SP9RK1E leads Fuel past Gladiators in Overwatch Week 1

The second day of play in the Western Region of the Overwatch League saw the Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and Toronto Defiant pick up their first wins of the season on Saturday.

The biggest matchup of the day saw the Fuel (1-1) square up against another team with lofty expectations for the season in the Los Angeles Gladiators (0-2). While both teams were coming off of disappointing losses on Friday, the Fuel came out strong with a 3-1 series win.

Dallas’ biggest acquisition this offseason shined today, as DPS Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim dominated on an array of hero picks, including his iconic Doomfist. SP9RK1E and the rest of the Fuel were persistently in the Gladiators’ face, knocking around their frontline. Despite not having a dedicated hitscan DPS after the sudden retirement of DPS Ki-hyo “Xzi” Jung due to injury, the Fuel didn’t let that stop them, taking a 2-1 win on Lijiang Tower in Game 1.

The beatdown continued into Game 2, where the Fuel’s Sombra-based compositions stymied the Gladiators’ attempts to find solid fight wins. Dallas took Blizzard World 4-3, threatening to pick up a 3-0 sweep, but Los Angeles responded in Game 3 with a 3-2 win on Dorado.

Heading into Game 4, SP9RK1E was on a roll as Doomfist and Tracer, eventually finishing with 59 final blows. Behind SP9RK1E’s fragging power and main tank Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee’s front line dominance, the Fuel took Temple of Anubis 2-1 to take the series 3-1.

This win is huge for a Fuel team trying to find its identity after the loss of Xzi, while the Gladiators will have to look for answers. After going out and getting high-caliber free agents, starting the Overwatch League 0-2 is not a good look, regardless of who their opponents were.

In other Saturday action, the Florida Mayhem (1-0) took a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Reign (0-1). Both of these teams had some amount of hype coming into the season, but the Mayhem managed to deliver while the Reign showed signs of early struggles.

Atlanta looked good, if not great, when they got to play their bread-and-butter brawl compositions, like in Game 2, where they dominated Eichenwalde for a 2-1 win. On other maps, though, where the Mayhem could force the Reign onto non-brawl compositions, the Reign struggled heavily. Florida took a dive-heavy Ilios in Game 1, 2-1, then dominated Watchpoint; Gibraltar in Game 3, 1-0.

By the time the series moved onto Hanamura for Game 4, the Mayhem had found their stride. Behind new main tank Min-seok “OGE” Son, who’s in a must-win position in his career, Florida took Hanamura 2-1 and secured the series win against a formidable opponent while taking a step to assert themselves back on top of the Western Region.

Finally, in a battle of the Canadian teams, the Toronto Defiant (1-0) took out the Vancouver Titans (0-1) in a 3-1 series win. Toronto started hot with a 2-1 win on Busan in Game 1 and a 3-2 win on Eichenwalde in Game 2. After the break, the Titans got some amount of revenge with a 2-1 win on Watchpoint: Gibraltar in Game 3 to deny the sweep, but Toronto would bounce back with a 2-1 win on Hanamura to secure the series win.

Week 1 in the Western Region concludes on Sunday with three matches:
Houston Outlaws vs San Francisco Shock
Florida Mayhem vs Vancouver Titans
Toronto Defiant vs Atlanta Reign

Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record and map differential
1. Shanghai Dragons (East), 1-0, +3
T2. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 1-0, +2
T2. Chengdu Hunters (East), 1-0, +2
T2. Toronto Defiant (West), 1-0, +2
T2. San Francisco Shock (West), 1-0, +2
T2. Florida Mayhem (West), 1-0, +2
7. Houston Outlaws (West), 1-0, +1
8. Dallas Fuel (West), 1-1, +1
T9. Washington Justice (West), 0-0, even
T9. Boston Uprising (West), 0-0, even
T9. Paris Eternal (West), 0-0, even
T9. New York Excelsior (East), 0-0, even
T9. London Spitfire (West), 0-0, even
T9. Hangzhou Spark (East), 0-0, even
T15. Vancouver Titans (West), 0-1, -2
T15. Atlanta Reign (West), 0-1, -2
T15. Seoul Dynasty (East), 0-1, -2
T15. Los Angeles Valiant (East), 0-1, -2
19. Guangzhou Charge (East), 0-1, -3
20. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 0-2, -4

–Field Level Media

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