Dragons capture June Joust in epic comeback over Fuel

The 2021 Overwatch League June Joust wrapped up Saturday with one of the wildest series in recent Overwatch history as the Shanghai Dragons completed an epic comeback in a 4-3 win over the Dallas Fuel in the grand final.

It was a contest between the league’s two best teams. The Fuel (5-3, 10 points) and Dragons (6-2, 11 points) squared off for the second time in a tournament final, a repeat of the May Melee grand final.

These teams met in the first round of the June Joust playoffs, with the Fuel easily dominating the Dragons. In that series, though, Shanghai seemed uncertain as to what composition to run.

But Saturday, the Dragons would run a lineup nearly identical to the Fuel’s, with the exception of veteran tank Pan-seung “Fate” Koo, who opted into playing Wrecking Ball.

Early in the series, Dallas threatened to blast through Shanghai and take the series like they did earlier in the tournament. The Fuel were assertive, playing up tempo and causing visible frustration for the Dragons as Dallas took Lijiang Tower 2-0 and Volskaya Industries 2-0.

In Game 3 on Numbani, though, Shanghai finally started showing how their Wrecking Ball-led composition was supposed to work. Fate’s Piledriver engagements on the Fuel’s backline led to easy follow-up from 2020 OWL MVP Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim’s signature Echo, leading to a 2-1 win for Shanghai to start turning the tide.

Dallas responded with a 4-3 win on Rialto, pushing the series to map point, but Shanghai took a crucial Game 5 on Busan to stay alive in the series.

By the time Game 6 on Eichenwalde came around, the Fuel looked gassed and nonplussed as to how to deal with Shanghai’s lineup. Despite Dallas switching to the Wrecking Ball to mirror the composition, they lacked Shanghai’s experience and execution with the composition.

Eichenwalde was close but Fleta, who made a critical swap to Soldier:76 in their overtime attack push to keep the game alive, put away the Fuel 3-2, forcing a series-deciding Game 7 on Junkertown.

Both teams brawled hard in the Wrecking Ball pseudo-GOATs mirror, but the Dragons held on, taking the map 2-1 and winning the June Joust tournament in one of the wildest comebacks in professional Overwatch history.

With the win, Shanghai gets three league points, Dallas gets two league points, and the Atlanta Reign (4-4, 5 points) get one league point for their third-place finish in the June Joust.

After a week off, OWL teams will compete in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the Summer Showdown’s double-elimination playoff brackets, which will be contested July 15-18. The top six teams from the West and the top four teams from the East will make the initial playoff rounds. Two teams from each region will advance to the double-elimination final playoff round.

The Summer Showdown qualifiers kick off on June 25 with two matches:
London Spitfire vs Paris Eternal (West)
Los Angeles Gladiators vs San Francisco Shock (West)

Overwatch League standings by region, with win-loss record, map differential and league points

1. Dallas Fuel, 5-3, +7, 10
2. San Francisco Shock, 7-1, +13, 7
3. Houston Outlaws, 7-1, +12, 7
4. Los Angeles Gladiators, 6-2, +11, 6
5. Washington Justice, 5-3, +5, 5
6. Atlanta Reign, 4-4, +5, 5
7. Florida Mayhem, 4-4, -1, 5
8. Toronto Defiant, 4-4, -3, 4
9. Boston Uprising, 3-5, -4, 3
10. Paris Eternal, 3-5, -5, 3
T11. Vancouver Titans, 0-8, -20, 0
T11. London Spitfire, 0-8, -20, 0

1. Shanghai Dragons, 6-2, +9, 11
2. Seoul Dynasty, 6-2, +11, 6
3. Philadelphia Fusion, 6-2, +10, 6
4. Hangzhou Spark, 5-3, +8, 5
5. Chengdu Hunters, 4-4, +2, 4
6. New York Excelsior, 3-5, -6, 3
7. Guangzhou Charge, 2-6, -12, 2
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-8, -22,

–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media

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