The Dallas Fuel was never a top team in the Overwatch League. They did have a great start during their ‘EnVyUs’ days but that seems a long time ago. However, EnVyUs was definitely underperforming and had poor results as the start of the Overwatch League grew closer. Despite not having the best of results, Dallas Fuel kept a large fan-base, partly due to their twitch-friendly players.
Recently, they announced a few changes to their team. They have decided to let go of Rascal and KyKy ( the Head Coach) from the team. The press release mentions the lack of championship performance as the reason for this decision. The Dallas Fuel is a team which probably had the components necessary to become a top-tier team. But several factors, not within the game, weighed heavily in their downfall.
Dallas Fuel cannot stay away from controversies
The Dallas Fuel has been surrounded by controversies since the beginning of the Overwatch League. The superstar team which probably had the highest number of fans at the start of the league has always been in the news, mostly for negative reasons. Much of Stage 1 saw XQC being the player in focus. His unique behavior often run afoul of the Overwatch League expectations. The Overwatch League fined and ultimately suspended him in Stage 1.
But things did not stop there as he was later accused of the usage of a tweet with a racial overtone. While the decision did not mention the context of the emote, XQC was let go by Dallas Fuel. Many fans pinned the blame on XQC and his behavior. While this might have been true, Dallas Fuel problems did not stop there.
Different voices on Social Media
One of the biggest problems for Dallas Fuel has been the way they handle their losses. Since stage 1, we have been seeing players come out on social media and try to point out the errors in their gameplay. Effect, Mickie, Taimou have all voiced their disappointment either in their own gameplay or a lack of confidence in their teammates.
Voicing one’s opinion in the public domain is not entirely wrong. However, when the same sentiment becomes repetitive you know there is something wrong. The players faced a lot of criticism from the community as well. The excessive scrutiny definitely got to some players and we saw AKM come out in public with his rant about Rascal.
The rant specifically spoke about how Rascal ‘refused’ to play during a Dallas Fuel match. Akm was then put on the Genji role, a hero which was very underwhelming on the player. The Dallas Fuel player Rascal came out in an open stream wherein he pointed out various flaws on the team. Regardless of whose fault this particular situation was, their methods of handling miscommunications and differences were wrong. The players constantly are out in the public domain trying to figure out their individual as well as team problems.
This is exactly what a team needs to do when they are practicing. The Overwatch league regularly releases videos of various teams such as the Valiant who are discussing their problems off-stage. However, the Dallas fuel seems to lack the communication between the players as well as the management. Most of their issues seem to stem around the communication between the various parties involved.
Fissure’s Thoughts on the Communication Problems
The other London Spitfire player who was traded alongside Rascal to another team had something to say about the issue. He feels that the communication issues are a reality and he would have faced a similar situation if not for Bischu. Bischu is well versed in both English and Korean. He was able to translate many of Fissure’s ideas and help him integrate into the team.
Integrating Cultures – A forgotten task
The Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Valiant swapped two players during the Trade Window. Custa ( formerly Dallas Fuel) moved to Los Angeles Valiant while Unkoe moved from the Valiant to Dallas Fuel.
The reason for this swap was so that the Valiant could manage the language barriers better within their team. Prior to the swap, the Los Angeles team had three groups of players speaking different languages. Communication and building strategies proved to be a very painstaking and tedious process for the team.
The Dallas Fuel, however, seem to have a similar problem. While the majority of the team is English speaking and therefore can understand each other, there was an abnormality. Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim joined the team from London Spitfire, but he is not proficient in English. The high expectations from the team management and ownership in Rascal’s abilities faced a roadblock due to the language barrier.
The exact details of what transpired during the one month Rascal was on Dallas Fuel are still unclear. But the team obviously did not communicate well during this time. Indeed there are accusations that Rascal refused to communicate with the team.
Teams need to invest in Linguistic Coaches
Korean players form the single largest majority in the Overwatch League. While there are a few teams with full Korean rosters such as New York Excelsior and London Spitfire, most of the teams have a multi-linguistic roster. It is impossible for a team to develop strategies and give out in game calls with the same proficiency as a single language roster.
There is no doubt that Korean players need to adjust to the English speaking counterparts. But the team management and coaches have to help the players in adjusting to the new environment. Cultural differences aside, language barriers are the single greatest impediment to the development of a team.
Overwatch league Season 1 is almost over and we will have a long off-season. The teams need to invest in Linguistic Coaches in order to help their players adjust to each other. The team which invests in Linguistic coaches and bilingual players such as Bischu will gain a big advantage in the upcoming weeks.