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Esports Overwatch

Overwatch League Power Rankings: Season 2 Pre-Stage 2

The Overwatch League is about to start Stage 2. With the Vancouver Titans becoming champions of Stage 1, all eyes will be looking for a Vancouver and New York final. A lot of teams are looking to prove their stage playoffs weren’t a fluke, and others are looking to turn a new leaf and begin playing meaningful matches. With a possible meta change in the works, here’s a look at how TGH ranked the teams heading into Stage 2 Week 1.

(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: 7-0 MPD: +18 (High: 1. Low: 2. LW: T1st)

A perfect 7-0 record, a Stage 1 Championship and now the undisputed top spot in the power rankings entering Stage 2 – the achievements keep piling up for the Vancouver Titans. The dream start to their OWL run puts a huge target on the backs of the Titans – no more underdog narratives for this team. With a new meta in the cards for Stage 2, how will Vancouver handle the rest of the league nipping at their heels?

– Bradley Long

2. New York Excelsior – Record 7-0 MPD: +16 (High: 1. Low: 3. LW: T1st)

After a disappointing performance in the semi-finals of Stage 1, the Excelsior need to come back with a vengeance to reclaim their title as “best in the league” in Stage 2. It’s easy to discount them and say that their performances in playoffs wreck their credibility, but if last season is any indication of how this stage will go, Stage 2 will be New York’s. With potential changes in the meta, NYXL may have opportunities to show off old fan-favorites and bring new talent to the table. It’s all about how well they can adapt, especially right now that the state of the meta is so fluid and uncertain.

– Miranda Rodriguez

3. San Francisco Shock – Record: 4-3 MPD: +5 (High: 2. Low: 6. LW: 3th)

Overwatch League
Image Courtesy of Liquipedia

The San Francisco Shock lived up to their talent pool, pushing the Titans to a winner-take-all game seven. It was a showcase of talent on both sides, but extra props go to Hyobin “ChoiHyoBin: Choi, Matthew “super” DeLisi and Minki “Viol2t” Park. With this core, the Shock are a top 5 team, and they should be challenging for more Stage titles throughout the season. It took them a little while to adjust to playing GOATS against other top teams, so hopefully a potential shift in the meta won’t slow them down. Their first week has them facing the LA Valiant and Guangzhou Charge, two teams that should be wins but are looking to be better than they were.

– Dalton Jewell

4. Philadelphia Fusion – Record: 5-2 MPD: +5 (High: 4. Low: 12. LW: 4th)

The Philadelphia Fusion had an interesting first stage. Although they started off strong in their first week, Philly baffled fans after suffering an embarrassing defeat against the Florida Mayhem. Many seem to be fixating on the Fusion’s loss against the Mayhem, but make no mistake: the Philadelphia Fusion are a strong team, and definitely earned their playoffs spot last stage. Although Philly suffers from bouts of inconsistency, they had a solid first stage despite those two losses. The Fusion are a team that always manages to do the impossible and turn things back in their favor. Even with a meta shift (hopefully) incoming, they remain one of the stronger teams in Stage 2. With Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Josue “eqo” Corona back on DPS, the Fusion should be unstoppable.

– Kate Shepard

5. Los Angeles Gladiators – Record: 3-4 MPD: +1 (High: 4. Low: 15. LW: 9th)

The Los Angeles Gladiators head into Stage 2 with great momentum, plenty of rest, and a full lineup. After a string of health issues, suspension and age limitations, the Gladiators will be able to field a full team with substitutes. They have the second easiest strength of schedule. At this moment, there is no reason to doubt that they make the Stage Playoffs, not matter what the meta may be.

– Zach Stenzel

6. Seoul Dynasty – Record: 4-3 MPD: +5 (High: 5. Low: 13. LW: 7th)

Seoul although making it to the semi finals in their first stage playoff appearance, still have two rosters to decide on. How will they attack Stage 2 with all of its changes to the patch that are still unknown? Byungsun “Fleta” Kim will have flexibility back in his favor depending on the map. With Paris being introduced along with Baptiste, Chanhyung “Fissure” Baek and Jehong “RyuJehong” Ryu can benefit from these too. Playing more Ana and Winston along with DPS can aid Seoul into a second stage playoff run.

-Andy Nekrich

7. Toronto Defiant – Record: 5-2 MPD: +5 (High: 4. Low: 16. LW: 5th)

The Toronto Defiant surpassed all expectations in Stage 1. From what started as a tumultuous start to the stage with Se-hyeon “Neko” Park’s suspension eventually culminated to the young franchise’s first playoff birth. Their grit and determination embodied much of what the Toronto fan base resonates with. The Defiant will have a chance to avenge their early exit of the playoffs with a rematch against the Stage 1 runner up San Francisco Shock. They also face off against the Stage 1 Goliath, the Vancouver Titans. With opponents like these standing in Toronto’s way, fans will surely be on the edge of their seats throughout much of Stage 2.

– Dave Grove

8. Chengdu Hunters – Record: 3-4 MPD: -8 (High: 5. Low: 16. LW: 15th)

Overwatch League
Courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.

The Chengdu Hunters provided fans of the Overwatch League a break from the tired GOATS meta. Every match they played was must-watch entertainment, and now that the meta may be possibly shifting, Chengdu can continue to rise above fans’ expectations. Menghan “Ameng” Ding and Hu “JinMu” Yi have been clutch, whether it’s running multiple DPS alongside a Hammond, or going GOATS against eventual Stage 1 winner Vancouver. Taking a glance at the Pacific Division All-Star leaders, and you’ll find three Chengdu Hunters. Chengdu have plenty more tricks up their sleeve, and a shift in the meta would allow these players to truly come alive.

– Dalton Jewell

9. Boston Uprising – Record: 4-3 MPD: +3 (High: 5. Low: 16. LW: 8th)

Fresh off a Stage 1 Playoffs appearance, the Uprising have succeeded in proving the League wrong. Though people are often quick to dismiss their success, they’ve still got more to show, especially during a meta shift. Despite a tough schedule, Boston is ready to surge forward and continue on.

– Mallory McMahon

10. Atlanta Reign- Record: 4-3 MPD: +6 (High: 5. Low: 16. LW: 6th)

The Atlanta Reign had a great Stage 1, especially for an expansion team, but will need to show their ability to adapt to keep up going forward. After losing their star player Daniel “dafran” Francesca to retirement the Reign will be needing to rely more on their Russian hitscan specialist Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov as they head into the Stage 2 meta. Atlanta has already proven that they have the communication and talent, but the questions about their adaptability will remain.

– Garrett “Norcetto” Golden

T11. London Spitfire – Record 3-4 MPD: -4 (High: 5. Low: 17. LW: T13th)

After missing their chance at a Stage 1 playoffs spot, London returns to Stage 2 with hopes of reminding the world of their dominance during last season’s Grand Finals. The pros have yet to show off the most recent patch changes on stage, so how London fares in the new meta remains unknown. If GOATS is anywhere near as prominent as it was last stage, Spitfire fans should come into Stage 2 wary. Thankfully, a Week 1 matchup against the Florida Mayhem should be an easy win to start the stage off right.

–Steven Bower

T11. Guangzhou Charge – Record: 3-4 MPD: -1 (High: 6. Low: 15. LW: 7th)

The Charge proved they are a highly capable squad throughout Stage 1, but their schedule gets even more difficult moving on. They play the Shock twice and the Gladiators once again this stage, who are both looking like top 5 teams, and they’ll need to win nearly every other match they have to be considered for the Stage 2 playoffs. If the meta switches to something more dps reliant they could very well take off flying. But if it remains tank heavy, expect them to struggle a fair amount.

– Ethan Seftor

13. Dallas Fuel – Record: 4-3 MPD: 0 (High: 7. Low: 15. LW: 8th)

Dallas has shown good flexibility and even better preparation. They will likely be experimenting on new strategies and compositions. The one downside to this is that Dallas could very well be starting from scratch again like in Stage One. With preparation and a solid game plan, along with overall confidence in themselves, Dallas could have a great Stage 2.

– Ethan Cowan-Kazmi

14. Shanghai Dragons – Record: 3-4 MPD: -4 (High: 7. Low: 17. LW: 12th)

Overwatch League
Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

The Shanghai Dragons are looking directly at a “new meta, new me” situation in Stage 2. After Min-seong “diem” Bae finished 3rd overall in Final Blows per 10 minutes in Stage 1, other DPS-main players like Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang and Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin are ready to pop off. This squad was one win away from a .500 record, and the Dragons have a realistic shot for a positive Stage 2 record.

