sportsDallas Fuel

Dallas head coach ‘RUSH’ says Fuel have to ‘learn how to win again’ to claim OWL championship

Dallas starts its Overwatch League playoff run on Sept. 16, playing from Hawaii.

The last two weeks of the Overwatch League regular season were underwhelming for the Dallas Fuel. A 2-2 Countdown Cup record followed by a 3-0 loss the the San Francisco Shock solidified that the Fuel wouldn’t be seen again until the playoffs.

About the playoffs -- those will no longer serve as a home base for the Fuel. The Overwatch League announced a pivot Wednesday evening, stating the playoffs would be online instead of at Esports Stadium Arlington.

Now the Fuel’s match against a team yet to be decided at 5 p.m. CST on Sept. 16 will be online, and Dallas will play from Hawaii like the previous four tournaments this season.

Yun “RUSH” Hee-Won, head coach of the Fuel, was mostly concerned with the task at hand for his team: winning a world title.

“The players need to learn how to win again. They need to really get it down,” Yun said via interpreter. “I feel like right now we’re at a place where they just managed to get through and it works against weaker teams, but against stronger teams, it can definitely end up where we just outplay ourselves.

“We have to make sure that we know how to win each team fight. They just have to get used to that.”

The Fuel peaked at the May Melee, winning the first trophy in franchise history. From that point on, the expectations of the Fuel were adjusted to fit what the team was capable of. That’s winning.

Dallas was still a force in the following Summer Showdown and June Joust. They made it to Hawaii three times, with the upcoming playoffs being the fourth trip.

But the success wasn’t the same. The Fuel struggled with stronger teams from the East. Shanghai and Chengdu were too much for the Fuel, and their aggressive style of play was stunted.

“I think what we were able to do was get in our own positions to break through the enemy,” Yun said.

“And then afterwards, it seemed like the opponents were getting used to our pattern. So when that happens, in the middle of the game, the player might feel a little more flustered by the reaction to that.”

There were midseason patches and hero bans that hurt the Fuel. Moira received a nerf and Lucio was out of the mix for the Countdown Cup, which was easily the Fuel’s worst portion of the season.

The Fuel followed their final stretch with a hard week of practicing. Even Yun would head over to the Envy Gaming headquarters in Victory Plaza to relax and play games with the team. They don’t venture out with hopes of staying healthy during a global pandemic.

Yun didn’t want his players to feel complacent though. To learn how to win again will demand an effort they haven’t had for months.

Dallas can hide strategies, because the teams they scrimmage against will be the same teams they compete against in the playoffs. But the Fuel have to be exceptional and able to adapt.

“We have already seen a lot of different things that are probably going to be what you see in the future. And it’s really just about matchups,” Yun said.

“One matchup can win against another but lose against the third one. And it’s just a cycle. So I feel like the main focus should be around how we create our comp against a certain team.”

Yun has three weeks to get the Fuel in shape. Do it right, and the Fuel could be championship bound.


Find more esports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Find more Fuel coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

In This Story

Sean Collins, Staff Writer. Sean started at The Dallas Morning News in 2020 and covers North Texas esports, focusing on the Dallas Fuel and Dallas Empire. He covered high school and Kansas State athletics at The Manhattan Mercury. Sean graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018, where he worked for the University Daily Kansan as a sports editor covering Kansas hoops. seanzcollins
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