The Dallas Fuel Is Going To Win The June Joust—Here’s Why
In the wake of one era fizzling out, another one is bright on the horizon. The two-peat is happening, folks; the Dallas Fuel are going to win Overwatch League’s June Joust. The reigning May Melee champions look primed and ready to capture gold in Hawai’i, and their narrative whispers echoes of a similar road to glory. Is it their style? The individual players? Or some strange amalgamation of all three? Either way, Dallas is quickly charting a course of repeat success and forging its own era of dominance—and it all starts with their capstone; the June Joust title.
To say that the Dallas Fuel is star-studded would be a drastic understatement. It was clear from the gun that this was going to be the best iteration of the Fuel that the Overwatch League has seen thus far. However, expectations have been shattered—and not just at the organisational level. Dallas is home to some of the best individual players in the league, and that is not on the docket for today’s debate.
Surprising no one, main tank Lee "Fearless" Eui-Seok is continuing to rack up accolades. As it stands now, Fearless is currently ranked as the number one overall player according to IBM Watson’s power rankings and leads the league in hero damage done per ten minutes as well as eliminations per ten minutes on Winston.
Having a stand out performance throughout the June Joust, flex support ace Kwon "Fielder" Joon is ranked as the highest support according to IBM Watson’s power rankings. Past that, during the June Joust qualifiers as well as the playoffs, Fielder has had the highest healing per ten minutes across all heroes. This clocks him in with about 22,465 healing per ten minutes; the second-highest in that particular category is Florida Mayhem’s support Kang "Gangnamjin" Nam-jin with 18,440.
That is a massive 4,025 healing per ten minutes delta.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Criminally underrated and not talked enough about, Choi "Hanbin" Han-been has been on a tear this month. His D.Va performance thus far leads the June Joust in finals blows, hero damage done, and eliminations per ten minutes.
However, it’s not just that the Dallas Fuel has strong players, anyone with a modicum of Overwatch knowledge can tell you that, but it’s how they operate that leads to igniting dangerous playoff implications.
Taking what the Fuel used to win the May Melee and dialling up the aggression brings us to the current iteration of their style. They thrive when allowed to engage, and when they do, they nearly always land with a pick. And with a healthy ultimate engine, that snowball rarely stops rolling. Take, for example, this map against the Florida Mayhem. Their initial pick onto the enemy Echo leads into Fielder and Kim "SP9RK1E" Yeong-han building their ultimates. Fielder’s Coalescence covers Fearless in the ensuing fight allowing him to build his Primal Rage quicker. This chain reaction of ultimates building ultimates isn’t anything new, but it’s the consistency at which the Fuel find solid ground with their initial engagements.
The Fuel sits among the league’s best with a 49.6% first elimination rate. This means roughly in half the teamfights, they find the first pick. While not too surprising, their transition rate from those picks is stunning. After finding the first elimination in a team fight in the June Joust, the Dallas Fuel has an 84.5% win rate. And that’s just when the pre-fight goes their way. If we look at the inverse, the Fuel rarely gets picked first. With a 47.7% first death rate, this sits the Fuel near the middle of the pack. However, they’re one of the best teams at fighting from their backfoot. After suffering the first death, Dallas maintains a 25.8% in win rate. To put that in perspective, only four other teams are higher than them in that metric.
Stylistically, as much as we’d like to claim the Fuel’s narrative is around their aggressive, all-in focused style, Dallas has dabbled with slower tempo compositions. In their Temple Of Anubis defence against the Shock, the Fuel took the old double-shield archetype and splashed in SP9RK1E’s Junkrat for good measure. While it didn’t find inherently purchase, it does hold value. This example, albeit small, shows that the Fuel are at least open to playing something different on certain maps if the metagame were to shift—and it has.
If we’re to nitpick, if we’re to find some flaw for the Fuel, Escort looks to be a likely candidate for a problematic game type for Dallas. Glancing at the map pool, Escort has Junkertown, Rialto, and Dorado. These are maps that give defending teams long sightlines that hitscan heroes like Ashe and Widowmaker can abuse. The problem is, Dallas does not yet have the capability to answer that threat. Instead, they have to piecemeal their dive and attempt to close the distance into these defensive positions. And with the metagame showing a recent trend towards Orisa based compositions, this makes those dives even more difficult. This shift does beg the question; can the Fuel maintain form against teams that pilot that against them?
Both the New York Excelsior and the Atlanta Reign have benefited from the recent meta shift. Slower compositions that aim to catch incoming dives and limit the ability of the enemy Echo to patrol the map uncontested are now the flavour of the month. Heroes like McCree, Baptiste, and Brigitte all seem to be in vogue at the moment, but this isn’t anything the Dallas Fuel hasn’t already had to deal with. Both the Houston Outlaws and the Los Angeles Gladiators tried and failed to wield similar compositions against the Fuel to thwart another trek to Hawai’i. With that said, it’s more than fair to say that Dallas should be favoured over both of these teams.
And as much as it seems like flowery poetry, the Fuel’s May Melee rivals look to be their biggest threat in June as well. It is none other than the Shanghai Dragons that look the most capable of giving the Dallas Fuel the biggest run for their money. Not only do they look the most dominant on the new slower tempo, Orisa based compositions, but having such an aggressive Lucio like Lee "LeeJaeGon" Jae-gon in the mirror match-up alongside Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun gives them a myriad of weapons to abuse.
However, being able to play the field doesn’t give you the same peaks that Dallas has consistently found. It does not historically win you titles—and it is clear that the Dallas Fuel are the best team at the Winston Rush metagame. They once again walk into a tournament with a clear and defined style that is difficult to prepare for, especially knowing how different their peers are, and that style is comfortable for them. They’ve walked this road before and conquered it once. Yes, this is a different set of bricks—but Since the pre-season, Dallas has been finding success on compositions not too dissimilar to the one they’ve leaned on throughout the June Joust.
Overwatch has always been kind to teams who understand the standard metagame practices of the time, but who invest in their own stylistic takes. And once again, the Fuel stands as the pillar to that idea. Dallas has found another peak and is going to be a problem moving forward. With the momentum of their recent performances, with the memories fresh in their mind from the May Melee, and with their stars burning bright, it is all déjà vu from here on out.
This is the Dallas Fuel metagame, and they are here to collect—for the second time.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment