Behold the top four teams in Stage 4 after two weeks of play:
No one would have been able to predict these standings at the end of Stage 2, which was prior to the announcement of the 2-2-2 role lock. The 2-2-2 role lock happened, however, and everything has been flipped on the head.
Stage 4's early standings are not just notable because of their surprising nature, though. They're also notable because three of the top four teams--the Reign, Charge and Hunters--were 11th through 13th in the standings at the start of Stage 4.
That's a problem for other teams on the bubble of the play-in tournament. The Dallas Fuel and the Los Angeles Valiant are the only teams currently on the outside that have a realistic shot at making it in (other teams with a mathematical shot would need a lot of things to go their way to actually make it in). Even then, those two teams are watching their chances slip away fast.
With that context in mind, here are Scrub's OWL Power Rankings for Stage 4 Week 2.
Image credit: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment
1. (+1) San Francisco Shock (18-5)
The San Francisco Shock San Francisco Shock OWL Rank #1 have yet to lose in Stage 4 despite facing two tough opponents to start the stage. They played Rascal in every map this week, likely a decision made in part because of his skill on Mei. They may enter the playoffs this season as the championship favorites.
2. (+5) Los Angeles Gladiators (15-10)
Despite going 1-1 this week, the Los Angeles Gladiators Los Angeles Gladiators OWL Rank #10 leap over their competition in this week's rankings. They defeated a hot Hunters team and kept their match with the Shock close. There are still concerns over their loss to the Outlaws in Stage 4 Week 1, but the Gladiators appear to have put that behind them.
3. (-2) Vancouver Titans (22-2)
We probably shouldn't overreact to the Vancouver Titans Vancouver Titans OWL Rank #16 ' loss to the Justice, as bad as it looked. They should continue to be one of the league's best teams, even if they may no longer be the absolute best team in the current patch. The Titans' looked better the week before when they were playing to their strengths (by that I mean letting Haksal carry on Genji) than they did when they tried to assimilate to the meta. It might be worth reverting to the compositions they ran in Stage 4's first week.
4. (-) London Spitfire (15-10)
Yes, the London Spitfire London Spitfire OWL Rank #14 lost 3-0 to the Florida Mayhem. However, the Spitfire also beat a surging Guangzhou Charge team 3-1. The Spitfire appear to go as far as Profit will take them as he was quiet for much of the match against the Mayhem. I expect that won't be a common level of performance for him.
5. (+11) Washington Justice (5-19)
Last week I said, "it's hard to imagine [the Justice will] be an incredibly strong team this stage." I was wrong. I underestimated just how incredible Corey is and just how good of a DPS partner he has in Stratus . It helps that the flaws of janus and SanSam are less apparent in the current meta than they were during GOATs. Unfortunately for the Justice, there will be no stage playoffs in Stage 4.
6. (+2) Seoul Dynasty (13-11)
The Seoul Dynasty Seoul Dynasty OWL Rank #7 ended up on top in a tough game with the Los Angeles Valiant. They're clearly good, but it's hard to pin down exactly where they stand among the league's teams. Their match with the Charge next week should help make that a bit more clear.
7. (+5) Chengdu Hunters (12-13)
The Chengdu Hunters Chengdu Hunters OWL Rank #13 have finished 3-4 in every stage this season. They would need to lose each of their next three matches for them to continue that pattern this stage. It looks like they will buck that trend and finally finish a stage with a winning record. Doing so should be enough for them to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament.
8. (-5) Shanghai Dragons (13-11)
Losing to the Defiant is concerning. It looks like the Shanghai Dragons Shanghai Dragons OWL Rank #2 are still trying to figure out how to best utilize the DPS trio of diem , YoungJIN and DDing . If they can figure it out, they may return to their status as one of the most fearsome teams in the league. If they can't, they may just flop in the play-in tournament.
9. (-) Guangzhou Charge (12-13)
The hype train for the Guangzhou Charge Guangzhou Charge OWL Rank #5 slowed down a little when they lost to the Spitfire. They responded well by beating the Hangzhou Spark, but their true test still awaits them. They play the Dynasty and the Excelsior in the upcoming week. There will be no doubt they're for real if they win both of those matches.
10. (+3) Atlanta Reign (12-12)
Despite sitting on top of the Stage 4 standings after two weeks, the Atlanta Reign Atlanta Reign OWL Rank #11 have looked less impressive than the other surprise teams this stage. This is in large part because their opponents haven't been particularly tough as of yet. Nonetheless, they are riding a five game win streak, seem destined to make the play-in tournament and are led by one of the team's most talented players in ErsTer . The Reign are on the rise.
11. (-5) Los Angeles Valiant (10-14)
The Los Angeles Valiant Los Angeles Valiant OWL Rank #8 haven't dropped this week because they've looked bad. On the contrary, they still appear to be one of the league's better teams. The problem is that a lot of teams are looking just as formidable after this week and space needed to be made in the top 10. If any of the rankings' top 10 teams falter, the Valiant will be first in line to move back into the top half.
12. (-7) New York Excelsior (20-4)
Much of what was said about the Valiant could also be said about the New York Excelsior New York Excelsior OWL Rank #3 , however there are more concerns about them after starting Stage 4 with a 1-2 record. They haven't seemed to figure out how they want to utilize their DPS players in the current meta and their swaps against the Hunter didn't have any obvious strategic reasoning I could see. Nenne 's, Fl0w3R 's and Saebyeolbe all have slightly different strengths in their hero pools, yes, but the differences between them didn't really jump out. The Excelsior should be fine in the long run, but it may take them time to find their footing.
13. (+2) Philadelphia Fusion (14-11)
The Philadelphia Fusion Philadelphia Fusion OWL Rank #4 have clinched a record of at least .500 after winning twice this week. For all the negatives that have been said about the Fusion this season, that's pretty good. It just goes to show the weakness of the Atlantic Division this season.
14. (-3) Hangzhou Spark (14-9)
Now that Krystal has been indefinitely suspended by the team, perhaps the roster can start focusing on what they need to do without worrying about possibly fitting another player into the lineup and the drama surrounding it. He almost certainly would help them in this current DPS meta, which makes the situation all the more unfortunate for the Spark, but it's clear that they will need to carry on without him. GodsB and Adora will have to step up to salvage Stage 4 after a very poor start to the stage.
15. (+5) Florida Mayhem (3-21)
The Florida Mayhem Florida Mayhem OWL Rank #6 's 3-0 victory was impressive enough by itself, however their week began to look even better after the Justice swept the Titans. That match made their five map defeat to the Justice look better. Gargoyle 's performance on off-tank was great for the entire match against the Spitfire and it's clear he is an upgrade to what they had at the role before in Xepher .
16. (+3) Toronto Defiant (8-17)
Their upset victory over the Dragons showcases the potential of the new Toronto Defiant Toronto Defiant OWL Rank #18 roster going into the next season, which is exactly where they have to be looking. This week unfortunately sealed them outside of the play-in tournament despite winning their first match since May.
17. (-3) Paris Eternal (9-16)
18. (-8) Houston Outlaws (9-16)
19. (-2) Dallas Fuel (10-13)
I would like to cut the Dallas Fuel Dallas Fuel OWL Rank #15 some slack for having tough opponents at the start of Stage 4. Unfortunately, that schedule doesn't get any easier with matches against the Gladiators and Shock up next on the docket. I can't let them off the hook forever, so they'll have to drop down to the bottom two. They have now lost seven in a row and they may end the season on this losing streak.
20. (-2) Boston Uprising (8-15)
Someone had to be last. The Boston Uprising Boston Uprising OWL Rank #20 didn't play this week. That means they didn't lose this week, however it also means they didn't join in on the plethora of upsets that occurred. While other teams at the bottom of the ladder beat some of the league's best teams, the Uprising sat at home without such victories.