​The Dallas Fuel had a rocky season to say the least. Its season began with high expectations, and in its first match against the Seoul Dynasty it seemed capable of being a top team. A few short weeks later, both teams were looking worse for wear.

For Dallas, the collapse was no mystery. Its star tank player Felix "xQc" Lengyel was perennially absent, first as a result of two ​different ​​suspensions, and later because ​the team released him.

Its streaky main DPS player, Timo "Taimou" Kettunen, failed to hit his stride. Internal turmoil among the players, management and coaching eventually led to head coach ​Kyle "KyKy" Souder leaving the organization. Even the team's Tracer expert, ​Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon, disappeared to Korea when the team needed him most.

The instability in the Dallas roster proved an unconquerable foe for the vast majority of the season, as the team racked up loss after loss and sank further and further from its Team EnVyUs glory days.

Finally, Stage 4 rolled around, and with it came several crucial changes for Dallas. One was the ascendance of Brandon "Seagull" Larned as a premier flex player in the Overwatch League. Seagull proved as capable on D.Va as on his signature Genji, and the versatility he offered helped create stability in a team that badly needed it.

Another important development came in the form of a new hero and corresponding meta: Brigitte. As soon as flex tank Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod took the stage as the new healer, he and the Fuel came out swinging. Mickie's Brigitte stood out with style in Stage 4.

Third in the Dallas checklist was a return to form for Taimou. After three stages of disappointment and self doubt, Taimou clocked in in Stage 4, jumping to eighth place in eliminations per 10 minutes as Widowmaker, and pulling off sneaky clutch plays as Reaper.

The last piece of the Dallas Fuel puzzle, however, came rocket charging in from South Korea: Min-seok "OGE" Son. OGE's stellar main tank play became the foundation around which Dallas built its fourth stage.

As Reinhardt, OGE stands at fourth in the ​Overwatch League in final blows per 10 minutes, fourth in deaths per 10 and fifth in ultimates earned per 10. His Winston stats are even better: first in final blows per 10, seventh in deaths per 10 and first in ultimates earned per 10. He brought to the team exactly what it lacked: stellar, consistent tank play.

With these elements in place at last, Dallas put together its most respectable stage yet, a 6-4 just strong enough to get them to the Stage 4 finals. There, it faced the juggernaut New York Excelsior and pushed the set to a winnable five game series, nearly completing a reverse sweep.

In a post-game interview, Seagull said that if there were another stage following Stage 4, the Fuel would only continue to rise. He might be right. Without a fifth stage, however, the team will need to wait until next season to prove itself. 

The squad has traveled miles, from its lackluster beginnings all the way to the Stage 4 playoffs. Its season may be over, but for the Dallas Fuel, the future has never burned so bright, or so blue.

Cover photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment