We've seen five weeks of play from the 12 teams in the 2018 Overwatch League season, and quite an array of variability in team performance. This week's power rankings will be a retrospective of both the past week of play, including stage title matches, as well as each team's performance throughout the stage. We won't be taking roster changes and additions into account for rankings, as it's impossible to truly assess the impact of new players without seeing them play.
1st: New York Excelsior [-]
Pine enters the arena. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 9-1 (31-10-2 map record, +21)
Despite losing the stage title match to London, the Excelsior can arguably be considered the best team in the Overwatch League. Having only recorded a regular season loss to the Philadelphia Fusion, they lead the pack in both series and map record, with a +21 map win-loss differential. Primarily playing their Genji-Tracer dive and swapping in Pine and MeKo when necessary, they've been able to work their way past the other Korean teams to reach the top of the rankings. Their trade of series with London during the stage 1 title matches proved there is parity between the teams, but we consider New York to be the superior team, given their more consistent teamplay and record.
2nd: London Spitfire [-]
Profit discusses a play with Gesture. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 7-3 (29-14-0 map record, +15)
Taking second after Stage 1 is the London Spitfire. The fusion of two top Korean rosters proved their ability to successfully combine the talents of their 12 players, comfortably beating most teams in the Overwatch League and taking the title of Stage 1 champions, along with a cool $100,000 USD bonus. Despite losses to the upstart Outlaws and the dominant Excelsior in the matches leading up to the stage playoffs, the Spitfire managed to defeat both in rematches, proving their prowess, even after a long day of competing. Slight changes and improvements to this team could easily shift the balance of power in the favor of London over New York.
3rd: Houston Outlaws [+1]
Muma focuses on the win. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 7-3 (30-13-0 map record, +17)
The Outlaws served as the wildcard of Stage 1, and emerged as a top contender following a rocky season start. A series of easy matches, starting with the Shanghai Dragons, allowed Houston to accrue 18 straight map wins in a row before dropping a map to the San Francisco Shock. This pushed their map differential to +17, ahead of even the Spitfire, and allowed them to advance to the stage playoffs. In spite of a disappointing loss to the Spitfire, the Outlaws remained positive and satisfied with their performance. The all-western core has surpassed expectations, with DPS Jake making efficient use of Junkrat's advantageous balance position and LiNkzr showing up exactly when the team needed him to on all of his heroes of choice. Their defeat of the Boston Uprising and even 1-1 record with the Spitfire place them comfortably at their position in our rankings.
4th: Boston Uprising [+1]
Gamsu mid-call. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 6-4 (27-17-0 map record, +10)
Boston has come a long way since their roster debut and preseason performances. The team of mostly free agents was assembled to be "coachable", and coaches Crusty, Shake, Mini, along with president of gaming HuK have proven the validity of this idea. After a difficult season start, they began a win streak off their defeat of the London Spitfire in Week 3, taking down a series of low-mid ranked teams, before being defeated in a very narrow bout against the Outlaws, losing their chance to advance to playoffs. The Uprising brought together individual talents that were never the star of the show into a team that can match up capably against even the strongest Overwatch League rosters. Tracer headliner Striker is in contention for best in the world, and DreamKazper is the jack and master of seemingly all trades, able to switch heroes and perform on a whim. A recent 4-0 against the Valiant puts the Uprising at a confident 4th.
5th: Los Angeles Valiant [+1]
The Valiant take their place on stage. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 7-3 (26-13-3 map record, +13)
The Valiant lead the pack of mid-tier teams in our rankings. Early in the season, they seemed to be the favorite of the non-Korean teams, but inconsistent performances since then have moved them down in the minds of many. The stronger of the Los Angeles teams was a vague contender for stage playoff contention, but their hopes were dashed by other teams making it impossible to qualify with their record. While still a strong team, it's unclear how far the Valiant are able to go with their current methodology. Their recent performances have proven encouraging, having dropped no maps to Philadelphia, Seoul, and Shanghai, but their sound defeat at the hands of Boston proves there's a lot of room to improve for this team.
6th: Seoul Dynasty [-3]
The Seoul Dynasty take Eichenwalde. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 7-3 (25-16-2 map record, +9)
Reminiscent of their performance during Overwatch APEX season 4, the extended Lunatic-Hai team in the Dynasty has fallen from their vaunted position as the expected leader of the League. Their early dominance over weaker teams proved to be fleeting, and a map loss to Shanghai seemed an appropriate catalyst for their fall from grace, cascading into a 2:3 loss to the Excelsior and unceremonious zero-win losses to London and the Valiant. Even Seoul's victories, against a LiNkzr-less Houston and the #10 San Francisco, went to 5 maps. The team that stood at the top of the world of professional Overwatch is nowhere to be found, and it remains to be seen whether they'll find their way into the Blizzard Arena for Stage 2 and beyond.
