The Dallas Fuel have been struggling for some time now. Between issues with communication and ongoing behavioral problems with some of their star players, their fan-favorite roster dropped off the table pretty hard. Going up against the top-ranked NYXL this week was going to be a monumental task anyway, so Dallas decided that it was time to shake things up by not starting any of their remaining main tank players. When they rolled out with D.Va, Roadhog, Reaper, and Mei on Control Center of Lijiang Tower, many in Twitch chat thought they were just having fun, or "throwing" the match. Instead, they dominated the best team in Overwatch League.
Former Apex star Dong-Jun "Rascal" Kim has been a shot in the arm for Dallas ever since the team acquired him from the London Spitfire. Mei, however, is certainly not the hero you'd expect him to pick on Control Center—especially with a handicapped lineup. Rascal still managed to work his magic, however, taking advantage of Control Center's many choke points with devastating Mei walls:
The respawn staggers created by Rascal's Mei walls were crucial to Dallas' success. No matter what NYXL tried, they couldn't seem to avoid getting walled off and killed one by one. Dong-Gyu "Mano" Kim is one of the best tanks in the league, but he had a hell of time trying to navigate around the minefield of ice walls as Reinhardt. Every staggered kill on Mano ate up precious seconds between New York's pushes, making it impossible for them to catch up on control point percentage.
But walls don't kill people outright, of course. Hyeon "Effect" Hwang was on janitor duty as Reaper, and he made sure every trap was lethal:
This play was particularly brutal. Rascal walls off a retreating Mano once more, only this time the rest of his team gets caught in a Blizzard. Not only does Effect finish off Mano, but he gets the de-mech on a frozen D.Va as well. It isn't the most conventional combo in the game, but it gets the job done nicely.
Even when Rascal's skills were on cooldown or he was forced to pull back, Effect ensured that the pressure was relentless:
Another de-mech, and a kill on McCree just for good measure. Like any good Reaper, Effect picked up where his team left off, often catching New York in awkward positions for easy frags. It was a testament to the value that Reaper can give a team when correctly utilized. His burst damage potential is so massive in confined spaces that Death Blossom sometimes isn't even necessary. Indeed, he almost landed one big ultimate that round, but he got stuffed by a flashbang.
The Dallas Fuel went on to take Control Center without giving up a single percentage point, making a case for their new approach to the game. They even beat New York on Night Market with a more traditional group composition, paving the way for an amazing five map set that had everyone losing their minds. Even though Dallas lost Ilios—the tiebreaker map—they nearly upset the best team in Overwatch League. Replays showed that in-game comms were alive and popping, standing in contrast to the relative silence from before. If their internal issues are being remedied, we may see more Dallas Fuel victories in the near future.