sportsDallas Fuel

Fuel may ‘scold’ rookie ‘guriyo,’ but Dallas remains confident in his growth

The chase for perfection is part of the Fuel’s culture, and “RUSH” is trying to develop a well-oiled machine.

The Dallas Fuel have a different standard of good Overwatch. Anything other than a championship just isn’t enough.

It’s part of Yun “RUSH” Hee-won’s recipe to success in the Overwatch League. Dallas lost its first six maps of Midseason Madness qualifiers, took the following week of practice to find a composition that worked for the Fuel in the current meta and dominated their next two matches against the Vancouver Titans and Florida Mayhem.

This time, the Fuel didn’t lose a map.

Lee “Fearless” Euiseok had the most play time yet this season, along with rookie DPS player Kang “guriyo” Min-seo. Both played all six maps against the Mayhem and Titans and dominated in their roles.

Kang, who entered the season relatively unproven, was already feeling growth. He’s spent most of his season battling nerves.

“I didn’t shake at all today,” Kang said without an interpreter. His English was clean. Kang’s mom had him learn English when he was 5 years old, and he practiced it when he traveled to foreign countries.

Fuel assistant general manager Helen Jang said Kang was helpful when communicating with the Korean-dominant Fuel staff.

Yun said Kang improved as a player, but had a long way to go still.

“Even (Saturday), watching the game, we identified many, many mistakes,” Yun said via interprter. “Actually, we just came back from scolding him. He has improved, but he as a player has not really ‘played in the big waters’ yet. So for him, it’s most important for him to adapt to all the problems and be able to fix those.”

A harsh review for a rookie who was dominant on the powerful Sojourn hero in a developing meta. But the Fuel have sky-high expectations. They brought Kang onto the team because they were confident in his ceiling.

Dallas assistant coach Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun said Kang probably had a lot of pressure on him. Playing him this much is a risk, but it also instills confidence.

Lee, who was one of the most dominant main tank players in the world in 2021 on heroes like Winston and Reinhardt, took a back seat to Choi “Hanbin” Han-been for most of the Kickoff Clash. Lee had to learn how to improve in Overwatch 2 without many options to actually play the game.

His confidence never waivered. Lee said he understood why the Fuel went with Choi. It wasn’t about who was better, but rather who was more suited to play against the Fuel’s opponents in that meta.

Now it’s Fearless time. Winston and Reinhardt are viable and the Fuel want to rush at their opponents.

“I do feel both tanks are very capable and very good at what they do. Essentially, we can play both of them,” Yun said. “It depends on how the other teams are playing and what kinds of methods they are using to strategize.

“Yes, Hanbin would still work. I just saw a different picture with Fearless and that’s why I went with Fearless these recent weeks.”

That was about as complimentary as Yun has been about a player since The Dallas Morning News covered a Yun-led Fuel squad. Of course, he felt Lee had a lot of work to do, too.

The recent score lines suggest the Fuel improved, and did so swiftly. Yun didn’t think Dallas was totally better though. And he knew from Dallas’ experience in the Kickoff Clash that his team couldn’t put all their eggs into one strategy.

“We have to pull off pretty much a lot more than what we are capable of currently,” Yun said.

For Yun, there will always be work to do as long as there’s a world championship to compete for. Sweeping Overwatch League teams won’t be enough.

But that’s the point.

Find more Fuel coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Find more esports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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