Overwatch League power rankings: The haves and have-nots

Overwatch League - LA Valiant vs. Boston Uprising (1:54)

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Now that Overwatch League teams are adapting to the new meta, they focus on positioning in the final stage as playoffs approach. In this top-heavy league, the usual suspects remain in place, but there is a lot of movement in the middle of the pack.

1. New York Excelsior

Movement: No movement from last stage

At this point, New York truly looks unstoppable. The Excelsior slowed down a bit in Stage 3, losing to the Boston Uprising and dropping maps aplenty, but this stage is different. Every player is comfortable in the lineup and the team seamlessly switches between strategies with ease. New York played some of the weakest teams in the league this week in Seoul and Shanghai, but its dominance is on full display.

The Excelsior faces some stiff competition in the Los Angeles Valiant next week, along with an up-and-down Philadelphia roster, but dominance is expected. New York is gunning straight for the Barclays Center in July for the Overwatch League season final.

2. Los Angeles Gladiators

Movement: No movement from last stage

The Los Angeles Gladiators currently fill the role of the second-best team in Overwatch League. A 4-0 match score in Stage 4 is good for a tie with the both the Valiant and Excelsior, showcasing flexibility with DPS players Lane "Surefour" Roberts and Ted "Silkthread" Wang. The Gladiators' recent winning streak also puts the team in sixth place in the overall standings for the first time this season, one game above the crumbling Seoul Dynasty. L.A. is a legitimate playoff team and is well on the way to breaking through after a disappointing Stage 3 playoff performance.

Looking ahead, the Gladiators' most important matches for staying strong in the power rankings and playoff picture are its bouts with the L.A. Valiant and NYXL. A win over the Valiant this week in the Battle for L.A. will move the team a little closer to the Pacific Division playoff bye, while also positioning the team well for a strong finish in Stage 4.

3. Los Angeles Valiant

Movement: No movement from last stage

While the Gladiators impressed in Stage 4, the Valiant has been no slouch, either. The Valiant doesn't have the same DPS flexibility as the Gladiators, but the team's tank line more than makes up for it. Indy "SPACE" Halpern and Koo "Fate" Pan-Seung remain one of the scariest tank duos in the league and arguably have been the team's greatest contributors to the 4-0 start.

The Valiant stands out, alongside the NYXL and L.A. Gladiators, as one of the most consistent teams in Stage 4, but lags just a bit behind in overall flexibility. Of course, that doesn't matter as much when Brady "Agilities" Girardi has his occasional immaculate games on Pharah, but it is hard to bank on game in and game out.

4. London Spitfire

Movement: +3 since last stage

London continues to impress and distress as the second-highest rated South Korean team in the Overwatch League. The talent in its lineup is coming together well since the return of Kim "Birdring" Ji-Hyeok, but its inconsistency on Control and Assault maps has hurt the team's ability to truly sweep lower-level opponents like the San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty. London still has what it takes to contest for the league title, but that form hasn't been present since Stage 2.

London is in a fairly safe position as far as securing a playoff spot and is well out of reach of a bye, but win totals actually aren't the most important apart from qualifying for Stage 4 playoffs. But there still is a lot to prove. An upstart Dallas Fuel will be a key test for the team after it scuffled against the Seoul Dynasty in a 3-2 victory.

5. Dallas Fuel

Movement: +6 since last stage

Speaking of Dallas, the Fuel is back. The team's star, Tracer Hyeon "EFFECT" Hwang, is back home in South Korea, but the team's coordination has been on point regardless. The lessening importance of Tracer in a tank-filled meta has also made his absence less impactful than it usually would. Ponghop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod has stolen the show on Brigitte, but the entire team has performed well, especially in its upset victories over the Uprising and Fusion last week.

Dallas beat two teams that have contended for playoff positions and is showcasing the level that many analysts hoped would carry over to the Overwatch League months ago. Timo "Taimou" Kettunen's resurgence on hitscan, combined with Brandon "Seagull" Larned's endless hero pool, has allowed the Fuel to thrive in a meta where tank and support play has even more importance. It's too late for Dallas to make a run into the playoffs, but Stage 4 glory is perfectly attainable at this rate.

6. Philadelphia Fusion

Movement: No movement from last stage

It looked like the Fusion was back after a strong return in Stage 4, but like the Outlaws, many questions have risen. Lee "Carpe" Jae-Hyeok is a monster for the team, but the team does lack consistency when he is not playing at his top level. Even then, the support and tank lines have been above average, and a loss against the Fuel does not undo its progress. However, the Fusion's schedule has been soft to start Stage 4, and upcoming matches should provide a better litmus test for the team.

