After eight matches played on Saturday and Sunday, Stage 1 has come to an end.
Well, mostly come to an end. While all matches that count toward teams' records have concluded, the Stage 1 playoffs are still yet to be played.
The final week of Stage 1 further shook up the league standings and brought more teams to the middle. Last week it was determined nine teams were guaranteed to finish within one game of .500. There are now 13 teams with such records at the conclusion of Stage 1.
As a result, everyone still has a realistic shot at a postseason berth. Washington Justice GM Kate Mitchell even noted that both the Justice and Mayhem are only two games out of an opportunity to compete in the play-in tournament at the end of the season.
However, not everything has been shaken up and pushed toward the middle. The rankings stabilized in some areas and other places that were murky before cleared up somewhat despite the parity.
Without any further introductions, here are Scrub's power rankings following Week 5.
1. (-) New York Excelsior (7-0)
There were no matches played this week for the New York Excelsior New York Excelsior OWL Rank # and no reason to move them. Maybe the stage playoffs can finally give us the Titans-Excelsior showdown we all want.
2. (-) Vancouver Titans (7-0)
The Vancouver Titans Vancouver Titans OWL Rank # swept the Guangzhou Charge to finish Stage 1 undefeated. On top of that, their map record was the best in the league and has them on top of the standings entering Stage 2.
3. (-) San Francisco Shock (4-3)
The San Francisco Shock San Francisco Shock OWL Rank # took the week off after finishing their Stage 1 matches in Week 4. Despite their 4-3 record, they have looked like the strongest team outside of the league's undefeated squads. They'll seek to prove they deserve such honors when they play the 5-2 Toronto Defiant in the first round of the stage playoffs.
4. (+1) Toronto Defiant (5-2)
Speaking of the Toronto Defiant Toronto Defiant OWL Rank # , they've moved up to fourth in this week's rankings. While they didn't play any matches this week, the entirety of their Stage 1 felt stronger than the Philadelphia Fusion's. In general, they've looked pretty consistent: they have yet to let themselves be upset.
5. (-1) Philadelphia Fusion (5-2)
While the Philadelphia Fusion Philadelphia Fusion OWL Rank # failed to look stronger than the Defiant this stage, they still had a better stage than most of the league. Their two losses came in a week in which Boombox was sick and main support Elk had to fill in at flex support. Despite often looking shaky against weaker opponents, the Fusion have mostly taken care of business and possibly could have been 6-1 or 7-0 without their Zenyatta's absence.
6. (+1) Los Angeles Gladiators (3-4)
Although the Los Angeles Gladiators Los Angeles Gladiators OWL Rank # didn't play last week they are continuing to carry the momentum from last week into this week's rankings. While the Gladiators had a losing match record, they ended positive in map record: 14-13-2 (W-L-T). Unfortunately for them, it's the match record that counts and thus the Gladiators will be watching the stage playoffs from home.
7. (-1) Atlanta Reign (4-3)
The Atlanta Reign Atlanta Reign OWL Rank # are only lightly punished for their performance last week despite losing to the Hunters and only beating the Outlaws a by 3-1 score. This is partially because no one else has looked convincingly better. The Reign will look to avenge a Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Fusion in a stage playoff rematch.
8. (+3) Seoul Dynasty (4-3)
Entering the season, the Seoul Dynasty Seoul Dynasty OWL Rank # had never made a stage playoff, never beat the London Spitfire and never beat the New York Excelsior. They accomplished the first two last week. Can they check off all three in only two weeks?
9. (+4) Boston Uprising (4-3)
The Boston Uprising Boston Uprising OWL Rank # needed a win over the Dallas Fuel to enter the stage playoffs and did exactly that. They've looked fairly good since Fusions returned to the lineup as he has provided solid main tank play and leadership within their squad.
10. (-2) Dallas Fuel (4-3)
A defeat to the Boston Uprising knocked the Dallas Fuel Dallas Fuel OWL Rank # out of contention for the stage playoffs and a chance at finishing Stage 1 with a 5-2 record. Still, a 4-3 record is a better finish for the Fuel in Stage 1 than expected after a rough opening few matches.
11. (+5) Chengdu Hunters (3-4)
By beating the Atlanta Reign, the Chengdu Hunters Chengdu Hunters OWL Rank # proved that their close match with the Vancouver Titans wasn't a fluke. Unfortunately, the franchise found their footing in this stage a little bit too late to make some real noise. It will be interesting to see how they adapt to the Stage 2 patch.
12. (-3) Shanghai Dragons (3-4)
The Shanghai Dragons Shanghai Dragons OWL Rank # ' ranking has normalized as a result of the middle-tier teams distinguishing themselves from each other in the final week of Stage 1. While they didn't play this week, several teams below them showed enough strength in Week 5 to leap over the Dragons. They now have a full stage of playtime with new main tank Gamsu and thus should look better throughout the entirety of next stage.
13. (-1) Guangzhou Charge (3-4)
The Guangzhou Charge Guangzhou Charge OWL Rank # were swept by the Titans last week -- their second loss to the Titans in Stage 1. On the bright side, they won't have to play the Titans in any other regular season matches this season. On the down side, they got the Titans twice in what could potentially end up being their strongest stage.
14. (-4) London Spitfire (3-4)
15. (-) Hangzhou Spark (3-4)
The Hangzhou Spark Hangzhou Spark OWL Rank # finished Stage 1 with a 1-4 record in their last five matches. They'll be hoping to turn around their fortunes in Stage 2 and get some positive momentum going.
16. (-2) Paris Eternal (3-4)
Even in finally getting a win after a rough few weeks, the Paris Eternal Paris Eternal OWL Rank # did the bare minimum to beat the (at the time) winless Washington Justice. They've also gone 1-4 in their last five matches, except they've looked much worse than the Spark in the process. Their map record during that span was a paltry 4-15.
17. (-) Houston Outlaws (3-4)
The Houston Outlaws Houston Outlaws OWL Rank # didn't look great in Stage 1. Despite that, they still entered the final week with a chance at the stage playoffs and within the range of the postseason play-in. They've survived Stage 1 in pretty good shape if they find the ability to improve.
18. (+1) Los Angeles Valiant (0-7)
Stage 2 will be an opportunity for the Los Angeles Valiant Los Angeles Valiant OWL Rank # to right the ship following a winless Stage 1. If the Valiant don't sign a new, permanent head coach before the stage's start, the next stage could end up as an audition for Packing10 as the team's head coach.
19. (+1) Washington Justice (1-6)
For the first time this season, the Washington Justice Washington Justice OWL Rank # are not at the bottom of the rankings. After all, there is only one team in the league this season that has lost to the Justice -- and they haven't managed to lose to themselves yet.
20. (-1) Florida Mayhem (1-6)
While the stage playoff matches won't count toward the teams' tallies at the end of the season, they will count toward their ranking -- albeit to a lesser extent than most weeks.
Outside of power ranking implications, the stage playoffs could be the final sendoff for the GOATs meta, or not. We won't know until Stage 2 rolls around.
Regardless, we should be in for a fun weekend of matches.