ESTNN's Cole Ricke takes fans through the OWL Power Rankings before the start of the Stage 3 Playoffs.
The Overwatch League kicks off the Stage 3 Playoffs this week, and ESTNN is here with our updated power rankings.
OWL Stage 3 Playoff Power Rankings
1. Vancouver Titans
This one isn’t a surprise. Vancouver's dominance has been apparent since they came into the League at the start of this Season. There isn’t a ton to say here; not much has changed. However, with Stage 4 role lock all but guaranteed, it will be interesting to see how this team adapts. Hopefully fans will be able to see the likes of Haksal’s Genji and DPS play in general that the Titans are able to pull off.
2. New York Excelsior
The Excelsior are not undefeated, nor do they seem as unbeatable like the Titans. However, they might as well be for lower-tier teams. The New York representatives of the OWL give no mercy to their opponents, infrequently dropping maps and frequently having a stranglehold on games. That said, they have stumbled a few times, specifically against the Atlanta Reign. This is barely cause for worry, however. The Excelsior look fine otherwise, and have a strong chance to make it to a match against the Titans going into playoffs.
3. Hangzhou Spark
This team has consistently improved throughout the season, and has 100 percent earned this spot. The skill from players like Xu “Guxue” Qiulin and Kim “Godsb” Kyeong-bo has consistently shown time and time again to lead to a commanding record going into playoffs. Honestly, the L.A. Valiant have a chance to beat them, but it’s incredibly small because of how few mistakes the Spark make. The Spark have corrected each of their mistakes throughout their stay in Burbank, and it seems they have very few left to clean up. Simply put, the Spark are electrifying.
4. San Francisco Shock
On the other end of things, the Shock have deteriorated from their once dominant position to a contender for top three. Whether it be other teams catching up, or San Francisco simply becoming complacent, the once top-California representative is now fighting to keep their reputation from falling further. Look for Matthew “super” Delisi to either make it or break in the playoffs, and fans must keep one thing in mind. If San Francisco falters here, how will they fare in a meta that they couldn’t perform in just a season ago?
5. Seoul Dynasty
With the Fissure-defined period of the team’s history behind them, the Dynasty have proven they are just as capable a team without him. His replacement, Min-seo “Marve1” Hwang, has grown into the role, leading the team into a very Lunatic Hai looking stage, doing extremely well and looking poised to do damage in the playoffs. While a stage win is looking unlikely, a few lucky maps could result in at least a finals appearance.
6. L.A. Valiant
The only team to take a win off of the Vancouver Titans, the Valiant are no longer the same team they were. New pickups and a refreshed roster featuring the return of a favorite Australian player means the team was able to make Los Angeles proud. While they have a long road ahead of them, the team is committed to making this postseason run more than just luck. They’re hungry for wins, and they might just get it.
7. Houston Outlaws
Speaking of surprise turn arounds, the Outlaws! A team that, just a stage before, had one of the most disappointing performances has made playoffs off of some of the best Sombra play the league has ever seen. While it will most likely result in not much more than that, the team has to be feeling proud of the achievement. Will that stop them from making it further? We’ll have to see.
8. Shanghai Dragons
Barely eeking their way into playoffs with a fairly easy last game, the Dragons are looking just a tad weaker than the last stage. With their first match against the New York Excelsior, the Dragons will have to be content with a Stage Playoff appearance. Without consistent star-like performances from more than just the DPS players, the team simply doesn’t have what it takes to beat the Excelsior.
9. Chengdu Hunters
The Chengdu Hunters are quite the team. They were the innovators of the league this stage. They often looked both unable and unwilling to play to the GOATS meta. That said, led by Ameng’s mass improvement in Reinhardt play, the team looked capable on it near the end of the stage. While it ultimately won’t matter, having a talented player like Ameng learn to play Reinhardt on the same level as his Wrecking Ball means the front line of this team becomes scarier each week.
