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Overwatch League Power Rankings: Week 3

March 7, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Overwatch League McCree

The first stage of the 2019 Overwatch League is half-way through completion! There’s still a good number of matches in the current stage, but following three weeks of play we have a much stronger idea of where the teams rank against each other. It’s been a wild first three weeks, with bottom teams beating top teams and some of the best teams of last season falling completely apart thus far. We’ve now moved on to the final two weeks and it’s time for another edition of 411’s power rankings.

Note: Due to the number of teams to cover, I’ve decided not to do weekly rankings and am instead covering the beginning of each stage (after week one), mid-stage (after week three) and the end of the stage (after week five).

20. Washington Justice

Record: 0-4
Map Differential: -9
Last Rankings: 18 (-2)
Matches Left: Seoul Dynasty (2-3), Florida Mayhem (1-4)

After rising a couple of spots last rankings, the Justice have sunk back to the cellar. There’s no way to get around the fact that more often than not, this team looks lost out there when they engage with their opponents. The League’s stats spell it out pretty damningly: when Washington is the first to lost a player in a team fight, they’re losing 95% of their team fights. Janus’ aggressive attempts at pins are not working enough for the team to hold water and they got crushed by a returning-to-form London, a somewhat-weaked Fusion roster and a dominant Shock. The final two weeks of the stage see them going up against a couple of less-strong teams compared to the last couple of weeks, but they’re going to have to completely change something if they want to pick up their elusive first win by the end of the stage.

19. Florida Mayhem

Record: 1-4
Map Differential: -7
Last Rankings: 20 (+1)
Matches Left: Boston Uprising (2-3), Washington Justice (0-4)

The Mayhem have managed to pick up a win, which puts them ahead of the Justice in the mid-stage rankings. And what a win it was, as they beat the Fusion who were ranked #1 in the post-week one rankings. However, it must be noted that the Fusion was down one of their key players in Boombox. And it’s looked pretty dire for them otherwise. They got caught trying to play Chendgu’s game against them to no success. They looked better against the Charge and took that one to five maps, but the Outlaws pretty much rolled them. The Mayhem still has a pretty solid chance to pick up another win or two, as they face an inconsistent Uprising and what should in theory be a very winnable match against the Justice. Things definitely look better than they did a couple of weeks ago for the Mayhem, but it’s still on them to prove they belong higher than the bottom two.

18. Los Angeles Valiant

Record: 0-5
Map Differential: -7
Last Rankings: 9 (-9)
Matches Left: Philadelphia Fusion (3-2), Houston Outlaws (2-3)

The utter failure of the Los Angeles Valiant is the most shocking story of Overwatch League 2019 so far. The team that won the Pacific Division in 2018 and has a talented lineup has come out week after week and looked less and less organized. There is a caveat in that, which is that they’ve had a hard schedule. The New York XL, Hangzhou Spark, and Vancouver Titans are not easy teams to defeat. But their matches against the Charge and the Defiant should have been winnable, if they had just not seemed completely off their game. Kuki’s Lucio play has been a disappointment and the fact that Custa — the team captain — has barely subbed in for Kuki is head-scratching. I feel like there’s something deeper to this story, but the point is that they have a very real chance of ending the stage winless if they don’t at least get it together in time to face the Outlaws.

17. Houston Outlaws

Record: 2-3
Map Differential: -2
Last Rankings: 19 (+2)
Matches Left: Los Angeles Valiant (0-5), Atlanta Reign (3-1)

The Outlaws are looking in a slightly better spot in the Power Rankings at mid-stage, but there’s still a lot of problems here. There have been bright spots, in particular their win over the Hangzhou Spark where they looked strong. But the Outlaws have been very streaky overall and as has been typical for them, when the meta is not in their favor they don’t do well. Their other win was basically a gimme against the Florida Mayhem that was more about the Mayhem’s failure than the Outlaws’ win. They still have a chance to end the stage at 3-4 if they can beat the Valiant before a very, very tough test in the Reign. A winning record for the stage seems very unlikely though.

16. Boston Uprising

Record: 2-3
Map Differential: -2
Last Rankings: 15 (-1)
Matches Left: Florida Mayhem (1-4), Dallas Fuel (3-2)

The Uprising’s biggest story over the last couple of weeks is that they were the first team in Overwatch League history to lose to the Shanghai Dragons. Let’s not hold that too much against them, though; the Dragons are actually a solid team this year. The bigger problem for the Uprising is that everytime they score an upset win, they follow up by losing a game that they could have won. Beating the Seoul Dynasty was a cap in their feather considering how the stage has gone, but then they turned around and basically defeated themselves against the Defiant. I expect them to go 3-4 by the end of the stage, but the way things have been going that could easily be because they lose to the Mayhem and then beat the Fuel, not the other way around.

