Earlier this weekend, the Dallas Fuel defeated the Florida Mayhem in a five-map series. With Baek “Checkmate” Seung-hun playing main tank for the first time against the Fuel, the strategies Florida used worked with his aggressive playstyle. Florida’s strategies and clever plays took Dallas to the brink of a loss even with the traditional flex DPS playing a different role. With his matchup against MVP frontrunner Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok, Checkmate held his own in Upcomer’s Overwatch League match of the week.
Shaping order from chaos 🔥
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) July 3, 2021
Checkmate fearlessly duels Fearless
Going into this match, expectations for the Florida Mayhem were low. After losing their first two games in the Summer Showdown against the Toronto Defiant and Boston Uprising, they needed a change. To everyone’s surprise, that change became Checkmate playing main tank over Son “OGE” Min-seok. This was only the second time a DPS player has moved onto the main tank role in the Overwatch League. Not only was this change a test for the rest of the Summer Showdown, but his first game was against the best main tank in the league. Fearless helped the Dallas Fuel win the May Melee and reach the June Joust finals. Now, he was facing off against a rookie player playing an off-role due to necessity.
To start, the Mayhem played Lijang Tower and used some clever tactics to play to Checkmate’s aggression. After an early fight win, the Mayhem set their team up on point with a Symmetra. Then, Checkmate proceeded to do a high-risk high-reward play. Coordinating with Lee “BQB” Sang-bum, they placed a teleporter just beside the Fuel as they pushed towards point. Checkmate charged in the same direction as their engagement and teleported through the turret, pinning the enemy Symmetra and killing her. As Reinhardt, he continued to use the charge ability to constantly catch Fearless and the rest of the Fuel off-guard. They lost the first map, but watching Checkmate run into fights with little care was entertaining to see.
Checkmate channels Bumper
Many fans jokingly compared Checkmate’s play on the first map to Park “Bumper” Sang-beom. With the Vancouver Titans, Bumper gained a reputation as the most aggressive Reinhardt the league has ever seen. Matt “Mr X” Morello said during the first round that the comparison between him and Bumper was apt in his Reinhardt play.
Checkmate going hard Like bumper lmaooo
— OGE (@OGE_ow) July 3, 2021
This also was clear in Checkmate’s ultimate usage, on both Orisa and Reinhardt. His first thought in many scenarios was to run into an engagement and throw his ultimate down. With Orisa, it didn’t get as much value, but he won two maps against the best Western team on the hero. Particularly on Gibraltar, the reasons why Checkmate was moved to main tank made more sense. His coordination with his team was great, always using Orisa’s pull ability to mess with Fearless’ Winston. Playing double shield, the Mayhem held a stout defense and won the map with little issue.
Then, Hollywood was wild. The Dallas Fuel attacked first and captured the map in overtime, but the Mayhem stomped on the Fuel and captured with over 3:30 left. The Mayhem relied on BQB’s play to do so, but Checkmate was still coordinating well. They captured first on their second attack, winning the map but losing the series. After Checkmate’s 3-0 loss to the Washington Justice the day after, it’s fair to say these main tank strategies against the Fuel relied on surprise. However, the fact that it almost led to one of the biggest upsets this season made it extremely entertaining to watch and learn from.