This is way easier than doing weekly game recaps, so here are power rankings with a summary of each team’s stage.
1. LA Gladiators (4-2, 7 League Points)
Despite a couple of ugly reverse sweeps against Dallas and Shock in weeks 2 and 3, Gladiators were able to get their revenge by winning 19 of their last 20 maps against good competition to claim the Kickoff Clash title in the west division. Reiner has been a breakout star on tank and Patiphan has been a solid compliment to Kevster. Overall, the meta has been good to Gladiators but with the depth this team has I can’t foresee too many changes that would make them worse. Every player on the team has been one of the best in their role so far this season.
2. Dallas Fuel (5-1, 7 League Points)
Despite a confusing loss to Houston in week 1, Dallas were able to find their place in the stage 1 meta by putting Hanbin on Zarya and Edison on Reaper and running at the enemy with bubbles. This worked against pretty much every team they faced until Gladiators seemed to figure something out and were able to use Kevster and Patiphan to dps diff Edison and Sp9rkle. Hanbin thus far has been the star of the team and an early MVP candidate, but if the meta shifts away from his hero pool Fearless should be able to fill in. The biggest worry for this team is the dps line. If Sp9rkle is unable to play comfort heroes and pop off they may struggle against the more talented teams in the region.
3. SF Shock (6-0, 6 League Points)
Their 6-0 regular season record is a bit deceiving, as they did not have to face Atlanta or Dallas, but the Shock still seem like a contender for one big reason: Proper. The rookie DPS God has dragged his team (with a bit of help from Finn) to a good position heading into stage 2. The roster seems fairly flexible, especially the support line, so I can’t see meta changes hurting this team too much.
4. Atlanta Reign (3-3, 4 League Points)
Some ugly regular season losses for this team have been canceled out by a great performance in the Kickoff Clash tournament, featuring wins over Mayhem and Shock. Hawk seems to have stabilized the team from the Tank role, playing a good Zarya and Doomfist on maps where Gator isn’t in. Kai remains the team’s best player, although meta changes could lessen his impact in future stages. Ultraviolet has been a fantastic addition on Ana, although his support partner Ojee has not been quite as phenomenal.
5. Houston Outlaws (4-2, 4 League Points)
Outside of a bad week 1 loss to Toronto that they were able to get revenge for in the Kickoff Clash tournament, Outlaws have been fairly good at beating the teams they are supposed to and losing to the teams they are supposed to, looking weaker against Shock and Gladiators but pulling out wins against Florida and London. The current meta might have been about as bad as possible for Houston, but they were able to find enough success with Danteh and Piggy playing comfort heroes to keep them in games while Pelican did Pelican things. They still have blind spots in the form of Winston and potentially Wrecking Ball play, but I imagine Outlaws will continue to land somewhere in the middle of the pack for most of the season.
6. Florida Mayhem (4-2, 4 League Points)
Someone’s Winston and Rein play has kept Mayhem relevant as the team builds their identity around an unusual set of players. Hydron has been good but not outstanding and SirMajed has had some inconsistent moments, but I don’t see this team falling too far unless the meta shifts in some way that Someone is unable to adapt to. This team’s 4-2 record is potentially a bit inflated as the best team they’ve beaten so far this season has been Washington Justice, but they’ve played good teams close and don’t have any really bad losses on their resume, so there’s certainly hope in Florida.
7. Toronto Defiant (4-2, 4 League Points)
Defiant are a similar story to Houston, not seeming like they have the talent to compete with the best teams in the region but not bad enough to lose to the teams below them in the standings. The primary difference is that while Houston have 2 potential stars in Mer1t and Pelican, Toronto only really have 1 (Twilight). A good amount of depth at tank keeps this team fairly meta-proof, but they will have to figure something out regarding their dps line as Although has looked shaky at times. An early stage 2 match against Mayhem should be a good test for both teams as to how they handle changes to the game.
8. Washington Justice (3-3, 3 League Points)
Once again, the Justice are massively underperforming in relation to the talent they have on their roster. A meta that let them run Decay on Tracer, Happy on Soldier, and Mag on Winston should have been perfect for the Justice, and they were able to showcase their potential against Reign in week 2 and on the first two maps against Shock in the Kickoff Clash tournament, but ultimately they were unable to find any kind of synergy between their star players and they ended up dropping the last 2 matches they played in the regular season, including an ugly loss to Boston, before going 0-2 in the tournament. Decay needs to figure things out fast if Justice want to turn their season around and reach their true potential.
9. London Spitfire (3-3, 3 League Points)
The Rein 1 trick team was a pleasant surprise during stage 1, nearly qualifying for the tournament despite being near the bottom of everyone’s power rankings heading into the season. They still aren’t good, as evidenced by the fact that they lost 3-0 to Houston in a relatively non competitive match, but perhaps they’ll be this year’s Chengdu Hunters and continue to pull off unexpected upsets like they did in week 4 against Atlanta. The team seems to have no flexibility whatsoever in their team compositions. No matter the meta, no matter the map, expect Hadi to be on Rein pressing the W key while Backbone looks for Mei walls.
10. Boston Uprising (2-4, 2 League Points)
Having shed Marve1 and Striker in favor of a consistent lineup of Valentine, Victoria, and Punk, the Uprising seem to be at least respectable and unlikely to lose any more maps against Vancouver Titans. They aren’t good, and probably never will be, but at least with some flexibility and solid dps play the Uprising will not be a laughingstock like in years past. I don’t expect them to win more than 3 matches in any given stage, but I don’t think they’ll ever go 0-6 either. For what is now a very low-budget squad, I guess that’s not the worst thing in the world.
11. NYXL (1-5, 1 League Point)
How can a team this talented be this bad, you ask? Simple: they aren’t actually that talented. Outside of Yaki, who always seems to underperform, nobody on this team is really a force to be reckoned with. Myunbong has been average on Ana, Gangnamjin is stuck in Lucio jail and looks like he’ll remain there for the foreseeable future, and Flora has simply been bad. Kellan has been underwhelming on tank so far and with what is functionally a 5 man roster, the team has almost no flexibility. The only way this team does well is if the meta specifically shifts to Zen-Ana-Tracer so that Gangnamjin, Myunbong, and Yaki can play their best heroes and drag the other two members of the team to respectability.
12. Paris Eternal (0-6, 0 League Points)
A team that simply seems to lack the talent to keep up with the rest of the league. Glister, supposedly the team’s star dps player, has been below average. Daan and Vestola have not had the impact they’ve needed to, and Kaan and Dridro haven’t been able to replicate the success they had last season. Taking Outlaws to map 5 was a step in the right direction, but I don’t see this team producing any real results any time soon.