15. Chengdu Hunters

Record: 2-2
Map Differential: -6
Last Rankings: 14 (-1)
Matches Left: Toronto Defiant (3-2), Vancouver Titans (4-0), Atlanta Reign (3-1)

Chengdu is a team that isn’t quite as good as their record. 2-2 sounds pretty solid, until you realize that they’ve pulled off their wins largely because the Charge and Mayhem made the mistake of trying to play the Hunter’s own game against them. The Hunters can’t play GOATS well, so they’re relying on their main tank Ameng playing Wrecking Ball and doing stuff that the other teams don’t expect. That worked well enough for a couple of wins, but the problem is that teams are figuring out how to play against the Hunters. By the end of the stage, their record is likely to be more reflective of how good they are — especially since they’re playing three good teams in the Defiant, the Titans and the Reign. They are overperforming compared to expectations, but they’re still a lower-tier teams in the league.

14. Los Angeles Gladiators

Record: 1-4
Map Differential: -5
Last Rankings: 8 (-6)
Matches Left: Atlanta Reign (3-1), Guangzhou Charge (3-2)

Between the Valiant and the Gladiators, I’d ask what the hell is happening in Los Angeles if the entire league wasn’t still playing in L.A. Regardless, you get the point. The Gladiators are certainly not in as rough a spot as the Valiant, and coversely to the Chendgu Hunters this is a team that is better than their record suggests. Like the Valiant, the Gladiators have had a very tough schedule so far. Their losses have come against Seoul, Paris, a resurging London, and Hangzhou, all of which performed quite well against in their matches against L.A. And their win against the Shock was impressive. Still, there are massive problems on this team. rOar and Decay have not gelled efficiently enough as a tankline, which is a big problem in the triple tank/triple support meta. The team will see support player Ripa back at last, but he hasn’t had time to develop with the team. Their upcoming matches are winnable, but tough in the Reign and the Charge. The Gladiators have a long way to go before they look like the caliber of team they were last season.

13. Shanghai Dragons

Record: 2-3
Map Differential: -1
Last Rankings: 17 (+4)
Matches Left: Dallas Fuel (3-2), London Spitfire (3-2)

The Shanghai Dragons’ year-plus long nightmare is over, as in week two they finally broke their winless streak. Sure, that was always expected to happen in stage one, as this isn’t the same team that went 0-40 last year. But the fact is, they didn’t just win against the Uprising. They looked like a legitimately good Overwatch League team against Boston. DDing has become their star DPS player, with some of the most impressive Sombra play from any player this year so far. The Dragons then followed that win up with their second win and first sweep, wiping the floor with the Chendgu Hunters before losing a tough fight to Dallas. The only question from here is whether they can get into the stage playoffs, which will be a real test for them. They have a chance for revenge against the Fuel that is winnable, but they will also have to beat the Spifire. It’s possible, but it will require them coming together and making few mistakes in both their matches.

12. Dallas Fuel

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: -3
Last Rankings: 12 (+0)
Matches Left: Shanghai Dragons (2-3), Boston Uprising (2-3)

While the Fuel didn’t gain ground in the rankings this week, that’s not because they didn’t look better than after week one. Dallas has been slowly putting the pieces in the right places; it’s simply that the teams above them have also been improving, sometimes at a faster rate. Dallas had a couple wins where they looked solid, taking down the Fusion in four games and the Dragons in five. But the Fusion have been without one of their key players and the Dragons pushed the Fuel to the limit. Meanwhile, they’ve been wrecked by the Shock and the Guangzhou Charge in this stage. That latter one hurt because it’s a game they should have won. Still, the Fuel have a decent schedule to close out the stage and should be able to put together at least one win and perhaps both of them, the latter of which would pretty much guarantee them a spot in the stage playoffs. The Fuel are still a mid-tier team, but they’re a solid mid-tier team.

