What an absolute culture flip from the Dallas Fuel in the last stage of the OWL Season 1. After going through countless trials and tribulations as a team, it finally looked like the 4-24 Fuel were firing on all cylinders over the course of Stage 4, led by Mickie and his brawny Brigitte. Taimou and OGE were found their former glory and were looking crisp and clean, Seagull had improved upon his already rock-solid D.Va play, and HarryHook and Unkoe stayed sharp in the backline.
It’s Not Just the Schedule
The Fuel took notable wins against some of the top teams in the league: the Fusion, Spitfire, and Valiant. With new head coach Aero joining the team, he implemented a great lineup dynamic which allowed Seagull to run the D.Va whenever Mickie was on Brigitte duty, and have Mickie pick up D.Va whenever Seagull was on Genji/Pharah/Hanzo duty. By having top five D.Va players in both dive and anti-dive compositions, the Fuel opened up a variety of surprising attacks and defenses, which caught teams off-guard.
I love what we have seen from the Fuel this stage, not only in game, but out of it too. They genuinely seem to be having fun. Crazy, right? Especially from what we were seeing from them in stages 1 and 2. The outside element of team unity only bolsters team chemistry in-game and allows for those over-the-top pushes and elusive map 5 wins.
Back to Basics
In an interview with one of my colleagues, Brandon Padilla (@thibbledork), Seagull talks about the Fuel’s complete structural rebuild:
“We’re probably 90% fundamentals. I don’t think any of us focus on individual play currently. It’s a little different for a team like us, who went from being a really bad team to a team that’s doing well right now. All of that came from just playing fundamentally sound Overwatch again. When you want to rebuild a team from the ground up like we did, you focus on just the fundamentals. A team like NYXL might have a different response to that question than we would. Maybe they can afford to get a little fancier than we can.”
I have to give a special shoutout to Seagull, Mickie, and HarryHook. I am so happy for these 3 players, who have best exemplified professionalism, high-level play, and positivity on the biggest stage while going through the hardest times. In traditional sports, these types of players are referred to as “glue guys,” or teammates who, in the midst of adversity, will make sure that everyone sticks together. As we have seen over the course of Season 1, it is not easy to underperform as a team and not have some sort of drama erupt. I hope to see them back on stage for Season 2, continuing to display their exceptional skills and value.
Cheers to a wild Season 1 and hopefully an even wilder playoffs.