7th: Philadelphia Fusion [-]
Fragi bears the flag of the Fusion. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 6-4 (20-24-1 map record, -4)
The Fusion are, from their stats and observing them, the most middling team in the Overwatch league after one stage. They're up and down, defeating some teams strongly, some by a narrow margin, and often finding themselves failing to take a map at all against stronger teams. The meta seems to be the most notable bane of Philadelphia. While the frontline DPS Carpe and ShaDowBurn have been performing at or above their pedigree, the tank line and supports have appeared to struggle. The team's play around Mercy has been adequate at best, and at worst completely insufficient. Given that the hero was the cornerstone of the meta of Stage 1, being picked over 95% of the time, the Fusion have had a time of it. Improvements in these areas, especially with Mercy's nerf, should put the Fusion in a better spot. For now, they're defeating the teams below them, and losing to the teams above them.
8th: Dallas Fuel [+1]
The Fuel make their entrance. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 3-7 (14-25-3 map record, -11)
While it took a couple weeks for the Dynasty to fall out of favor, the Fuel managed to complete the same disappointment upon their entry to the league. The former superstar EnVyUs core seemed fragmented at best, with rumors of inadequate team cohesion and coaching conflicts floating in their vicinity. In addition, the temporary suspension of xQc and the partial absence of EFFECT mid-stage did them no favors. Dallas has no business being as bad as they are, given their team history and player lineup, but we stand at the end of Stage 1 with the Fuel at #8 in our power rankings and at 10th in the official standings. Only their head-to-head record against three of our bottom four teams saves them from a lower ranking, and it's clear that Dallas has to rethink how they're going about things.
9th: Los Angeles Gladiators [-1]
The Gladiators strategize backstage. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 4-6 (16-26-0 map record, -10)
The Gladiators are a team that you want to do better, but there's no real reasoning to why they should. Their DPS play has been wholly average among the League, and inferior tank play from the Bischu-iRemiix duo isn't made up for by their strong support line. This Los Angeles team started the season in a middle position, and end on the low side. While other teams have improved, the Gladiators seem stagnant. Perhaps, being that they have the second-smallest roster in the league at seven players, a lack of room for substitution in two out of three positions is at play. Whatever the case, the Gladiators are fighting an uphill battle. While they gave their rival Los Angeles team a run for their money in the vaunted "Battle for Los Angeles", their inability to take anyone but the Fuel to a close game makes for an underdog of a team.
10th: San Francisco Shock [-]
Babybay demonstrates his Babybay challenge. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 3-7 (16-24-2 map record, -8)
San Francisco continues their cruise at the underside of the League, staving off lower positions thanks only to the disparity of our bottom two teams. The boys from the bay can't seem to find their groove, despite an early victory against the Uprising. A talent pool marred by age restrictions isn't fitting together as they need to, and outside their victory against Florida in Week 4, the Shock have been relegated to only taking maps or draws off of better teams. While the Shock seems well-suited to the chaos of the deathmatch-oriented play that dominates Control maps, more coherent team play seems to be out of their reach at present. On the upside, they made the Seoul match closer than most would have expected earlier in the season, but we'll have to wait and see whether that was the fault of Seoul or improvement from the Shock.
11th: Florida Mayhem [-]
The Mayhem enter the arena, Manneten and CWoosH leading the way. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 1-9 (9-31-1 map record, -22)
The story of the Mayhem has remained unchanged for the majority of the season, as has their position at #11. The six-man roster seems to be misfit, and a lack of exceptional play in any role has made Florida an unfortunate non-contender in the aggressive environment of the Overwatch League. The lack of any substitutes and a singular coach has proven inadequate from an onlooker's perspective. Despite his efforts, bus driver TviQ hasn't been able to hit his previous highs, and coupled with an inconsistent Logix, the shaky base of questionable tank play and insufficient support play combines for a team that fizzles instead of detonating. With only a win over the destitute Dragons under their belt, the Mayhem have precious little room to fall, and any additions might add the spark they need to return to their former Contenders-finalist glory.
12th: Shanghai Dragons [-]
The Dragons make their way through the crowd. Image Credit: Blizzard
- 0-10 (6-36-0 map record, -30)
Someone has to be at the bottom of the league, and Shanghai happens to be that team. The Chinese-national squad came out as a sweepingly deficient team, and if you looked at their record you'd think they hadn't improved a bit. However, the team seems to be working slowly but surely on improving their weakest points. Play that could have been accurately described as "solo-queue esque" has transitioned into more united, if weak, teamplay, and we're seeing less wild tank dives and ultimates thrown into the abyss of lost fights. It seems that the Dragons are hard at work building the team to be competitive, with the crucible of the League as their proving ground. As with the Mayhem, most pickups have a good chance of bolstering this struggling team's chances at rising from their bottom-tier position.
As a bonus, here's a graphic showing how our rankings have changed as the season has moved along. The upper echelon of teams is clearly less stable than the lower tier, while the middle is a mixing pot where anything is possible.