Overwatch League power rankings - It's NYXL's league

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Overwatch League Power Rankings -- Stage 4 (4:12)

The Overwatch League returns this week and all the buzz is around the new tank-based meta. Emily Rand joins Phil Murphy to get you up to speed. (4:12)

It's time to head into the final stage of the inaugural Overwatch League season. NYXL, to no one's surprise, remains the team to beat, and Boston has now set some lofty expectations for itself after an incredible run to the Stage 3 OWL finals. And, yeah, Shanghai still needs a win.

1. New York Excelsior

Movement: No movement from last stage

New York is now the owner of two straight stage titles and shows no signs of slowing down. A mid-stage loss to the Uprising and few close matches showed that the NYXL could be contested, but once it came down to the real thing, it continued to rise ever-upward. On top of a stage title, the team has also clinched a spot for the Overwatch League playoffs, and with the final announced to be held in New York, you can bet that's what it's gunning for.

The experimentation of numerous substitutions involving Song "Janus" Jun-Hwa and Jung "Anamo" Tae-Sung gives the team more depth going into the final stretch. The upcoming meta featuring Brigitte will likely allow for more "deathball" compositions centered around Reinhardt, so expect to see Janus to continue to slot into the team. Anamo will also have plenty of opportunities for more Lucio play in the upcoming meta if the team continues to sub him in on Control maps.

2. Boston Uprising

Movement: No movement from last stage

The other beast of the east coast fell short of truly contesting the talent on New York Excelsior, but it kept the final relatively close. Boston rose up to power in Stage 3 despite having to suddenly run DPS player Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov after running Jonathan "Dreamkazper" Sanches for the first two stages. The Uprising lived up to its name and became the first team to complete a stage without a single loss and looks to continue its dominance in the final stage of the Overwatch League.

Boston's focus on teamwork and preparation is something that will keep the team afloat in any meta and arguably with any set of players, so long as they buy into the system. However, the rise of Kwon "Striker" Nam-Joo was a key factor the team's success and, and he'll need to be again in Stage 4. Individual play does not define the team, but an indomitable Striker really makes the team soar.

3. London Spitfire

Movement: No movement from last stage

The Spitfire amassed a mere five wins in Stage 3 and missed out on the playoffs for the first time this league. Inconsistency plagued the Spitfire, as it had plenty of games where it looked like the Stage 1 champions it is, but could not quite string the necessary wins together. The absence of Kim "Birdring" Ji-Hyeok's dazzling play from Stage 1 hurt the team, and while the team adapted to Lee "Hooreg" Dong-Eun relatively well, it was not enough.

Now, it is well known that Birdring was struggling with a wrist injury that likely hampered his practice regiment and stage performances, so Stage 4 is a great chance for the team to rebound. A healthy Birdring compliments Park "Profit" Joon-Yeong incredibly well and arguably makes for the best DPS duo in the league. Still, the Spitfire have to adapt better to Control maps and a tank meta might not cater to its deadly dive style.

4. Los Angeles Valiant

Movement: +1 since last stage

The Valiant finally made its way into the playoffs last stage after falling short in both Stage 1 and 2. At first, the Valiant built up its reputation by smashing weaker teams in the league, but still showed resilience when pit against some of the best. The inclusion of Indy "SPACE" Halpern, Chae "Bunny" Joon-Hyuk, and Scott "Custa" Kennedy, changed the team and gave it a world of options.

Space proved to be one of the greatest off-tanks in Stage 3 while Bunny carried numerous maps on Tracer and will be the key spark plugs for Stage 4. It is worth noting that there might be less Tracer in a Brigitte-focused meta, but the hero will always maintain importance. The Valiant's lack of diversity in playstyle hurt it in Stage 3, so Stage 4 will test if it can be a contender going into the overall playoffs.

5. Los Angeles Gladiators

Movement: -1 since last stage

As the second Los Angeles team, the Gladiators are not far off from the Valiant's level and even dragged it to five games in the Battle of LA last stage. The team's aggression centered around Baek "Fissure" Chan-Hyung is its greatest strength, but sometimes it proved to be its greatest weakness. Over-diving is a common trend for the Gladiators, but nevertheless, LA has been a playoff contending team for two straight stages.

The key for Gladiators' true graduation to being a top team in Stage 4 will undoubtedly be centered around how the team can adapt to a deathball meta. Fissure is one of the greatest Reinhardts in the world and Lane "Surefour" Roberts has become one of the best Widowmakers in the league, but space creation will be different and non-stop aggression won't cut it the same way.

6. Seoul Dynasty

Movement: +2

The Seoul Dynasty have frankly been disappointing since its failure to make the playoffs in Stage 1. Numerous roster rotations have confused the fans and the league, while legacy players continue to underperform in key games. However, Stage 3 ended up being defined by the team's star support, Ryu "ryujehong" Je-Hong, for his Winston play.

