The Shanghai Dragons were crowned the June Joust winners after a long grand final series that ended in a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Fuel.
The Fuel were the defending May Melee champions, and started off the June Joust grand final with a strong 2-0 lead. The Fuel denied the Dragons any points on either Lijiang Tower or Volskaya Industries. On Numbani, the Dragons started turning things around and took the map 2-1.
The Dragons seemed to “wake up” after their choice of Numbani, and then they looked like an entirely different team. A standout performance came from main tank Koo “Fate” Pan-seung, who paved the way for success on Wrecking Ball. Main tank Koo “Fate” Pan-seung, who paved the way for success on Wrecking Ball, had a standout performance.
Halfway through the match, the Fuel squeaked out a victory on Rialto, ending the map 4-3 in favor of the Fuel. Shanghai chose Busan next, where they took on an adaptation of the NA meta for the June Joust, and earned themselves a narrow victory.
Eichenwalde was a chaotic map that saw both teams making some hero changes in order to counter their opponents. The map didn’t start out well for the Dragons’ push, but they ended up making it all the way to the end of the map. The Fuel were almost able to push their payload to the end as well, and they had a decent overtime push, but were denied at the last second by the Dragons.
After pushing the match all the way to Map 7, Junkertown was the stage for the final showdown between the two teams. Neither team ended up pushing the payload all the way to the end of Junkertown, and it didn’t look good for the Dragons when they didn’t complete their journey. When it came time for the Fuel to make their push, the Dragons were able to hold off the Fuel before they even made it to Point B and took the victory in an exciting reverse sweep.
The June Joust tournament was the first to see hero pools added, which creates a unique challenge for teams who must come up with a strategy that works around the banned heroes. In the May Melee, the Fuel had relied a lot on the addition of Sombra to their composition, but she was banned in the June Joust tournament.
Teams prepare as much as they can for matches with banned heroes, but sometimes decisions must be made on the fly if a team deviates from the meta, or throws in a surprise hero pick.
“The feedback that I gave to the players to adjust on the fly was that they have to engage first, and they have to be fast, but that’s not as easy as it sounds, so I believe that’s why we struggled so much today,” coach Hee-won “RUSH” Yun said in a press conference after the match.
The Dragons earned a $100,000 prize and three League Points that will help them qualify for playoffs.
The Fuel, who still take some prize money and two League Points as the runner-up, will compete in the Summer Showdown with OWL veteran Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon.
Hero pools are off the table for the Summer Showdown, which begins June 25. The Fuel consistently have done well this season regardless of hero pools, and fans expect that trend to continue in the next tournament.
Lead image credit: Overwatch League