With the Atlanta Homestand wrapped up, the Overwatch League heads into Stage 3 playoffs. The usual suspects are here, but so are the Valiant and Outlaws, looking to make a push with the Sombra meta. In what should be very entertaining first round matches, here’s how The Game Haus crew ranked the eight teams heading into stage playoffs.
(MPD= Map Differential, High is the highest an individual ranked the team, Low is the lowest an individual ranked them, and LW= Last Week’s Power Ranking Position)
1. Vancouver Titans – Record: 20-1 MPD: +54 (High: 1. Low: 2)
A week off during the Atlanta Homestand has given the Titans the chance to focus and improve heading into the final Stage Playoffs of the season. Houston presents a tough stylistic challenge for Vancouver, but they seem refocused after the disappointment of their first regular season loss. The reintegration of Chunghee “Stitch” Lee into the starting lineup gives the Titans an exciting new look as they seek to cement themselves as the league’s top team.
– Bradley Long
2. Hangzhou Spark – Record: 14-7 MPD: +9 (High: 2. Low: 4)
With a week off to focus, recharge and prepare, the Spark are hopefully at their best as they head into playoffs. Their performance this stage allowed them to claim the third seed, meaning that they kick off their journey through the bracket by taking on the Los Angeles Valiant. Hangzhou’s current form and record against the Valiant put them in a good position to move on to semifinals, but they should expect another hard-fought match if they want to ensure they get there.
3. New York Excelsior – Record 19-2 MPD: +46 (High: 1. Low:4)
After Guangzhou defeated the Dragons last week, NYXL are studiously reviewing that match. New York have been an excellent team all season, constantly hanging around the top 4 in these power rankings. With the Dragons also being a top-tier team, losing to a lower valued team means there are weaknesses to their game. NYXL has always been good at exploiting these weaknesses, so they’ll look to do the same here. With this the last chance for any stage playoff glory, NYXL will have to try hard.
– Dalton Jewell
4. San Francisco Shock – Record: 16-5 MPD: +48 (High: 2. Low: 6)
The Shock have looked strong to close out things in Stage 3 but perhaps not as strong as they have looked in the past. Teams like the NYXL have found their stride on Sombra-GOATs as of late and the Shock will need to be ready to deal with that in the playoffs. They got a good draw against Seoul to start things off but after that things could get dicier than normal for San Francisco.
– Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen
5. Los Angeles Valiant – Record 8-13 MPD: -4 (High: 4. Low: 7)
The Valiant secured themselves a nice spot right in the middle of the pack at number 5 in the official seedings of Stage 3, one spot under the Seoul Dynasty. With their current form and the victories they achieved during the stage, though, they look superior to the Dynasty. They have a tough draw against Hangzhou, but having just played in Week 4 they’ll be able to review their match. Hangzhou is cementing their status as a top five team, and the Valiant are looking to put themselves in the top-tier conversation. This is the highlight match of the first round, and these teams should put on quite the show.
– Aaron Gerr
6. Shanghai Dragons – Record: 12-9 MPD: +1 (High: 5. Low: 7)
The Dragons showed once again that adjustments can’t be made on the fly, shown during the Guangzhou rematch. Although they could likely shut down the NYXL in round one with their plethora of DPS compositions, it won’t get them much farther. In a bracket structure that puts them with the highest seed remaining, Shanghai would have to prepare against any of four teams in two days. That doesn’t include finally figuring out who they would play in Round 2 around 21 hours before their match. If Shanghai can get past the NYXL, they’re best option moving forward would be San Francisco, assuming all the top seeds get bounced in Round 1.
– Jacob Renie
7. Seoul Dynasty – Record: 12-9 MPD: +17 (High: 4. Low: 8)
Seoul draws a tough matchup going into the first round of stage playoffs in the Shock. The Shock have experienced growing pains after their golden Stage 2 and playoff victory. Seoul has continued to look great, and with their roster rotations have continued to confound the opposition. Minki “Viol2t” Park’s Zenyatta should be target number one, and with strong Sombra play it’ll be easier to catch him. For once, the stage playoffs are rife for upsets, and the Dynasty are looking to strike their claim.
– Dalton Jewell
8. Houston Outlaws – Record: 8-13 MPD: -14 (High: 6. Low: 8)
Even making the stage playoffs is a massive success for the Outlaws after Stage 2. That’s a good thing, because it’s highly unlikely they get much further. It will probably be more competitive than most Titans games — they’ve looked a little weak in the Sombra-GOATS department that Houston specializes in — but an Outlaws win would be the biggest upset of the quarterfinals. (That said, if they do beat Vancouver, they can probably ride that high all the way to the finals.)
– Rainee Scott
Our voters for OWL Power Rankings: Stage 3 Playoffs: Bradley Long, Kate Shepard, Darby Joyce, Robert Hanes, Katie Gripne, Ethan Cowan-Kazmi, Mallory McMahon, Dalton Jewell, Zach Stenzel, Ethan Seftor, Miranda Rodriguez, Dave Grove, Sam Putney, Aaron Gerr, Sam O’Dwyer, Connor Knudsen, Jake Renie, Rainee Scott, Daron Scott and Brad Killion.