-Jacob Renie

15. Hangzhou Spark – Record: 3-4 MPD: -4 (High: 8. Low: 16. LW: 11th)

After failing to meet expectations in Stage 1, the Spark are no doubt hungry to put on a better show this time around. They have an uphill climb to do so, however, as they face a slew of tough opponents throughout Stage 2. Still, the possibility of a meta shift dominates the discussion, and plenty of Hangzhou’s DPS players haven’t had the chance to do what they do best. If they’re allowed that flexibility and combine it with improved coordination, the Spark could come into their own this stage. Either way, they’ll need to fight hard to take down some of the league’s top-tier teams.

-Darby Joyce

16. Houston Outlaws – Record: 3-4 MPD: -3 (High: 13. Low: 18. LW: 17th)

After a lackluster Stage 1, the Houston Outlaw look to improve in Stage 2. However, they’ll have to get past Stage 1 champions, the Vancouver Titans as their first test. Furthermore, they play against other extremely skilled teams such as the Philadelphia Fusion and the Seoul Dynasty. If Houston clean up their communication issues and Dante “Danteh” Cruz has another incredible stage on Sombra, this could be a fun team to watch.

– Steven Zamora

17. Paris Eternal – Record: 3-4 MPD: -8 (High: 15. Low: 18. LW: 16th) 

The Paris Eternal are currently in a weird spot. They certainly have big name talent, it just isn’t working as well in the GOATS meta. If the meta begins to shift a bit with the release of Baptiste, Terrence “So0n” Tarlier may be able to reach his Season 1 level of play. The great news about a meta shift is the fact that Paris has a lot of flexibility when it comes to playing different heroes or players. With the possibility of DPS gracing the Overwatch League stage in Stage 2, look for Paris to rebound and regain their early season form.

– Dalton Jewell

18. Los Angeles Valiant – Record 0-7 MPD: -9 (High: 17. Low: 20. LW: 18th)

Overwatch League
2019-02-24 / Photo: Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment

The LA Valiant ended Stage 1 with zero wins, but their schedule was far from easy. That, coupled with the fact that Stage 2 may be played in a new non-GOATs meta, is good news for the Valiant and their dismal record. There have even been some rumors of a couple of trades between the LA Valiant and Boston Uprising, which could reinvigorate the roster and put them on track to finally achieve their first win of the season.

– Aaron Gerr

 

19. Washington Justice – Record: 1-6 MPD: -11 (High: 17. Low: 20. LW: 20th)

The Justice struggled to find footing in Stage 1, only managing a single win against the Florida Mayhem. Still, the team showed moments of awareness that allowed them to take maps off of some notable opponents, and there may be hope for them yet. Their Stage 2 schedule isn’t nearly as brutal as Stage 1’s, and they’ll be taking it on with help from a notable pickup, Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong. If they can make the most of ArK’s notorious shot-calling abilities and learn to play more confidently, they have a chance at starting to turn things around.

– Darby Joyce

20. Florida Mayhem – Record: 1-6 MPD: -12 (High: 17. Low: 20. LW: 19th)

The Florida Mayhem will be desperate to forget their disappointing Stage 1 performance which saw them sink to 19th in the overall standings with one measly win beside their name. However looking forward into Stage 2, Florida fans should remain optimistic. New additions such as Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey will now have settled into the league and will continue to grow into his role within the team. They should be looking to improve upon their current position in the standings in Stage 2 with their efficient use of ults and unique Hero usage that allowed them to remain competitive in many of their matches in Stage 1. If they can recapture the spark that they displayed in their upset victory over the Philadelphia Fusion and they can take advantage of a meta in which no other team seems certain, then there is definitely hope for this team going forward.

– Sam O’Dwyer

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Our voters for OWL Power Rankings: Preseason- Bradley Long, Kate Shepard, Felipe Labarca, Darby Joyce, Robert Hanes, Katie Gripne, Ethan Cowan-Kazmi, Mallory McMahon, Dalton Jewell, Zach Stenzel, Garrett “Norcetto” Golden, Ethan Seftor, Miranda Rodriguez, Dave Grove, Sam Putney, Aaron Gerr, Steven Bower, Sam O’Dwyer, Connor Knudsen, Jake Renie, Steven Zamora, Brandon Padilla, Eren “Kenobi” Erkey, Andy Nekrich

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