11. Guangzhou Charge

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: 5
Last Rankings: 16 (+5)
Matches Left: Los Angeles Gladiators (1-4), Vancouver Titans (4-0)

The Charge have looked great over the past couple weeks, enough so that there are a few people I feel are overrating them a touch. Not that I can blame them, mind. Guangzhou put together a 2-0 week three and are looking possible for a berth in the stage playoffs. But you also have to consider that those wins came against the hapless L.A. Valiant and the Florida Mayhem. Their loss is actually more impressive, as they managed to take the Vancouver Titans to five maps. The Charge is a team that is performing far better than people thought and better than perhaps they should be, and they will have to be careful if they don’t want to get caught sleeping against a Gladiators team that needs a win. Their second match against the Titans will almost certainly be a loss unless something goes wrong in Vancouver, but a winning record is doable for the stage.

10. Seoul Dynasty

Record: 2-3
Map Differential: +0
Last Rankings: 10 (+0)
Matches Left: Washington Justice (0-4), London Spitfire (3-2)

The Dynasty remain in a holding pattern as their performance over the last two weeks has been strictly middle of the road. They looked great against Chendgu in week two, but then they got beat in a close match against Boston and the New York Excelsior handily destroyed them. Basically, with the possible exception of the Uprising the Dynasty has been exactly the team we expected them to be: they’re stronger than season one thanks to Fissure, but he didn’t fix all of their issues. The rest of this stage will be essential for them, as they have an easy match against the Justice and then a much closer test in the London Spitfire. How they perform against the latter will show us who the Dynasty are in season two at last.

9. London Spitfire

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: 0
Last Rankings: 13 (+4)
Matches Left: Shanghai Dragons (2-3), Seoul Dynasty (3-2)

The Spitfire have finally decided to play some Overwatch and they’ve gone 3-0 since their winless first week. London still has a lot of problems going on, and that’s evident by the way that they got taken to five maps by the Justice in week two. (They looked particularly abysmal on Busan). Gesture’s Reinhardt play leaves something to be desired, and Birdring has been very shaky. Fortunately for London fans, Profit has come in to replace Birdring and it’s been much smoother sailing from there. London has two very winnable matches to close out the stage, but Shanghai and Seoul are not teams that they can sleep on or they could end up 3-4 and missing out on the stage playoffs.

8. Toronto Defiant

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: 0
Last Rankings: 11 (+3)
Matches Left: Chendgu Hunters (2-2), Hangzhou Spark (3-3)

The Defiant have been one of the more pleasant surprises in stage one, rising well above where most people expected them to do. Toronto’s biggest strength thus far is that they’ve gelled as a team quicker than expected. That’s allowed them to put together a winning record, albeit against a somewhat weaker schedule than the other hiegher-ranked teams. The Defiant beat the slumping Valiant and the Uprising, but also looked solid against the unstoppable Excelsior. It’s hard to really put a finger on exactly where they are as a team right now, but if they can get two very winnable matches against the Hunters and the Spark, they will have made their stake for one of the top expansion teams in the early part of the season.

7. Hangzhou Spark

Record: 3-3
Map Differential: -1
Last Rankings: 2 (-5)
Matches Left: Toronto Defiant (3-2)

The Spark started off incredibly strong, but then came down to Earth over the last couple of weeks with a 1-3 record that brought them to an even .500. What worked for the Spark early in the season was a fairly easy schedule, but things quickly turned around and threy dropped three straight matches to the Outlaws, the Spitfire and the Shock. The Spark’s biggest problem seems to be that they aren’t confident in their choices during fights. Their Ultimate usage could vbbery charitably be called spotty; they will use eszsential Ults at times and then not commit to the fight. They looked much better against the Gladiators on Sunday, but they only have one more match this stage and even a 4-0 sweep will leave them in an uncertain spot for the stage playoffs due to their poor map differential. The Spark’s goals should lie in finishing off stage one with a win and then looking ahead to fixing their confidence issues for stage two.

6. Philadelphia Fusion

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: +2
Last Rankings: 1 (-5)
Matches Left: Atlanta Reign (3-1), Paris Eternal (2-1)

There’s no nice way to say it: the Fusion went from a spotless team in week one to a very iffy team in week two. The season one runner-ups got beat by one of the worst teams in the league in the Florida Mayhem, then got rolled by the Fuel that same week. Things were better in week three, but that was against the Washington Justice so we don’t really have a good picture on whether that was the Fusion being back to form. There are ceveats here, in that Boombox was out of action due to being sick. But there are some questionable decisions such as leaving Fragi out when he’s a far better Reinhardt than SADO has shown. The final two matches of the season will be difficult for them, but if Boombox comes back back and they look more like the week one Fusion they’ll be in good shape.