10. L.A. Gladiators
The Gladiators seem to have misstepped on their way to Stage 4, and as a result missed the stage playoffs because of it. Whether it be some inconsistent performances from Roar or the team looking weaker and weaker on anything that isn’t Bunker, the Gladiators started to become vulnerable to lower teams, exposing weaknesses in the lineup and resulting in a 4-3 finish. Going forward next stage, however, the Gladiators have one last chance to prove they are still in the top four discussion.
11. Philadelphia Fusion
The Fusion are a team that are well set up for the future. The 2nd place finishers in the Inaugural Season have a star DPS duo and a good support lineup. The only thing that may need reinforcement is the tank lineup. The Fusion’s missteps have primarily stemmed from the front line, and if that can be improved or rectified, the team is easily back into top 10 and possibly even in the top eight in Stage 4.
12. London Spitfire
Like the Fusion, London is looking forward to Stage 4 and role lock, where their very own DPS duo can finally shine once again. The ability to pop off on these characters is much easier and their impact will be felt more in a match, something the team desperately needs. Look for the London representatives to be one of the teams that come back on top in the next stage.
13. Paris Eternal
Since the Eternal’s last game was a week ago against Seoul, there isn’t a ton to say about Paris. Like most of the teams missing playoffs and not attending the Atlanta Homestand, Paris is preparing for the next stage. The only consideration for this team to watch out for is a potential return of George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha to the active lineup for Genji in dive compositions and Pharah in standard 2/2/2.
14. Guangzhou Charge
The Charge took a game off of the Dragons last week, and it was probably the best match of the entire Homestand. The back and forth Widowmaker duels were both a highlight and a treat, and it gave hope to Charge fans that their team could compete with upper tier teams when the return of DPS is forced next stage.
15. Dallas Fuel
There’s really one word to describe this stage for Dallas -- yikes. The team went 5-2 last stage and subsequently went 1-6 this stage. The team attempted to stem the bleeding by bringing in a new main tank, but that did little to remedy the team's problems. Whether it be subpar DPS play, failing to protect their supports or the front line being simply overrun, the Fuel have a lot to work on.
16. Atlanta Reign
The Reign played two of the worst teams in the league during their Homestand, and it served to pad their stats and gifted a good weekend to both them and their fans. The team still has a lot of issues, but at least they proved they belong no lower than number 16. There are a ton of questions surrounding this team going into next stage, and they are one of the harder teams to predict how well they’ll adapt. That said, odds are there won't be much of a change for the OWL's Atlanta representatives.
17. Boston Uprising
Also finishing 1-6, the Uprising are the lovable underdogs of the league. Interestingly, they're really, really good at reverse sweeps; they have the most of them out of any team in the league. However, Boston simply can't compete with any teams in the league in a normal game. They aren’t well set up for the next stage either, so it will be interesting to see if the team tries anything out of left field next stage.
18. Florida Mayhem
Florida fans must be disappointed. In a short six months, they've gone from having a disappointing European roster to a disappointing Korean roster. At least the European roster had personality, but the new roster not only seems thrown together, but they also have neigh terrible teamwork. The highlight of the team is obviously Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha, but even he can’t carry a team like the Mayhem.
19. Toronto Defiant
Everyone can agree, this team was disappointing. However, major props must be given to the management of the Toronto Defiant. They recognized that the stage is over, and immediately started preparing for the next one. Their DPS players and a new tank lineup set them up for the best chance to succeed in Stage 4. Toronto is my most wild prediction for improvement, and I can say I think they’ll teeter between 10 to 11 place for most of the next stage.
20. Washington Justice
On the other end of things, a team that can’t succeed in any meta, and refuses to adapt inside of and outside of games. The Justice have won two games all season, and there is a high chance that it either stays the same or goes up to three or four, but it surely won't go any higher than that. This team is the biggest failure in all of the League, and is basically the Shanghai Dragons of the second season, but without the lovable underdog story.
Images VIA: Robert Paul and Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment