1. Los Angeles Valiant
Well, a team has finally slipped into the No.1 spot long owned by the New York Excelsior. Los Angeles is 8-0 in Stage 4 and the NYXL had its first ever 0-2 week in the Overwatch League. Both teams might not be putting in the same amount of effort, but the Valiant have looked strong lately on the back of clutch individual performances.
Everyone on this team can do what needs to be done. Indy "SPACE" Halpern can carry the team on Zarya. Terence "SoOn" Tarlier can do it on Widowmaker. It doesn't really matter at this point because it feels like the Valiant clutch out more close fights than any other team. It faces the occasional strategic limitation, but if it gets going, it might just be an actual challenger to the gods of New York.
2. New York Excelsior
Los Angeles has many beaches and NYXL is enjoying a vacation in the sun and sand. It's already secured its spot in the Overwatch League playoffs and the first seed.
New York dropped games to both Los Angeles teams this past week in close 3-2 sets, when, frankly, the team was not putting its best foot forward. Still, its lackadaisical form can't be ignored and the team drops in the rankings for the first time since Stage 2.
New York is trying and is not giving up, but there is no need for the team to flex strategic diversity before the upcoming playoff matches. Both the Gladiators and Valiant did well to punish a slacking Excelsior, but the team currently has one hand tied behind its back, waiting for the final round of the Overwatch League.
3. Los Angeles Gladiators
Movement: No movement
The Gladiators are in the shadow of the Valiant -- despite also beating the Excelsior -- largely due to their inconsistent play and individual levels. Compositional reactions and large hero pools define the team, but recent sets have shown less willingness from the Gladiators' side to abuse that. It might be a change in philosophy given how ultimate economy is affected, but that might not be the right form for the future.
Lane "Surefour" Roberts has been more inconsistent, but the all-star-caliber play of Baek "Fissure" Chan-Hyung continues to elevate the team. He might not be the best overall player in the league, but he has to be an MVP candidate after how much he's changed midseason.
4. Philadelphia Fusion
The spark of the team that nearly took the Stage 2 title is missing, but the Fusion are showing more resilience than they did earlier in the stage. Comeback wins against the Shock and Dynasty this week showed a decent amount of adaptability and gave Philadelphia a much-needed boost in the Overwatch League playoff race.
This newfound resilience, in combination with the supreme DPS duo of Josue "Eqo" Corona and Lee "Carpe" Jae-Hyeok, might just make for a contender late in the season. The Fusion are still working on their overall coordination, but they're heading in the right direction.
5. San Francisco Shock
Movement: No movement
San Francisco suffered two losses this week at the hands of the Fusion and Excelsior, but its form is still representative of a playoff-caliber team this late in the season. Strategic flexibility proved to be a slight issue, but it's hard to really reprimand that weakness against stronger, more experienced lineups. The Shock roster was built with next year in mind, and the current crop of young players and Korean imports continues to cement that ideal.
Speaking of Korean imports, Park "Architect" Min-Ho continues to flex as one of the best DPS players in the league and might have been an MVP candidate had he played all season. Going forward, the Shock's first stage playoff bid looks fairly unlikely with a 4-4 record, but there is a lot for this squad to be proud of. Execution has been solid and more experience will only continue to refine this team.
6. Dallas Fuel
Dallas is sloppy but measured, and that continues to be its main quirk in this final stage of the Overwatch League. The team has nothing to lose and that means a variety of strategies come out, even if they don't appear to be the most practiced. Execution is decent for the Fuel, but being unafraid to take any play and committing as a team is what makes it a happy ending.
In addition to the individual renaissance of Timo "Taimou" Kettunen's hitscan play, Brandon "Seagull" Larned has proved he can hang with some of the best Western players in the league, on both tanks and DPS heroes. Going into next season, the Fuel should definitely consider keeping Seagull around as a centerpiece for an inevitable rebuild.
