Dallas Fuel breaks the cycle of misery in the May Melee
After three years of disappointment, the Dallas Fuel finally took home a tournament win in the May Melee.
To close out Week 3 of the 2021 Overwatch League season, the May Melee play-ins were held in the East and West divisions.
In the West, the Dallas Fuel began a streak of dominance that would end up winning them the first tournament of 2021. On Sunday, May 2nd, the Fuel took down both the two-time reigning champion San Francisco Shock and the #1 seed Houston Outlaws in brutal 3-0 sweeps. The Fuel’s team coordination, compositional variance, and sheer pace of play were too much for either team to bare, and Dallas stamped their ticket to the May Melee.
Rounding out the final four of the May Melee were the Eastern region play-in winners: the Shanghai Dragons, who eked out a win over the Philadelphia Fusion in a grueling 6-map series, and the Chengdu Hunters, who defeated the Seoul Dynasty with relative ease.
The May Melee tournament was held Thursday, May 6th through Saturday, May 8th. The top two teams from the East and West play-ins clashed in a double-elimination bracket over the first tournament title of the season and $100,00 USD in first place winnings.
The Shanghai Dragons and Chengdu Hunters played from their home facilities in Asia, while the Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem travelled to Hawaii so the two regions could compete with minimal latency.
In the opening round, the Dragons and Fuel proved their dominance, sending the Mayhem and Hunters respectively to the losers bracket.
The next day, the two winners faced off for the first time in a heated 6-map series. Ultimately, the Fuel pulled out the win and secured their spot in the grand finals.
Meanwhile, the Mayhem continued to prove their mettle, sending the Hunters home in a 3-1 victory.
To close out the day, the Dragons faced the Mayhem in the losers bracket finals. It seemed that the arduous travel and tough schedule took a toll on the young Mayhem roster, as they fell in an uncharacteristically one-sided match, and the Dragons proceeded to the grand finals.
On Saturday, May 8th, the final day of competition, the Fuel and Dragons faced off again in the May Melee grand finals. Both squads looked fierce in this first-to-four series, but it was the Fuel who proved to be the best in the league.
Finally, after years of false hope, imploding rosters, and mediocre results, Dallas Fuel fans rejoiced as their team took home a tournament win. What’s more, they did so in dominant fashion and in their own particular style.
The 2021 Fuel roster was exciting on paper but still raised questions. Namely, how would Dallas succeed without their star hitscan DPS player Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyu , who retired just before the season began? Indeed, the May Melee meta saw most teams strategizing around their hitscan player.
The Dallas Fuel never faltered, though, and played a unique blend of meta compositions and styles that fit their particular specialties. On top of the tournament win itself, the dominant and unique manner in which they won was more than enough to make Fuel fans proud.