Week 3, Stage 3 in the Overwatch League, the week of reverse sweeps. NYXL and Philadelphia had a few, but the real story is Boston Uprising. It continued it's climb to the top, and currently sits one spot away from the throne. But it's not there yet.
1. New York Excelsior
Movement: No movement
The kings finally bleed again. New York still sits at a comfortable 23-3 record in first place, but had to reverse-sweep not once, but twice to go 2-0 last week. Wins against both the Fusion and Gladiators aren't the worst results, but showed that the league is catching up to the Excelsior's excellence.
New York displayed a clear emphasis on diversifying its strategy by starting main tank Song "Janus" Joong-Hwa on numerous maps. Rather than go with standard dive setups with Kim "Mano" Dong-Gyu, New York opted to practice long flanks with Janus, most notably on Temple of Anubis. Additionally, Jeong "Anamo" Tae-Seong received playtime at support due to Hong "ArK" Yeon-Joon feeling "mentally unhealthy." New York's alternate flavor last week was palatable, but it has a ways to go before it matches the succulence of the "A" lineup.
2. Boston Uprising
Right below New York is the city's traditional rival, Boston. The Uprising has certainly matched its name lately, taking out every team in its path to amass a 6-0 record in Stage 3. Boston completed an emotional reverse sweep against the London Spitfire and easily dispatched Seoul 2-1 later in the week, becoming the first team to defeat all three Korean teams in a single stage. This mixed team is forcing itself into the conversation for best in the league.
Boston continues to have some of the best all-around strategy, and it continues to dominate Assault maps and remains undefeated on Volskaya Industries. Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov has fit into the lineup as a decent flex DPS and provides the bare minimum of what his team needs; a moldable teammate. The Uprising is a unit that seeks to get the most out of the synergy of its individuals and that philosophy will keep the team strong no matter what challenge comes their way.
3. Philadelphia Fusion
There was a plethora of reverse-sweep action in the Overwatch League last week, but the Fusion was on the bitter side unlike the Uprising or XL. Philadelphia was so close to enacting its revenge against New York, but just couldn't get that third map to secure the win. It had been reverse swept by New York again, reminiscent of a matchup in the Stage 2 finals. Momentum is often overplayed, but the Fusion looked broken against a lower-tier San Francisco Shock to close out the week, losing 1-3.
Philadelphia are still a team to be trifled with and operate greatly from its DPS duo of Josue "eqo" Corona and Simon "Snillo" Ekstrom, but things were just a bit off last week. Dives were not as coordinated against the Shock and there was consistent hesitance from a confident team. Fusion will have to rebound and it is set to do just that with matchups against the Seoul Dynasty and the Shanghai Dragons later this week.
4. London Spitfire
Movement: No movement
London stays at number four this week, but proved that it still has the talent to contend with anyone in the Overwatch League. The Spitfire tasted bitter defeat at the hands of Kwon "Striker" Nam-Goo's Boston Uprising in a reverse-sweep, but it was impressive enough that it took two maps in the first place. London was narrowly reverse-swept again by the Los Angeles Valiant on Saturday, but clutched out the series on Oasis, despite traditionally struggling on Control maps. A new roster centered around the flexibility of former GC Busan players is working wonders for the Spitfire despite proving weaker in the past.
Star DPS Kim "Birdring" Ji-Hyeok has been benched recently for Lee "Hooreg" Dong-Eun, but so far, the team has actually benefited. Park "Profit" Joon-Yeong continued to force his way into the MVP discussion last week and clearly has valuable synergy with his GC Busan teammate, Hooreg. The two can play just about combination of heroes and can continually match opposing strategies without compromising on performance. Hooreg struggled during the first half of the Overwatch League, but if he continues to perform, this might just be the DPS duo for the rest of the season.
5. Los Angeles Valiant
The Valiant enjoyed a weak schedule for the first few weeks of the Overwatch League and sported an inflated record in Stage 3. Despite that, the Valiant actually held strong against its LA counterpart, Gladiators, and stayed competitive with a resurgent London Spitfire. Granted, the team was far from decisive in its victory against the Gladiators and the Spitfire did eventually clutch out victory on its weakest map type.Still, Los Angeles proved that it has something going for it, but there is definitely still room to grow.
Chae "Bunny" Joon-Hyeok's performances in Stage 3 have been nothing short of fantastic, but the Valiant have struggled when he can't deliver the big play. Similarly, Brady "Agilities" Girardi's consistency has held back the team's play at times, but Indy "SPACE" Halpern and Koo "Fate" Pan-Seung have compensated for that greatly. Valiant gets by on a lot of muscle right now and it will need to refine its playbook to effectively take on the titans of the league.
