Stage 2 has begun, and with it, a chance for us to get into the Overwatch League power ranking game even more than we already have! After a week’s worth of new games in a new meta, we’re ready to talk about the good, the bad and the Mayhem. Hope you’re ready…
20. Florida Mayhem (0-2, -3)
Adages like “They’re not running on all cylinders” don’t really cut it when you’re looking at the Florida Mayhem. It’s more like several of the cylinders have been outright removed, the crankshaft is cracked in three places and the oil needed changing 1000 miles ago. (Those are all bad things, by the by.)
Florida needs help. Their graphics are the best thing about the team by a country mile, their Roster Update release that failed to acknowledge TviQ, Apply or McGravy by name was… alarming, and a second system overhaul doesn’t look like it will bear any fruit any time soon. If they can’t right the ship and get a win against Paris (which kind of looks like the only potentially close match they’ll have all stage,) we may be in for another changing of the guard.
19. LA Valiant (0-1, -4)
To be 100% fair to the Valiant, a 4-0 thrashing from San Francisco doesn’t tell us much about the team’s changes coming into Stage 2. Custa is back, Packing10 is at the helm and the team is doing its best to adapt to this weird, half-new meta we’ve got going on right now. I’m willing to hold onto some hope – just not a lot of hope.
Games against Atlanta and Washington could be LA’s chance for a W, but you have to imagine that other squads are prepping for the Valiant the same way they did for Shanghai last season. “Sure, don’t take them seriously… but there’s no way in hell we’ll be their first win.”
That’s a rough spot to be in. Good luck, LA.
18. Guangzhou Charge (0-2, -8)
Guangzhou are set for a rough Stage 2 in general. After Paris and San Francisco pulled out the brooms on them in Week 1, the Charge have a chance to rally against… San Francisco again. And then the Gladiators. Oh dear. Here’s hoping they can figure things out to round out their last three games against Hangzhou, Atlanta, or Houston. Otherwise…
17. Washington Justice (0-2, -4)
Washington are far from being out of the woods in any sense of the phrase, but they certainly looked better this week than they have in weeks prior! (Well, mostly against Chengdu.)
The Justice could find an interesting and unexpected niche for themselves if they play their cards right. With ArK running things on stage, and with the mechanical ability of Corey and Ado, Washington could themselves become the next big-brain team of misfits and ne’er-do-wells (a la the Hunters, who they kept pace with quite well on Sunday). That’s easier said than done, of course – we saw lots of great individual performances from the Justice in Week 1, but those all need to come together before Kate runs out of trash talk ammunition. Or cheese.
16. Paris Eternal (1-1, 0)
It’s hard to know what to think about Paris just yet. Ultimately, they’ve landed here because a sweep against Guangzhou doesn’t tell us much – while a sweep from Chengdu tells us a good deal. Washington held Chengdu closer than Paris did. A middling schedule could get the Eternal closer to a potential top-8 berth, but they’ll need to sharpen up against the likes of London, Toronto, and Dallas if they want any real shot.
Admittedly, it’s been a treat seeing more of the Eternal on stage – LHCloudy, Greyy and Danye deserve their time in the sun!
15. Houston Outlaws (0-0, 0)
While putting the Outlaws this low without seeing anything from them may seem harsh, they likely won’t stay here for very long. A flexible DPS meta with room for snipers and projectile heroes probably suits Houston just fine, but there’s more to any team’s success than their ability to understand the meta. The Outlaws will need to shore up some weak points to make another playoff push this Stage, but I’ve seen weirder things happen. If they can stay Texas Hard and make the most of their support line’s strengths, they’ve got a shot to push into the top 10 at least. Exciting stuff.
14. Hangzhou Spark (0-1, -4)
Much like the Valiant, games against Vancouver don’t always tell us as much as we might like about a team’s chances. That said, Hangzhou put up a decent fight over the course of the series, and look like they could give some of the teams below and around them some trouble as we move into the stage.
Their schedule for the stage is pretty rough, though – games against Boston, San Francisco, Chengdu and Seoul mean they’ll need to get this ship back on course ASAP. Wins against Paris and Guangzhou seem likely at this point, but they’re far from guaranteed. At least we’ll get some great art out of the deal.
13. Atlanta Reign (0-2, -5)
Look, Atlanta had a bad week. There’s no two ways about it. Boston activated their usual voodoo to keep their reverse sweep streak alive (there’s a new sentence), and London look like they’ve remembered how to play the game just in time to make a case for a Stage 2 playoff run. Plus, Fury had the game of his life. With new blood being filtered in, it’s not surprising that the Reign are taking a little trip on the struggle bus right now.
That said, BABYBAY and FRD (pronounced fried, not “Eff Arr Dee”, by the way) are holding their own despite no shortage of rust and inexperience, respectively. A few more weeks of polish could bring ATL back from the brink – but they need to move fast. If they can’t get their momentum sorted in their games against the Valiant and Washington, they certainly won’t have a chance when they play New York later on in the stage. Twice.
12. Shanghai Dragons (0-2, -5)
Shanghai are keeping things close against top 5 teams, which is the only reason they’re not below Paris right now (though you could certainly make that case if you’re looking purely at scorelines). It looks like Shanghai needs a bit more time to figure things out this stage, but that might be easier said than done – their next game against Chengdu means they need to activate that chaotic frog-queen energy fast.
After that, they’ve got an easier time of things (versus Florida, Houston and Washington) before finishing their stage against San Francisco. Gulp.
11. Philadelphia Fusion (1-1, -2)
Starting the stage against New York is never fun. Philly looks like a team that’s trying to figure out the new meta (unsurprising, given their proclivity to flex onto all things new, weird and different), but they need a little more time to really get things down.