5. Paris Eternal

Record: 2-1
Map Differential: -1
Last Rankings: 6 (+1)
Matches Left: Vacouver Titans (4-0), San Francisco Shock (3-2), Washington Justice (0-4), Philadelphia Fusion (3-2)

The Paris Eternal have looked like one of the strongest new teams in the league for the first couple of weeks, proving that their skill with the GOATS comp was legitimate. The team won in big fashion against the Spitfire and then defeated the Gladiators in a closer fight, before they took on the Reign last week. That fight proved that there were some chinks in Paris’ armor. The Reign quickly figured out how to beat the Eternal and Paris had a few significant unforced errors that badly cost them, leading to a 4-0 sweep from Atlanta. The biggest part of Paris’ story is that no one has seen much of them yet, azs they have had only one match a week. The next two weeks will be game changers as they have a very difficult week four against the Titans and Shock, then a much easier week against the Justice and Fusion. The Eternal could end up anywhere along the standings by the time the stage is done, but for now they look strong.

4. Atlanta Reign

Record: 3-1
Map Differential: +9
Last Rankings: 6 (+2)
Matches Left: Los Angeles Gladiators (1-4), Chendgu Hunters (2-2), Houston Outlaws (2-3)

If you had told me that the Atlanta Reign would be one of the top teams in stage one, I…frankly wouldn’t have been completely surprised. Sure, I started them in the middle of the pack but that was because of the dafran question. The team’s star DPS player has proven to be up to the challenge of the Overwatch League thus far, has has the rest of the team. It must be said that the Reign schedule has been fairly easy. Week one was against the Mayhem and the Fusion (the latter of which was their one loss) before they picked up wins against the stronger Defiant and Eternal. Better yet, they have a very weak schedule in the final two weeks against the Gladiators, Hunters and Outlaws. It would take a pretty impressive implosion for the Reign to miss out on the stage playoffs at this point.

3. San Francisco Shock

Record: 3-2
Map Differential: +7
Last Rankings: 5 (+2)
Matches Left: News York Excelsior (6-0), Paris Eternal (2-1)

Some people expected the Shock to be the top team coming into the season. Even as an admitted fan of the team, I didn’t expect that much for them. The Shock are a DPS-heavy team and while Sinaatra has been doing expectedly well in his Zarya play, they don’t have the GOATS-heavy lineup that other teams have. Thus far, they’ve acquitted themselves well and held onto their top spot. The team works well together, often to the detriment of individual stats — Super in particular looks bad when you look at his stats, but that’s because the Shock aren’t afraid to sacrifice him to get an advantage. Sinaatra needs to fix some positioning errors that have cost them at least a few maps, and those could have been the different between their 3-2 record and a much better one. The next two weeks are hard ones, but if they can get at least one win their map differential should secure them their first stage playoff berth.

2. Vancouver Titans

Record: 4-0
Map Differential: +9
Last Rankings: 4 (+2)
Matches Left: Paris Eternal (2-1), Chengdu Hunters (2-2), Guangzhou Charge (2-2)

The Titans were so strongly hyped coming into the season that some experts ended up sleeping on them as a bit overrated. They’ve proven all their doubters wrong so far, proving absolutely dominant in the first three weeks with a perfect 4-0 record. They’ve been challenged to be sure; the Charge took them to five maps and the Shock looked really strong against them even in a 3-1 loss. But as of now, they’ve proven to be entirely up to the challenge. The Titans have a pretty chill schedule for the remainder of the stage; their biggest challenge is the Eternal. As long as they maintain their GOATS excellence — one of the best in the league — they should be able to finish out the stage very strong.

1. New York Excelsior

Record: 6-0
Map Differential: +10
Last Rankings: 1 (+2)
Matches Left: San Francisco Shock (3-2)

It’s impossible to deny that the New York Excelsior are the strongest team in the league. Standings don’t necessarily correlate to power rankings positions, but when you’ve won all your games, only have one left for the stage and have already qualified for the playoffs, there isn’t a lot of debate about whether you deserve #1. The NYXL have done a nice job of adapting to the meta, finding ways to let JJonak pop off even in a meta that doesn’t reward individual performance as much. Their perfect record isn’t assured, as the Shock could be a hell of a challenge considering their aggressive style. But either way, they are without question the strongest team in the league right now.

There’s our rankings for this week! You can watch the week four games starting today at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT at Twitch.tv/OverwatchLeague, or watch the Toronto Defiant vs. Chengdu Hunters match starting at 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT on Disney XD.

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Overwatch League, Jeremy Thomas