We're in the final stretch of Stage 3, and Boston continues to win. NYXL is right behind its East Coast rival, but in terms of raw power, it's still NYXL's yard. Meanwhile, no one can figure out what's up with Seoul, and Philadelphia keeps sliding down the rankings.
1. New York Excelsior
Movement: No movement
New York started the week looking challenged by the San Francisco Shock. Of course after the Shock took the first map, NYXL proceeded to win the series 3-1 and reaffirm its dominance. That continued later in the week with a key, decisive win over the hobbling Seoul Dynasty. Once New York got to its rival, playtime was over, and the team firmly sits at the top of the overall league standings and the power rankings.
The team's tank duo of Song "Janus" Joong-Hwa and Kim "Mano" Dong-Gyu continued to be reputable and increasingly terrifying. Mano is the go-to tank and it definitely showed this week, but Janus has settled in nicely as that extra spice. It's hard to believe that anyone can truly take down the XL this season, with how terrifying the team looks when it's at full power.
2. Boston Uprising
Boston are still the kings of Stage 3 at an undefeated 8-0 and only sit below New York's excellence in the power rankings. This last week was nothing but janitor duty for the Uprising as it faced the Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons. Boston missed two clean sweeps by a single map against Shanghai, but that didn't skew its dominance this week.
Lucas "NotE" Meissner has recently started receiving a lot of credit for his D.Va play, and for good reason. He is always at the right place at the right time, either syncing up dives with Noh "Gamsu" Young-Jin and Kwon "Striker" Nam-Joo, or protecting his backline. No one expected the Uprising to be at the top of the league and certainly no one expected NotE to be one of the league's best D.Va players.
3. London Spitfire
The Spitfire is a continuous headache for its fans, its opponents and experts. No one knows which London is going to show up on any given day, but its good days certainly show that it's a top team. The bad days are filled with "C9"s and reverse-sweeps, but even then, the Spitfire still has a lot of bite. London was close to two wins this week in an almost-reverse-sweep of Baek "Fissure" Chan-Hyung's Gladiators, but fell just short.
The Stage 1 champions are in a hole, but it's likely that won't be the case forever. It has been made public that Kim "Birdring" Ji-Hyeok is dealing with wrist issues and a healthy return would mean big things for London. The team is getting along fine with its current DPS arrangement, but the star power that Birdring brings is sorely missed at times.
4. Los Angeles Gladiators
This is a fairly generous bump for the Gladiators, but there's no denying the potential that this team's raw aggression brings to the table. Near victories against the NYXL and Valiant two weeks ago burned, but it came back to win its five-game affairs this week against London and Houston, showcasing strength on the tiebreaker map, Oasis, in both matches.
The performances of swiss-army knife DPS, Lane "Surefour" Roberts, often sways the team's results in the direction of victory or defeat; that's a boon, but it can also be a burn. Teams adapt to Surefour's dominance and the Gladiators have struggled to come up with an answer so far. The team needs more dynamic approaches to remain a consistent top team.
5. Los Angeles Valiant
Movement: No movement
The second Los Angeles team rolls in right behind the Gladiators, despite being ahead in the standings. The Valiant have benefited from dodging the XL and facing some of the strongest teams in the final week of Stage 3. However, the team's relatively consistent performances keep it near the top for now. A loss to Houston this week hurts, but the Outlaws' anti-dive style and favorable map pool certainly played a role in the LA loss.
Valiant feel like the rock of the league and a true gatekeeper at this point. It appears that it doesn't quite have the stuff to contend for the Stage 3 title, but it generally has enough in the tank to deliver competitive matches.Over-reliance on Chae "Bunny" Joon-Hyeok's performances is still a problem for the team, but he is also what makes the team dangerous against any team in the league.
6. Houston Outlaws
Movement: No movement
Houston broke one Los Angeles team in the Valiant, but just failed to crack the Gladiators when it came to Oasis. The Outlaws continue to be extremely dangerous on defense, particularly on its best maps, Temple of Anubis and Junkertown (or Jakertown). Its sophisticated approach to choke control, ultimate management, and Jacob "Jake" Lyon's Junkrat play stifles just about every team. Unfortunately, that also leaves the team with some lopsided match results based on the map pool so moving Houston higher in the ranking is difficult.