The Fusion don't lack in flexibility but have had moments of miscommunication between the front and back lines on multiple occasions. The Gladiators and Excelsior both thrive against teams with disorganized back lines, so it will be more important than ever for the team to find out its tank-line situation. Bringing in Joona "Fragi" Laine for more stability might be a move that we see this week as the Fusion seeks to stabilize itself.

7. San Francisco Shock

Movement: +1 since last stage

The middle of the pack in Stage 4 is full of teams that have strong upsides but equally large execution problems. From London Spitfire at fourth in these rankings all the way down the list to the Houston Outlaws at eighth (and arguably including the Boston Uprising at ninth) there's an argument for each of these teams to be anywhere from fourth to eighth. San Francisco stands at sixth in our rankings due to a decisive victory over Houston and a close Map 5 loss to London. For weeks, we've written about how much DPS player Park "Architect" Min-ho does for his team. This week was no different, but the addition of off-tank Choi "ChoiHyoBin" Hyo-bin was the highlight for the Shock this week, especially in the team's series against Houston. The between-stage acquisition of coach Park "Crusty" Dae-hee also has seemingly helped the Shock become more coordinated.

8. Houston Outlaws

Movement: -3 since last stage

The Houston Outlaws kicked off Stage 4 with strong wins over the Boston Uprising and London Spitfire. Alongside the team's Texas brethren, the Dallas Fuel, Houston looked to have one of the best understanding of the initial Stage 4 meta in Week 1. Less reliance on Tracer meant more room for the Outlaws to work with in the team's compositions and a stronger hero pool more in line with DPS players Jacob "JAKE" Lyon and Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin. Yet, a week later, teams seem to have figured out how to contain Houston, or at least work outside of Houston's comfort zone. With three weeks to go and still-nebulous Stage 4 standings, there's still time for Houston to adjust, but the team will have to do so quickly for a last-minute push into season-playoff contention.

9. Boston Uprising

Movement: -5 from last stage

From 10-0 in the Stage 3 regular season to 0-4 in the first two weeks of Stage 4, the Boston Uprising has fallen like a stone in the standings and now in this power ranking. Boston's Stage 3 success was a combination of the team's strong tank line, peerless assault map play on Temple of Anubis and Volskaya Industries, and some close Game 5 calls that ultimately went Boston's way due to strong teamwork and communication. Boston has looked lost following the meta shift -- something that plagued them earlier this season after a shift from the Mercy meta -- and the loss of coach Crusty to San Francisco has likely done little to ease the team's transition into understanding the in-game changes and map pool in Stage 4. Less focus on Tracer -- and to some extent Sombra -- means a bit more of a strain on the DPS line of Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo and Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov to perform in what appears to be a less optimal meta for their hero pools. Boston looked a bit better this week than the team did in Week 1 but still has a long way to go.

10. Seoul Dynasty

Movement: -1 since last stage

Seoul Dynasty's fall from grace, and the top of the standings, has been difficult to watch. This team is stacked not only with individual talent but the core of an APEX-winning lineup. Unfortunately, communication between individuals on the team and any semblance of coordination is at an all-time low, even with strong on-paper additions to the former Lunatic Hai core like Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun and Heo "Gambler" Jin-woo. Seoul has gone from one of the better teams in the Overwatch League that just barely missed stage playoffs, to potentially missing overall season playoffs.

11. Florida Mayhem

Movement: -1 since last stage

At this point, there's not much to say about Florida Mayhem. The team had a tough Week 2 going up against both Los Angeles teams and performed about as expected given the strength its L.A. opposition. Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo continues to be a delight to watch individually, but the rest of the team still has obvious disconnects in communication, especially between main tank Kim "AwesomeGuy" Sung-hoon and the rest of the team, and both supports, who frequently miss his position. At times, the Mayhem look less coordinated than the last-place Shanghai Dragons. Mayhem owner Ben Spoont hinted on Twitter that the team is looking into picking up another support who will, at the very least, be another option alongside both Sebastian "Zebbosai" Olsson and Aleksi "Zuppeh" Kuntsi.

12. Shanghai Dragons

Movement: No movement from last stage

Once again, the Shanghai Dragons may be better than last place, but without a victory -- or even a close five-map match -- the Dragons will stay at 12th in the power rankings. The departure of coach Wang "RUI" Xingrui due to illness combined with a new meta seemed to hit the team hard in Week 1. With the Stage 4 meta slowly evolving and dive looking more viable on certain maps than it was initially, Shanghai should have room to improve. The question is whether that improvement will be enough to get that elusive first victory. The best upcoming matchup for the Dragons to secure the team's first match win appears to be in Week 4 against the Florida Mayhem, but this week's clash with Seoul has the potential to be interesting.