7. London Spitfire
Of all teams in the Overwatch League, London still has the best raw talent on its current lineup to challenge even the New York Excelsior. We see this in flashes, like in its first few maps against both the Los Angeles Valiant and the Los Angeles Gladiators. When the Spitfire are on, they are one of the best teams in the Overwatch League. Unfortunately, it seems unable to hold on to this elusive synergy for long. Two maps appeared to be its limit this past week, leaving lingering questions about this roster moving forward -- the taunt from Gladiators main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung was a precise stab at just how much talent London has willingly given up. London is still in a fairly strong position for season playoffs (thanks to its map differential), even with the cluster of teams breathing down its neck; however, London will have to perform much better to advance in the season playoffs should it make it.
8. Houston Outlaws
Movement: No movement
Even with a stronger map differential than both the Philadelphia Fusion (who sit two matches ahead in the standings) and Seoul Dynasty (tied with Houston at 21-7 in matches), the Outlaws are in a rough position to make a final push for season playoffs. Houston's Week 5 schedule is tough and includes the Fusion as well as the New York Excelsior. The first season of the Overwatch League hasn't been bad for Houston, but the team has fallen short of expectations with spurts of strong performances followed by short streaks of losses depending on which way the meta shifts. Stage 4 has been a bit of a microcosm of Houston's entire season: a strong start in the new meta followed by a week of losses, and then an evening out that lands Houston in the middle of the pack once more. Not since Stage 1 have we seen a more consistent Outlaws team.
9. Boston Uprising
Thanks to the team's 10-0 run through Stage 3, Boston wasn't in as much danger of dropping out of the season playoffs as some of its OWL counterparts, even with an 0-6 start to Stage 4. This week, Boston continued its improvement shown in Week 3 and, more importantly, picked up wins against the struggling Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons to secure a season playoff spot.
Throughout the first season, Boston struggled with meta changes -- and this stage is no different. Provided that the meta doesn't shift dramatically between Stage 4 and the season playoffs, Boston could surprise a few teams, although the Boston players would be the first to tell you that they still don't feel as comfortable as they would like in this current meta.
10. Seoul Dynasty
Mathematically, the Seoul Dynasty remain in the season playoff hunt despite their two Stage 4 losses in Week 4. But it's going to be a tough, uphill battle that relies on beating both the Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Gladiators convincingly and additional losses from the Gladiators and Philadelphia Fusion. Seoul's fall from grace has been a slow descent, beginning with map losses and narrow misses for the Stage 1 and 2 playoffs, even with strong starts to both stages. In Seoul's all-important loss to the Fusion in Week 4, the team showed some interesting DPS swaps and flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately, Seoul was not able to keep this up for the entirety of the match. Shifting metas, along with individual player fatigue, have hit Seoul very hard at times. In the offseason, the team will need to address these issues, with or without roster changes.
11. Florida Mayhem
Movement: No movement
On June 6, the Mayhem became possibly the most hated team in the Overwatch League when it once again bested the Shanghai Dragons in a close series. Thanks to the Dragons' looming 0-40 record, a lot of heat has been taken off the Mayhem, who also have been a fairly bad team, despite strong individual players (much like the Dragons).
Of Florida's seven total wins all season, four are courtesy of Shanghai. Most fans already have turned their attention to the offseason to see whether Florida will hang on to their strong DPS players or address the state of the team's support line.
12. Shanghai Dragons
Movement: No movement
It's always tough to write about the Shanghai Dragons, but this past week was particularly rough. Against the Mayhem, Shanghai's best chance at winning a match in the Overwatch League's inaugural season came down to a heartbreaking final-point loss on Nepal. Now the Dragons' chances for having an entirely winless season are all but set due to the team's tougher Week 5 schedule that includes matches against the Los Angeles Gladiators and the San Francisco Shock.
The Dragons seem to falter when the pressure is on -- not swapping off of certain heroes fast enough and mid-map adaptation continues to be a major issue -- and it will take an exemplary performance from this team to make that miracle win happen. This offseason, the Dragons will have to take a good, hard look at the team's lineup and make some tough decisions so another winless season does not happen again.