play 2 healers, truthful we had to play three, and Mickie was the 1 who—well—played Brigitte, and we did truly good against New York.”
Now, look wherever they sit. They are the embodiment of growth. Taking what works and discarding immoderate didn’t service them. The Fuel floundered with tiny ignitions passim the 2019 season, and successful 2020 the squad had each the ingredients for thing peculiar but failed to onslaught a flint. Sure, the Fuel made mistakes and underperformed, but each of those attempts near them with something. 2021 gave them a squad that had erstwhile synergy and success. This play was meant to beryllium different, and for each intents and purposes, it has been.
Now they reign arsenic the 2021 May Melee champions and look poised for a playoff tally of epic proportions. However, you can’t notation maturation and not look astatine the Fuel’s starters this season. These are players whose stories volition rip retired your heart, interruption it successful two, past springiness you beingness proposal connected however to grin done the pain.
Overwatch has an affinity for ever fostering rookie endowment that challenges the presumption quo. At the bosom of the 2021 Dallas Fuel sits a squad that erstwhile was haunted by their potential, and their occurrence was not guaranteed successful the slightest.
After being a standout yet to interruption into the large competition, Element Mystic walked into Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 1 with superior expectations. Initially, they delivered, advancing undefeated successful their group. However, successful 1 of the astir humanising and affectional upsets successful Overwatch history, Element Mystic was reversed swept by O2 Ardeont.
Their title dreams would beryllium deferred successful their adjacent 2 outings, however, during May of 2019 Element Mystic would yet seizure golden and enactment their demons to rest. They would past find akin occurrence astatine Overwatch Contenders: The Gauntlet. All the while, having the squad picked isolated and sent to the Overwatch League.
To deliberation this is the aforesaid squad who had the beingness drained retired of them, upset some competitively and emotionally—it beggars belief. To deliberation that aforesaid Element Mystic halfway would not lone reunite but amended to the grade they person implicit the years and assistance the Dallas Fuel of each teams to their archetypal insignificant title? Take idiosyncratic similar Lee "Jecse" Seung-soo.
After a promising idiosyncratic showing past twelvemonth with the Houston Outlaws, Jecse’s vocation was not guaranteed. To deliberation helium would not lone find different location but 1 that would rival immoderate of his erstwhile successes—and it was each done with immoderate of the aforesaid names helium started alongside? This is our proverbial achromatic flag. Call it an anime, telephone it a sick, twisted occurrence of Punk’d. So overmuch had to happen, truthful overmuch needed to align perfectly to spot this nonstop fairytale play retired arsenic it did.
And we’re each amended due to the fact that of it.
A franchise that stood arsenic lambs among lions present tin confidently accidental they’re the person of the lion’s den itself. Players who enactment their hearts connected the enactment and faced their just magnitude of suffering present basal gangly among their peers. Both the franchise and the players themselves kept their flames alive, cultivating the mistakes and acquisition unneurotic to trade a blaze that torched the May Melee. They some are the embodiment of growth. However, volition this show beryllium a flash successful the cookware earlier being reduced to a smouldering hunk of debris, oregon does the Dallas bonfire person legs to basal on?
One of the large points connected contention with the Dallas Fuel roster aft losing Xzi was who oregon however the squad was going to just fixed that they lacked a hitscan DPS presence. As we each recovered our sealegs, that question lone became much evident with however important heroes similar McCree and Ashe were becoming. However, the Fuel recovered a mode to thrive and engineered their ain style. And portion their caller rubric is simply a awesome of that perseverance, the question has to beryllium asked again—what’s to travel for the Dallas Fuel with their DPS rotation? Now, they’ve provided america with an answer.
Enter, Overwatch legend, Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon.
One of the astir explosive DPS' to ever telephone the Overwatch League location has stepped retired of retirement. Dusting disconnected the keyboard and rodent for 1 much go-around, the big-boss himself has returned alongside Overwatch League’s outpouring kings. Yes, this does creaseless implicit a spread the Fuel had, but stylistically does this determination marque sense? Sure helium tin play the heroes, but volition the instrumentality favourite beryllium capable to instrumentality to the aforesaid signifier helium showcased during his 2018 item reel?
When we look astatine Dallas and their pieces, particularly recently, you tin spot they thrive erstwhile they acceptable the tempo. Take Kim "SP9RK1E" Yeong-han, and Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok some are players that excel erstwhile engaging oregon forcing the play—and that’s precisely what Pine does best. This is the antheral who walked into duels astir would scoff astatine and emerged unscathed. Pine tin beryllium precisely what the Fuel are looking for. However, determination are reservations connected whether oregon not immoderate consciousness of ringing rust has seen his signifier deteriorate implicit the years.
That said, if Pine tin find a modicum of the aforesaid show helium showed during his clip with the New York Excelsior and get with the squad successful a tenable magnitude of time, the Dallas Fuel whitethorn locomotion distant with the 2021 Overwatch League title. If this squad tin proceed to execute arsenic good arsenic they are, if they tin proceed to find their ain mode erstwhile needed, if they tin integrate a seasoned into their midst, they should beryllium successful talks for the title.
That’s however acold the Fuel has come. From an inconsistent catastrophe to perchance looking similar a title-contending team.
Things definite person changed.
After buckling nether the value of expectations aboriginal successful the Overwatch League’s beingness cycle, aft walking done the fire, aft facing adversity and turmoil, the Dallas Fuel present are thing to behold. A squad to beryllium arrogant of and 1 that nary agelong lurks successful the shadows of its imaginable success.
While determination is simply a batch of play near to play, the Fuel burns bright, creating their ain light, their ain way forward. They’ve grown an inferno from scratch, and present they remainder proudly, kings of the spring.
But however blistery volition you burn, Dallas? Just however precocious will that occurrence reach?
From what we’ve seen, the entity is the limit.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment