In leui of our usual power rankings, ESTNN breaks down the performances of every team that played at last weekend’s Dallas Homestand.
The Dallas Homestand was the very first time Overwatch League teams were able to compete outside of the usual Burbank studio in regular season matches. Because of this, not all teams were able to attend, and there were only two days of games. That said, the games were electrifying and some teams outperformed expectations while and some teams underperformed. Let’s take a look in depth with each of the eight teams in attendance at the Dallas Homestand.
Dallas Fuel (A-)
Who else should we start with if not the home team itself? The Fuel were welcomed into the arena with pomp (a saxophone, specifically), thunderous crowd cheers, and the support of what felt like the entire city. All eyes were on this team to perform this week more than any other, and they did not disappoint.
In the last game of the first day, the Fuel faced off against the Los Angeles Valiant, who were looking to finish Stage 2 with a respectable record. Both teams were 2-2, and the game was important for both teams. That said, Dallas slammed the Valiant, winning the match 4-0. The scoreline can be a bit misleading, as the Valiant fought hard for every map, especially the last two. Either way, Dallas took the series.
In their second match, Dallas played against their Texas counterpart in the Houston Outlaws. Dallas went 1-1 in the first half and looked shakey by the time halftime rolled around. But whatever Aero and Jayne said to them behind the scenes, it seemed to work. OGE came out with a vengeance and led his team to take the next two map victories and a win for Dallas in the Battle for Texas. In the history of the Overwatch League, this was the first time that Dallas had beaten the Houston Outlaws.
Seoul Dynasty (B+)
As one of the top teams coming into this event, Seoul got lucky in terms of scheduling this weekend. As a Top 8 team, Seoul faced off against the Houston Outlaws and the Los Angeles Valiant, two arguably much weaker teams. Seoul was able to make quick work of the Outlaws in a 4-0 set, but the Los Angeles representatives were a very different story.
Coming into the game, many believed this would be the Min-seo “Marve1” Hwang show, the new starting main tank for the Dynasty. Fans and analysts believed him to be the piece that the team was missing, as Fissure has had trouble in his past few performances.
In the Outlaws match, Marvel had one of the best performance he’s ever had, raising his eliminations per 10 minutes to the 36th best in the league, despite only having started playing this stage. The Valiant put up a fight, however, destroying the Dynasty’s hopes of a map buffer.
The Seoul Dynasty was taken to a full five-map set, but still managed to pull out a victory and go 2-0 for the weekend.
Hangzhou Spark (B-)
The Spark were not exactly a powerhouse team coming in to the weekend, sporting a 2-2 record like most of the teams in attendance. They were able to prove that they are still a contender for stage playoffs, however. In a surprising upset, the Spark were able to take down a dominant Chengdu Hunters in the only game not to go 4-0 on the first day, winning the match 3-1.
The Spark performed well, but the stars of the day were the support players for Hangzhou. They kept Hangzhou in fights with superb survivability and great decision making. The Spark were also able to defeat the Paris Eternal in a close five-game series, utilizing their superior 3-3 play and generating Graviton Surges much quicker than the Eternal.
Overall, the Spark looked fantastic, and have definitely improved since the beginning of the stage.
Chengdu Hunters (B-)
The Hunters can be a confusing team. Before the event, many were predicting that the Hunters would go an even 1-1, winning against the Spark and losing against an undefeated London Spitfire. Well, the Hunters did go 1-1, but they lost to the Spark and beat the Spitfire!
The loss to the Spark was somewhat understandable, as the power of the 3-3 composition was important in this match, and unfortunately, the Hunters looked uncomfortable on it. London’s strategy against the Hunters was “Outlive the enemy team with 3-3 and generate ultimates.” Well, Yi “JinMu” Hu definitely had a few things to say about that strategy.
The Chinese star’s stellar DPS play took the London Spitfire by surprise, and by the time they attempted to counter him, it was too late. The Hunters were able to ruin London’s undefeated streak this stage and put themselves firmly in the running for Stage Playoffs. With a potential victory on the horizon this week against the Valiant, the Hunters may be able to just clinch the final playoff spot.
London Spitfire (C+)
The London Spitfire have had a very interesting season so far. Not only did they fail to qualify for playoffs in Stage 1, but they also looked defeated and like a shadow of their former selves despite minimal roster movements. Then, in Stage 2, they pulled off an undefeated run coming into the Dallas Homestand! With an absolutely dominant victory over the Paris Eternal, no one could have predicted what happened next.
When London came on stage on Sunday, some felt bad for the Hunters, who many thought would drop the series against London. With a combination of mistakes on London’s end and just a bit of luck for the Hunters, however, London saw the word “defeat” across their screens one too many times, resulting in a series loss.
London’s inability to counter or match a triple/quadruple DPS composition resulted in their demise. With stage playoffs locked in, however, the Spitfire are sitting pretty and waiting to see if they can get their revenge in the Stage 2 Playoffs.
Paris Eternal (C)
The Paris Eternal showed that they were capable of taking opponents to the ends of maps and making them fight for every inch. However, they also proved they can not defeat stronger teams consistently as of right now.
While players like Terence “SoOn” Tarlier were able to have their shining moments, the team simply could not come together when they needed to, resulting in losses to both the London Spitfire and the Hangzhou Spark. The Eternal are not a bad team, they just need a little something to get back on track. What that “something” is is hard to say.
Los Angeles Valiant (C)
Even with a 2-2 record, The Valiant came into this event with almost no expectations. They had lost to strong top-tier teams and defeated lower-to-middle tier teams with consistency. This was the time to prove themselves, and unfortunately, they were not able to perform.
But, there is a shining light, a silver lining for the Valiant. In the game against Seoul Dynasty, the Valiant managed to hold their ground and take the Korean stars to a Map 5, something only their counterparts in the Gladiators had forced Seoul to do this whole stage. While the Valiant were not able to take the victory, they showed that they will not roll over and die, and that they will fight in every series, no matter the opponent.
Houston Outlaws (C-)
The Outlaws came into the Allen Center guns blazing looking for a first win of the stage, but unfortunately fired blanks at their opponents. The Houston representatives were only able to take a single map off Dallas. In other words, The Fuel (and the Dynasty) beat and battered them badly.
With the inability to find a consistent core six to start, the Outlaws seem to be confused at times. This confusion resulted in mistakes and map losses that should not happen. Hopefully the Outlaws correct this issue soon if only so the next Battle of Texas can be little less one-sided.
Images VIA: Nicholas Johnson for ESTNN
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