6. Houston Outlaws
Houston finally got to pick up some wins last week after starting Stage 3 with a brutal schedule against the killers of the league. The Mayhem and Fuel proved to be relatively easy for the Outlaws to deal with, but the games were not as decisive as some would hope. Counter-dive continued to be the team's bread and butter, but other composition types definitely suffered as it struggled to close out assault-based maps.
However, Houston did experiment more with Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell on main tank and that isn't always easy for a team to adjust to. Regardless, Houston was a level above its opponents, but its matches against the Valiant and Gladiators this week will be telling of its true place in the league.
7. Los Angeles Gladiators
Movement: No movement
Now we enter the final six teams, with the Los Angeles Gladiators just barely outside of the top half of the standings. It was a rough week for the Gladiators, who narrowly lost the Battle of LA to fellow hometown team the Valiant before taking New York to five maps as well. Both losses come down to fixable mistakes, especially in its match against NYXL. The Gladiators have steadily improved since Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung joined the team. Now with the talent and strengthened communication to move forward, the Gladiators now need to shore up small, punishable mistakes like target selection, positioning, and timing, especially when running specific heroes like Sombra.
8. San Francisco Shock
Without Matthew "Super" DeLisi, the San Francisco Shock looked shaky against an ever-improving Shanghai Dragons last week. This week with Super back the members of the Shock were a much more cohesive unit that was finally able to not only showcase small improvements made by the time since Stage 3 began, but have some wins on the board to back those developments up. Although the Philadelphia Fusion were coming off of a tough 2-3 loss to New York from the previous day, that doesn't take away from the Shock's accomplishments. In particular, Park "Architect" Min-ho had an excellent performance against the Fusion alongside Super and support Nikola "Sleepy" Andrews, who was all over the Fusion's Isaac "Boombox" Charles.
9. Seoul Dynasty
The Seoul Dynasty are a much better team than its placement in this power ranking. Season playoffs are still very much in the Dynasty's future as well. However, for much of this particular stage, the Dynasty have looked lost. At first it was easy to write off these struggles to just the fact that captain and legacy support player Ryu "Ryujehong" Je-hong was out of the starting lineup, but no roster permutation that the Dynasty has tried recently has looked as strong or as cohesive as this team has been in the past. DPS player Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun continues to stand out as one of the league's best, but all-too-often it's in relief to mistakes made by the rest of the team. The Dynasty now have its toughest stretch of the Stage 3 schedule in front of them -- Philadelphia, NYXL, and London -- with a middling 3-3 record instead of the strong starts that the team had in Stages 1 and 2.
10. Florida Mayhem
Due to its tough initial schedule, it's been difficult to see if this Florida Mayhem lineup has improved with the recent additions of DPS player Ha "Sayaplayer" Jeong-woo and main tank Kim "AwesomeGuy" Sung-hoon. This week, the Mayhem won its first match, a 3-1 victory over the Shanghai Dragons, although it was certainly closer than the Mayhem would have liked. Andreas "Logix" Berghmans stole the show on Route 66, and both Sayaplayer and AwesomeGuy have performed well in the Mayhem's matches. Unfortunately, the problem for the Mayhem remains the support line.
11. Dallas Fuel
Whatever momentum the Dallas Fuel had last week -- it looked more cohesive and better on the dive -- was completely absent this week in the Fuel's against both the Shock and the Outlaws. The release of coach Kyle "KyKy" Souder and DPS player Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun seems to have halted what little progress the team had made together the previous week, who looked as uncoordinated as ever, especially against the Shock. Part of this is likely due to Son "OGE" Min-seok continuing to learn English to communicate with the team, as well as Rascal's departure, but communication has seemingly been a problem for the Fuel for quite some time.
12. Shanghai Dragons
There's no question that DPS player Chon "Ado" Ge-hyeon and the tank line of Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon and Lee "Fearless" Eui-seok have all been excellent additions to the Shanghai Dragons lineup. Ado and Lu "Diya" Weida have both showcased DPS flexibility that the team previously lacked with Fang "Undead" Chao. Yet, upgrading a team's mechanical skill doesn't help as much on the defense, where positioning and communication are that much more important. This is where the Dragons' best laid plans tend to fall apart -- with both supports picked off by opponents consistently -- despite the fact that the team looks improved by the match and continues to take maps.