A productive week in the trenches could bear interesting fruit against Toronto and London next week, but their schedule doesn’t get much easier from there – after playing two likely playoff contenders in Week 2, the Fusion are looking at two of their last three games (against New York and San Francisco) with some trepidation. Week 2 is do-or-die week for Philly. They might not get many other chances.
[Related: An Interview with Carpe]
10. Toronto Defiant (1-1, +1)
Much like Atlanta, Toronto were hit with that weird Boston voodoo in their loss on Saturday. They looked strong enough throughout, of course, as they did in their 3-1 vs Washington to start off the week – they’re just gonna need a lot more juice to get through the stage with any hope for playoffs.
The schedule gods have not smiled upon the Defiant this stage. If they can take down Philly and Dallas in their next two, they could theoretically ride out their games vs Vancouver and San Francisco before pulling their fourth W from Paris to stay in the post-season hunt. Thing is, Philly and Dallas aren’t about to roll over and give Toronto those wins. They kinda want those for themselves. This stage will probably be decided for Toronto by next Saturday – for better or for worse.
9. Dallas Fuel (0-0, 0)
Dallas has a slightly better shot at playoffs than they did last stage (a set of hometown games against easy opponents sounds like fun), but they’ll need to show up against tougher opponents to really earn their spot.
Their games against Toronto, Vancouver and Seoul will show us if they’re pushing for the post-season because of their strength of schedule, or because of actual merit. Let’s hope they can put all those coaches to work on learning this meta – and get ZachaREEE out of Brig jail. (Please?)
8. London Spitfire (2-0, +5)
Now here’s a meta built for the Spitfire. Their 3-3 is still less than perfect, but when you have the option to throw Profit and Birdring on some proper DPS heroes, the field really opens up for London. After a way-too-close game against Florida, the team leaned into their damage dealers and gave the Reign a proper lashing. Now the real fun begins.
Games against Philly, Boston, Paris, Chengdu and Houston should yield enough wins to get them in the playoff conversation by default. However, there’s no way this team will be content with a 4-3 record, or anything close. They’ll be out for blood in their next two matches, with dreams of an early lock into the stage post-season. Lord Jeff preserve us if they maintain this momentum all through the stage. Do you think you can handle three undefeated teams in a stage duking it out?
7. Boston Uprising (2-0, +2)
HuK has started making blood sacrifices. I can’t think of any other reason the Uprising have been able to reverse sweep their last three opponents. Unless it’s Fusions? Or Colourhex? Or rCk? Maybe some healthy mix of the three, paired with solid team cohesion and a thrice-proven coaching staff? No, that would make way too much sense. Blood sacrifice it is.
[Related: An Interview with Fusions (that is not about blood sacrifices)]
6. Seoul Dynasty (0-1, -1)
This isn’t the scoreline you’re looking for. You don’t need to see our identification. Move along.
(Seriously though, a nail-biter of a series against the Gladiators and some impressive performances across the board signal good things for Seoul. Fits needs to sharpen up a bit, but he wasn’t bad by any stretch. I do miss Fleta, though. I hear his Widowmaker is pretty good.)
5. Chengdu Hunters (2-0, +6)
Ah, yes. Here’s where everyone predicted Chengdu to be all those weeks ago – third in the stage, and tenth overall. Yep! Definitely what everyone predicted!
The Hunters have been an absolute delight to watch. It’s been a long time since a team has so drastically forced their opponents to adapt and overcome their strategies – though the last time a team did that, they created an inadvisably long meta cycle for 90% of the pro-level player base. Hmm. Let’s try and avoid that this time…
Chengdu’s schedule means we’ll see just how well their chaos factor will hold sway over top-tier teams. With games against Hangzhou and the Valiant coming up, a playoff spot seems likely… but wins against Shanghai, London or the Gladiators would really seal the deal.
[Related: Chengdu Round Table Interview]
4. Los Angeles Gladiators (2-0, +3)
I’ll hop on the Gladiators’ hype train, sure. It’s good to see one of the LA teams holding their own, and this meta looks perfect for a team with plenty of flexible DPS players – as we’ve said for London and Chengdu already. We can expect the Gladiators to have plenty to say regarding where the meta goes next as they sort things out in games against Guangzhou, the Valiant, and Florida. If Hydration has his way, Doomfist will definitely be involved. A scary thought for anyone not wearing purple.
3. New York Excelsior (2-0, +7)
New York is a good team. They play Washington, Florida, Philly and then Atlanta twice. See you in playoffs.
2. San Francisco Shock (2-0, +8)
San Francisco needed this kind of start. We can expect the Shock to play angry all stage long – there’s probably a dart board with Bumper’s face on it in their dugout, for all we know – and that’s gonna make for some interesting games. If their last four opponents (Toronto, Hangzhou, Philly and Shanghai) can’t keep up, we could be looking at a very interesting playoff picture. And a lot of teabagging.
[Related: Playoff Press Conference Grab Bag with the San Francisco Shock]
1. Vancouver Titans (1-0, +4)
[Read first: An Interview with JJANU]
The Titans played with their food for most of their series against Hangzhou last weekend, and it was frankly a little unsettling. The idea that any team can break completion time records, throw their main tank onto Hanzo, fool around for a few minutes, then switch to GOATS and get back to crushing someone should scare… everyone. (Though I will point out that Sideshow is correct in saying that Bumper on DPS is not a deliberate troll pick. Sideshow on DPS, however, definitely is. #LetBrenPlayGenji)
Sideshow on dps is not a troll comp.
Bren is their best Hammond (also first player ever to use it in pro play) and doesn't play DPS well afaik, so they run Sideshow on Hanzo/Pharah etc.
He ain't good but it ain't a troll. Played on Hanamura & King's Row. Expect more of it.
— Brandon Padilla (@thibbledorkk) April 7, 2019
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.