Route 66 has been the key unfavorable map for Houston so far, but the team is slowly improving and has been able to take a couple wins on it recently, instilling hope in Outlaws fans for the future. If the Outlaws can balance out its offensive approaches and extend its effective map pool, it becomes one of the most dangerous teams in the Overwatch League. Look out if they sneak into Stage 3 playoffs.
7. Philadelphia Fusion
Last week, the Philadelphia Fusion only slid one spot in the power rankings despite dropping two matches. Its first loss was a close 2-3 match to the best team in OWL, the NYXL. The second, against a rising San Francisco Shock, came immediately on the heels of the loss to NY. We gave the Fusion a bit of leeway, since they played back-to-back matches on Thursday and Friday. This week, the Fusion narrowly avoided another 0-2 slide and were lackluster in both series against the Seoul Dynasty and the Shanghai Dragons. The most startling observation about the Fusion is that they just barely squeezed past the Shanghai Dragons, ultimately thanks to a few individual outplays. The Fusion are a much better team than this, and if the Dragons had better coordination, the Fusion's fall would have marked the Dragons' first victory.
8. Seoul Dynasty
During the Seoul Dynasty's ill-fated 0-4 against the NYXL, South Korean caster Jang "AKaros" Ji-su remarked at how passive Seoul's offense seemed, as if they were attacking on defense instead. This summed up a continuing problem for Seoul. While on offense, it often doesn't take advantage of opportunities presented to them. Even with Ryu "Ryujehong" Je-hong back in the starting lineup, Seoul has been hesitant, as if it's waiting for a perfect moment that never comes. In the absence of flex off-tank Kim "Zunba" Joon-hyuk, Koo "Xepher" Jae-mo hasn't coordinated with main tank Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk nearly as well, leaving Seoul's support line open to opponents at times.
9. San Francisco Shock
Stage 3 is the least stratified of the Overwatch League stages thus far. Outside of the top two teams (NYXL and Boston) and the two bottom teams (Dallas and Shanghai) it's conceivable that any of the eight remaining teams could take matches off of each other. The problem with this nebulous middle is consistency. We repeat this week after week, but sometimes it just comes down to evaluating which teams make fewer mistakes. The Shock took a step backwards this week, although it admittedly faced stronger teams in the NYXL and London Spitfire. Unlike Seoul, who seem to have hit a specific wall and are attempting to fix it, all the Shock need is more time to gel as a team. Even in its losses, the Shock had their moments. Park "Architect" Min-ho continues his strong individual start in the OWL and he alongside Dante "Danteh" Cruz make for a fearsome and flexible DPS duo.
10. Florida Mayhem
The Florida Mayhem are another team, like the Shock, who are still adjusting to a new lineup. We've seen other teams -- both LA teams -- improve after roster moves, but some teams need more time than others. Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo gives the team much more flexibility in DPS alongside Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and Kevyn "TviQ" Lindström. Like Shanghai, Florida's support line makes for an easy target for criticism, but as the team continues to come together as a unit with recent arrivals Sayaplayer and main tank Kim "AwesomeGuy" Seong-hoon, some of the positioning problems will be solved.
11. Dallas Fuel
Despite two losses this past week, the Dallas Fuel seemed oddly looser than in previous weeks. With Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon in South Korea for some much-needed rest and no chance at Stage 3 playoffs, the Fuel are now in a position where they can try out different roster permutations before the team regroups for Stage 4. This includes Christian "cocco" Jonsson and Timo "Taimou" Kettunen along with Brandon "Seagull" Larned swapping back to flex DPS rather than flex off-tank. It isn't pretty, and Seagull's on-stream frustrations of how he's been shuffled from role to role to role are certainly valid, yet at this point, the Fuel have little to lose by trying out different lineups and seeing what sticks.
12. Shanghai Dragons
The Dallas Fuel are lucky that they faced the Shanghai Dragons in Week 1. Back then, the Dragons were far more uncoordinated, had only played a few scrims together, hadn't settled on a communication system, and half of the team was likely still jet-lagged. Unfortunately, the lack of a match win means that the Dragons will remain in the last-place spot in this ranking until they pick up a victory. At this point, it's certainly possible that the Dragons will take a map (or two) off of much stronger teams like the NYXL or Spitfire. However, what separates a good team from the rest is a lack of mistakes and the Dragons' play is still rife with basic positioning errors, likely due to miscommunication. They continue to improve and, with this lineup, it's unlikely that they'll go 0-40, but it's looking less probable that their first win will come in Stage 3.