The legendary Ana player ended up role-swapping to main tank at the end of the Stage to try something new and the team looked much improved. Seoul has commented that the change might not stick around for Stage 4, but considering the results, it's hard to imagine a world where it doesn't. Seoul's upside with a cohesive unit and Kim "Fleta" Byung-Sun is still undeniable and a slower, tank-focused meta might just be what it needs to bring it out.

7. San Francisco Shock

Movement: +2 since last stage

Alongside the rise of Boston and both Los Angeles teams, the San Francisco Shock was another pleasant surprise of Stage 3. After a close victory over Shanghai in Week 3, where the Shock was missing main tank Matthew "super" DeLisi due to illness, the team visibly improved every week that followed, even in its rough Week 4 with losses to London and New York. DPS player Park "Architect" Min-ho received most of the spotlight in Stage 3, but more importantly, the rest of the team has slowly learned how to play around him. San Francisco also picked up former Boston Uprising coach Park "Crusty" Dae-hee (who was fresh off of an undefeated Stage 3, not including playoffs) between stages. The Shock's upward trajectory towards the end of Stage 3 places them above the likes of Houston and Philadelphia for now. Going forward, we'll see if that momentum carries into a new stage and meta with a new coach at the helm.

8. Houston Outlaws

Movement: -2 since last stage

By contrast to teams like San Francisco and Boston, the Houston Outlaws struggled in Stage 3. The team was unable to make up for the deficit aided by a tough initial Stage 3 schedule (London, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York across the first two weeks) and continuing difficulties with dive when compared to some of their stronger opponents. Combined with the rise of other teams from the middle of the pack like both Los Angeles teams. Now that Houston is entering what by all accounts is a deathball meta in Stage 4, things could be looking up for the Outlaws. Former Dallas Fuel coach Kyle "Kyky" Souder also officially joins the team for the next stage, and it will be interesting to see how he fares with another group of players with whom he has a rapport.

9. Philadelphia Fusion

Movement: -2 since last stage

At first, it was a simple back-to-back slide. No Overwatch League team is quite used to back to back matches with fewer than 24 hours to prepare and play onstage in between. So when the Philadelphia Fusion lost to San Francisco in Week 3, it was an upset, but the loss was partially attributed to scheduling circumstances. Yet, Philadelphia never found its footing in Stage 3 after that series. The next week, Philadelphia nearly lost to the winless Shanghai Dragons and the team stumbled to a 5-5 stage finish that was well below expectations, given the team's appearance in the Stage 2 Finals.

10. Florida Mayhem

Movement: No movement since last stage

DPS player Ha "Sayaplayer" Jeong-woo stole the show for the Florida Mayhem this past stage. The monster Widowmaker is seemingly respected by every other DPS player in the Overwatch League, and the rest of Florida has improved around the openings that his raw talent can provide. The bad news for Florida is that other teams in the league like the Shock, Valiant, Gladiators, and even the Dragons have also improved at the same time. Florida also have similar issues regarding the team's support line, with Sebastian "Zebbosai" Olsson caught out frequently. Head Coach Vytis "Mineral" Lasaitis also recently stepped back from the team to rest and tend to his health after wearing many hats across three stages.

11. Shanghai Dragons

Movement: +1 since last stage

The Shanghai Dragons spent the better part of Stage 3 integrating four new players into the team's starting rotation: main tank Lee "Fearless" Eui-seok, flex/off-tank Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon, DPS player Chon "Ado" Gi-hyeon, and support He "Sky" Junjian. By the end of the stage, the team had improved significantly, and looked a lot stronger in the dive meta, even with continuing miscommunication between Shanghai's support and tank lines. The question of the Shanghai Dragons going into Stage 4 is how the team will deal with the upcoming meta shift and who will be chosen to flex into different roles for deathball compositions.

12. Dallas Fuel

Movement: -1 since last stage

With all that happened internally, and the fraction we saw externally, on the Dallas Fuel in Stage 3, it's difficult to say where this team will end up. Currently, Dallas is in the bottom of the power rankings due to the continued shuffling of the starting lineup and various player substitutions that accompanied the team's 1-9 Stage 3 record. The Fuel's only victory was against the Shanghai Dragons, and looking at these teams' onstage performances towards the end of Stage 3, it's difficult to guarantee a similar victory for Dallas if the Fuel had played Shanghai later in the stage. DPS player Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon also remains in South Korea, although this may not affect the team as much in a deathball meta as it did in the more dive-focused meta of Stage 3. In fact, given Team EnVyUs' past, a more tank-focused Stage 4 meta could help the Fuel, provided the team can come together.