Welcome to Part 2 of our Dallas Fuel Ultimate Weekend Primer! Last time, we covered the Dallas Fuel, the Hangzhou Spark and the ever-surprising Chengdu Hunters. Now, it’s time to cover three more teams taking part in the Texas-based event: the London Spitfire, Paris Eternal, and Seoul Dynasty.
Let's start with the Season One Grand Champions, the London Spitfire. Before we dig into the strengths and weaknesses of the Spitfire, it’s time for some background. The London Spitfire were originally two teams before they merged to form the Spitfire, which is owned by Cloud9. The two teams were GC Busan and Cloud9 Kongdoo.
That said, over time the team removed or replaced many of the members of those two teams. The only remaining members of those original rosters are Profit, Birdring, Gesture and Bdosin. The other current members came from other teams such as Meta Athena, Rhinos Gaming and Element Mystic. But after some trials and tribulations, the team got the results they wanted and managed to win the entirety of the first season.
London are Looking Good
And the team have improved rather significantly since their slow start in Season 2. They finished Stage 1 with a 3-4 win to loss ratio, but they have yet to drop a game in Stage 2. Players like Fury are showing how crucial they are to their team's lineup, consistently making smart and sensible plays that have, at times, saved an entire map for the team.
Their teamwork and synergy are looking much better than in Stage 1 and the team’s overall consistency is improving at a steady pace. There are, however, still some issues that can be fixed.
While their play is steadily improving, the final scores are either very close or complete blowouts. The Spitfire have managed to clean sweep both the Boston Uprising and the Atlanta Reign, but narrowly took victories against significantly weaker teams like the Florida Mayhem, who are currently sat at the bottom of the league standings.
London occasionally makes simple mistakes that are heavily capitalized on, and the team is punished for these mistakes (which ends up costing them maps). As long as the London Spitfire can avoid making these mistakes, they are a strong opponent coming into the weekend.
Next up is the other European team in the Overwatch League, and they are not as strong as fans would hope. The Paris Eternal came out of the gates swinging in their first two matches, with the French squad defeating their European counterpart, Spitfire, 3-1 in their very first game of the season. After managing to narrowly avoid defeat against the Gladiators, the Eternal began to drop games. Some games seemed like they should have been much closer than they actually were, sowing the seeds of doubt in this expansion team.
The team does have some strong points though. DPS star Shadowburn, who was once in the Overwatch League as a member of the Philadelphia Fusion, shone during Stage 1. Unfortunately, the Eternal soon picked up EQO from the Fusion, and Shadowburn rode the bench for the majority of Stage 1. Now, however, the Russian DPS is back in action. Unfortunately for Shadowburn, though, the meta necessitates that he play Brigitte occasionally instead of his signature heroes like Pharah. Flex tank Finnsi has also made a name for himself as a solid D.va player, getting crucial picks and multi-kills that can swing the tide of the map into the Eternal’s favour.
Will substitutions help the eternal?
The team has also switched their main tanks up, with LhCloudy now taking the starting spot over BenBest. And after LhCloudy's strong showing against the Guangzhou Charge in the first week of Stage 2, it’s clear to see why Paris made the switch. Compared to some of the other teams going into the weekend, the Paris Eternal need to prepare themselves for their opponents, the London Spitfire and the Hangzhou Spark.
Finally in Part 2, we have the ever-improving Seoul Dynasty. The Dynasty originally started out as the infamous APEX team, Lunatic Hai. Back then, analysts considered them to be the team to beat during the tournament’s lifespan. Lunatic Hai won two seasons in a row, beating both RunAway and Team Kongdoo to take the Championship titles. However, only three of the original members remain: Ryujehong, Tobi and Zunba.
The Dynasty started off in the first season as one of the top teams. Unfortunately, each time stage playoffs rolled around, the Dynasty fell short and their struggles increased over time. Now, the team is back in form, and they look better than ever. The Dynasty acquired the former main tank of the LA Gladiators, Fissure, during the offseason. They've added more than Fissure, however. These new acquisitions are Michelle, Marve1, Jecse, Fits, ILLICIT and Highly. Interestingly, both ILLICIT and Highly have yet to play a match due to visa issues.
One of the teams to beat
But the new players have helped the Dynasty reap the rewards, with Fissure proving to be a very strong main tank for the team and Marve1 impressing with his play. Jecse is a very solid main support and already has great synergy with his flex support teammate, Ryujehong. For Ryujehong's part, he's killing it as Zenyatta in this current meta. New DPS player Fits is also working well with Munchkin, and Fits has already begun to make a name for himself as Genji.
Seoul currently sits at 8th place in the standings with a 5-5 record, which is a little low for a team with so much firepower. So far when they’ve taken a win, they’ve taken it rather convincingly, but when they’ve lost, it has only gone to five maps once. Teams have caught Fissure out of position often, and when Fissure dies, the Dynasty tend to lose. Fissure does have a very aggressive playstyle, which can sometimes lead to his death in team fights. That said, Seoul looks to be one of the strongest teams coming into this weekend. They'll face off against the Los Angeles Valiant and the Houston Outlaws.
Photos VIA: Ben Pursell (1&3) and Robert Paul (2) for Blizzard Entertainment