Dallas Fuel are good again

Stage four is the Texas team's best yet.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

Dallas Fuel entered the Overwatch League’s fourth stage under no pressure. In April, the team dropped their head coach and a DPS player. Their best player is on break in Korea. Dallas Fuel sat only ahead of the winless Shanghai Dragons in the Overwatch League standings.

The team, owned by Team Envy, tapped former Fusion University coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins to lead the Overwatch League squad. Dallas’ announcement came on May 16 at the start of stage four. Just days after a win at the Overwatch Contenders North America tournament in Poland, Atkins joined the struggling team in Los Angeles.

Related: Dallas Fuel thrash London Spitfire in one of the quickest matches of the Overwatch League season

Coincidentally, the Overwatch League’s fourth stage brought a major meta shift—one that aligns more closely to Dallas’ preferred style of play. Dallas are known for their tanks; the team thrived in the OGN Overwatch Apex during the height of the tank meta. Their success waned when dive meta smothered the scene, which is how they’ve landed in near last place in the Overwatch League.

Brigitte, a tank-like support hero in Overwatch, supports a slower, more precise style of play—a shift away from the hyper-aggression and chaos of the dive meta. She shuts down traditional dive compositions, a scenario we saw during the Dallas Fuel and London Spitfire match last week.

Dallas tank player Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod switched from D.Va to Brigitte, who utterly punished London’s dive composition. Dallas ran what would technically be called a triple support, with Mickie using Brigitte as a tank/support hybrid, as intended. London continuously fell into Dallas’ trap, unable to adjust their lineup to take on the slower style of play.

A win against London last week proved that Dallas’ success in stage four isn’t a fluke. The coaching change and meta shift look good on the Texas-based Overwatch League. A structural change is exactly what Dallas needed. Led by Atkins in an entirely new meta, Dallas looks, once again, like Team Envy. He’s bringing a structure that the team’s lost, securing players into their roles and supporting the natural talent on the roster.

The changes we’re seeing from Dallas Fuel are a product of just weeks in a new meta and under changed leadership. The team statistically can’t make the Overwatch League playoffs, but it’s a good showing heading into the stage four finals—but more importantly, for the team’s future in Overwatch League’s second season.