Dallas Fuel find themselves in the lower bracket. They will face the winner of San Francisco Shock and Atlanta Reign.

The Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons was one of the most anticipated match-ups of the playoffs. Shanghai Dragons have been phenomenal in the 2021 season and is one of the favorites to win the championship. Dallas has had its struggles, but 2021 was also the year when the team won its first tournament. More recently, Dallas made some changes to its composition and the new playstyle looks much more similar to Shanghai Dragons. 

The last time the two teams faced each other was during the June Just finals when Shanghai Dragons defeated Dallas fuel 4-3. 

The OWl 2021 Upper Bracket Playoffs

Shanghai Dragons take the W with ease on Ilios

Dallas started with a Reaper on its lineup, but that did not seem to pan out as Shanghai was able to single Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim out on multiple occasions. Dallas did not have any means of punishing Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim’s Tracer who ran amok in the Shanghai Dragons’ backlines. The Dallas lineup seemed very incohesive, while there was a much better synergy for the Chinese franchise. Shanghai Dragons won the first point with a 99-39 capture percentage, a relatively one-sided start to the series.

The Dallas lineup was much better in the second point with players on more comfortable heroes. They stayed true to their trademark playstyle and between Dong-ha “Doha” Kim and SP9RK1E, the team seemed in control of many team fights. It was a very close tussle between the two teams for control of the point with the percentage bar progress for both teams being within a few points of each other. The Dragons’ ultimate economy saw them win the final fight on Well and the clean-up by Tracer was much better. Shanghai Dragons won Ilios 2-0, but the second point was much closer than the first. 

Dallas Bring it Back on Volskaya Industries

Volskaya is the Sombra map and rightfully so, both teams brought out their respective Sombra picks. Doha played the Sombra for Dallas Fuel while Jae-won “LIP” Lee was Shanghai’s choice. Shanghai had a decent run on the first point, but faced a lot of resistance on the second point. An unfortunate positioning mistake saw Han-been “Hanbin” Choi caught unawares and it started the final fight for the Dragons. They took point 2, but it was only in Overtime after a spirited Dallas Fuel defense.

On the second point defense, Shanghai Dragons took a more aggressive approach. Lip pushed forward and was able to use an excellent EMP to render the Dallas Fuel useless. 

The Dallas Fuel ultimately finished point 2 with time to spare. They had 2.18 on the clock, a comfortable time-bank to take one tick on the first point. And they did it with ease, bringing the series to a 1-1 draw. 

Though Shanghai won their last matchup against Dallas, they are still down 1-0 in the matchup All-time

Izayaki shines on Numbai to give Shanghai the Lead

Dallas started on the Attackers side for Numbani and had a very aggressive and strong start to the map. They took the first point with lots of time in the bank and looked good on Numbani. After a decent showing on the second capture point, the Dallas Fuel were unable to push through to the end. Shanghai Dragons had excellent target selection with Fleta free to deal damage to the Shanghai backlines. Jun-woo “Void” Kang’s D’va was always peeling to help Min-chul “IZaYaKI” Kim, helping him survive the constant poke by SP9RK1E. 

Shanghai’s first point was also almost as quick as the Dallas Fuel. The Dragons lost a lot of time on the second point. They barely made it to the point, but lost a lot of time in the process. Izayaki’s Zenyatta caught SP9RK1E with an alternate fire headshot, a kill that started off the final push for the Dragons. Shanghai Dragons barely won Numbani to take a 2-1 lead in the series. 

Dorado goes the way of the Dragons

Shanghai had the momentum coming into Map 4. The Dragons won important 1v1 duels and they ran through the Dallas Fuel defense. While the first point attack was impressive, the Shanghai payload seemed unstoppable during the second stretch of the map. Shanghai finished all three points with 2.48 on the clock, a massive timebank on Dorado. In fact, it was just eight seconds away from making it to the top five times on Dorado of all time.

The Dallas Fuel seemed very uncomfortable on Dorado. The team filtered through and did not reset on its defense. The Dallas Fuel offense was good, but did not compare to Shanghai’s blazing fast run. Eventually, Shanghai Dragons was able to hold off the Dallas Fuel before the second point. 

We don’t consider Dallas Fuel our Rivals cause we keep beating them

Izayaki

In a post-match interview, Shanghai Dragons’ Izayaki said they were prepared for the different Dallas Fuel compositions. The team’s study proved important in this series as they were not completely off-guard with any of the Dallas Picks. When asked to compare the Dallas Fuel of the regular season with the one in the playoffs, Izayaki said they felt weaker now compared to earlier.

Shanghai Dragons Await Opponents in the Grand Finals

With this 3-1 victory, Shanghai Dragons has secured its spot in the OWL 2021 Grand Finals. The Grand Finals take place on Saturday and probably be one of the last few professional matches on Overwatch 1. 

For a team that went 0-40 in Season 1, Shanghai Dragons is taking control of its storyline. The team will now play in the OWL 2021 Grand Finals on Saturday, and look like the favorites to win the tournament. 


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Rohan - Content Editor

Rohan

Content Editor | Twitter: @rohan_esports | Twitch: rohan_3105

Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2 and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, have spent hours in Cities:Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Love travelling, an admirer of fine movies, writing a sci-fi novel in spare time and coding (Javascript)