Dallas Fuel is a team in crisis. They have the worst public perception in the Overwatch League no thanks to xQc’s shenanigans (more recently Taimou) and performance-wise, are spiralling out of control. They are only spared the ‘second-worst team in the league’ tag by having a better league record than the Florida Mayhem who are rapidly improving. The Fuel are on a slide and unless something drastic is done, won’t be stopping the rot anytime soon as they next face Boston Uprising and Philadelphia Fusion in Week 4.
Today on Six Stack, we analyze the six issues plaguing the Dallas Fuel and how they should be remedied. This comes swiftly following Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel’s release from the team and we feel these suggestions will help correct the course of Dallas Fuel’s faltering season.
1. Identify Their Main Tank to Replace xQc
Ah they finally did it. We aren’t doubting xQc’s skill, as he is one of the most talented Winston players in the league – probably among the top 5 even. With an Overwatch World Cup runners-up medal in hand, the world is his oyster and signing up to the Fuel was a match made in heaven. The Fuel needed an aggressive, mobile tank to team up with Mickie, as Cocco was more of a traditional sort.
But xQc turned out to be an unwanted distraction – even when he’s not playing. A team with a player who received multiple fines and suspensions even before mid-season won’t be winning games nor be attracting any commercial partners. You can be the most skilful player in the league but everything amounts to naught if you’re suspended most of the time. Pro players are paid to win games; not attract negative press to his team.
Not only that – xQc’s antics seem to have affected the Fuel on the business end as well as to date, only have one notable commercial partner – Jack in the Box – and they aren’t even an endemic sponsor. In comparison, the Seoul Dynasty has got Razer and Nighthawk while London Spitfire is with Logitech. Is it just down to bad timing or sponsors are actively avoiding from partnering with this highly combustible brand?
At present, xQc is like the Mario Balotelli of the pro-Overwatch scene. A very talented individual severely in need of professional guidance. Like Super Mario, he himself is his own worst enemy and if he (xQc) is ever to return to the pro scene, would be wise to sort himself before again, make a mess of things. We sincerely hope he recover from this ordeal and bounce back like a nano-boosted Winston ulting.
2. Improve the Coaching Staff
In other team sports, when a team underperforms, the first heads to roll are the coaches. While the players are the one slogging it out in the field, the coaches are responsible in coming up with strategies for the players to carry out and we fail to see it in Dallas Fuel. The easiest example was against the Los Angeles Valiant on Hanamura. The Fuel were attacking and they tried to pull off their standard ‘capture the high ground and let AKM do his Soldier 76 thing’.
It didn’t work the first time. It didn’t work til the round ended. They lost. No attempt to tweak the approaches whatsoever. Hold up. This is an Overwatch League team we are talking about. Not a Contenders or Challengers team.
Other OWL teams would have switched to plans B, C or even D in that instance yet the Fuel coaching staff were devoid of such response. They were rigid throughout and we aren’t sure why this issue which was prevalent during Stage 1 carries on well into Stage 2. While they have signed some really talented players such as AKM and Rascal, they remain predictable in their matches and have won their games by sheer mechanical skill rather than better tactics. We aren’t calling for KyKy’s firing – far from that – But we believe the team would benefit with extra help that would do wonders for the team. Former London Spitfire coach, Bishop is available, so is ex-LA Valiant coach, Henry ‘Cuddles’ Coxall so perhaps the Fuel would be wise to look into these options.
3. Let Seagull Play
Out of the five games the Fuel have won so far, Seagull featured in three of them. OK fine, those matches weren’t exactly against top-tier teams but a win is a win. He’s proven to be a good omen for his team and the fact that he has a deep hero pool should benefit a team what’s trying to vary their approach in games. While AKM is a better Soldier, Seagull’s ability to flex and competently play multitude heroes such as Pharah, Junkrat, Genji and even Mei adds layers to Fuel’s playbook. We understand that he’s been training on D.Va so that would be another addition to his already impressive list.
With the record Dallas Fuel are sitting on, how worse can it get, right? Might as well experiment for next stage, or season even instead of carrying on with failed methods. Having a player such as Seagull on the bench isn’t helping anyone.
Of course playing Seagull alone does not guarantee a win but it does make the Fuel more flexible at team fights. Sub him in between rounds or maps to throw the opponents’ plans off-course. Any form of adjustment from the opposition increases your team’s chance for success.
4. Zig When Everyone Else Is Zagging
Like it or not, there’s are trends in the Overwatch League which are meta-induced. Be it the rise in Mercy picks or the return of the dive meta. Dallas Fuel would be wise to realize that none of these suit them with this current roster. The recent results speak for themselves. Their heyday as EnVyUs was based on them playing around a meticulous, slow and patient approach which isn’t en vogue nowadays. The team shifted away from their identity and now found themselves been caught off-guard by more flexible teams with players whose skillset are more tailored to aggressive engagements.
The solution? Adapt. Adjust. And be the trendsetter instead of trying to play catch up. Forcing their players to play a specific way which clearly does not suit them is akin to forcing Stoke City to play tiki-taka football ala Barcelona. It ain’t gonna work.
5. Set An Identity – And Stick With It
You may wonder what we meant with this fifth point. It’s pretty straight forward, really. Figure out what they are all about and stick with it. For example, the Fusion are an aggressive, dive-first team with ShaDowBurn and Carpe on the vanguard supported by the rest; the Outlaws are more defensive and disciplined – similar to the OG EnVy; NYXL and Dynasty rely on their strong tank and support core allowing room for their DPS players to impose themselves onto the enemies while Boston Uprising are experimental in their approaches. Contrary to popular belief, a team can be flexible without sacrificing its identity.
Case example, NYXL. In Stage 1, Saebyeolbe tend to duel with the enemy Tracer in games and to counter this, some teams responded by focusing hard on him. NYXL’s response? In Stage 2 matches, Saebyeolbe’s focus shifted to the supports and to date, is yet to be effectively countered by the opposition. Another example are the Shanghai Dragons. While they are yet to win a match, they’ve been impressive in defeat – even stealing a map from the Dynasty with their Triple Tank approach.
6. Start Rebuilding for Season 2. Now
All the remedies listed above culminates to point #6 which is for the Fuel to start focusing on Season 2 of the Overwatch League. They started the season bad enough that the only way for them to sneak into the overall playoff is by relying on several teams to collapse in a spectacular manner – which is highly unlikely to happen.
Each game from now on should be a step towards rebuilding not only the squad, but also the brand. A post-season run – if it comes by – should be treated as a bonus but make no mistake about it; this is not going to be Dallas Fuel’s season. They have so many areas to work on that it would take a miracle for them to finish Season 1 above 8th place – let alone making it to the playoffs. Approach a game at a time while gradually improve the squad from ground up.