It's time for the last stage of the regular season for the Overwatch League, and the role lock meta is going to shake things up a bit. Who benefits? Let's find out.
1. Shanghai Dragons
Overall Record: 12-9 | Map W/L/T: 43-42-2 | Map Diff: +1 | Change: --
The Dragons finally did it. The "lovable losers" of the Overwatch League took their first Stage title and staved off the Shock's reverse sweep when it came to crunch time. In a moment, all the failures of last season were forgotten thanks to a brand new lineup in 2019. That in mind, Shanghai deserves to be recognized as the league's best team after the win and Blizzard's forced role-lock. In a new meta where DPS can finally shine, Shanghai will continue to flex their muscles with Bae "Diem" Min-seong on Widowmaker, complemented by Yang "Dding" Jin-hyeok on Pharah.
2. Vancouver Titans
Overall Record: 20-1 | Map W/L/T: 70-16-0 | Map Diff: +54 | Change: --
Following the official announcement of the role lock, the community rushed to identify which teams would immediately benefit from the more rigid structure. We're also doing that here in power rankings, and Vancouver, to some people's surprise, still sits near the top of the list. Vancouver was one of, if not the best, triple-triple team. The only time the team has looked truly shaky is when they were attempting to run Sombra compositions in Stage 3, and even then, they adjusted admirably by running Lee "Stitch" Chung-hee and Seo "SeoMinSoo" Min-soo in the starting lineup, the latter over Choi "JJANU" Hyeon-woo as the team's Sombra player. Now with more DPS-oriented, dive compositions in play, look forward to Stitch and DPS player Kim "Haksal" Hyo-jong running rampant.
Vancouver has a tough matchup against Shanghai this week to kick off Stage 4. Shanghai recently ousted them in the Stage 3 playoffs. That match should be a good indicator of where both teams are at in adapting to the new meta.
3. San Francisco Shock
Overall Record: 16-5 | Map W/L/T: 68-20-0 | Map Diff: +48 | Change: --
So close. The Shock were a single map away from becoming back-to-back stage champions, but once Shanghai had the chance to flex legitimate DPS prowess, they had no answer. The Shock proved all year that they are the best triple-triple support team, but with the DPS meta looming, it's hard to pin where they will land. Still, the Shock are not without legitimate DPS firepower on the bench, with Park "Architect" Min-ho and Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo forming a terrifying duo for opponents in the Overwatch League's final stretch.
4. Hangzhou Spark
Overall Record: 14-7 | Map W/L/T: 48-39-3 | Map Diff: +9 | Change: --
There's a joke in the general community that this role lock is what Chinese organizations have been training for all year. Shanghai Dragons' Stage 3 victory was the harbinger of a new age, started by the Chengdu Hunters (who have been playing whatever they wanted regardless of meta since Week 1) with teams like the Guangzhou Charge and Hangzhou Spark following suit. Hangzhou don't quite fit this narrative exactly; however, there's little doubt that this is the type of meta in which the Spark can excel. An aggressive dive will make the most of main tank Xu "guxue" Qiulin's proactive engages if all three lines (tank, DPS, support) can get on the same page in team comms.
Due to their loss to the Los Angeles Valiant in Stage 3 playoffs, the Spark have dropped two spots from their last appearance, but don't be surprised if they take this stage by storm in a potential qualifying run to season playoffs.
Overall Record: 19-2 | Map W/L/T: 66-20-3 | Map Diff: +46 | Change: --
Another team that excelled at triple-triple for three stages was the NYXL. Their pivot to Sombra compositions in early Stage 3 heralded changes on the horizon, as well as the return of DPS player Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-ryeol to the starting lineup. It's easy to forget that the NYXL also excelled through what is looking to be a similar DPS or dive meta last season -- especially when the narrative around the team is now hyper-focused on their playoff struggles -- with Saebyeolbe and hitscan player Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon as audience favorites. Although it may take them a few matches to adjust and we may see similarly shaky performances as their Stage 3 opener against the Houston Outlaws, we know that the NYXL have the talent on their lineup to shuffle in and out as they choose.
6. Los Angeles Valiant
Overall Record: 8-13 | Map W/L/T: 42-46-3 | Map Diff: -4 | Change: --
Honestly, we're still not certain how the Los Angeles Valiant managed to improve so much across the past stage, but whatever they were doing, they'll need to maintain that newfound communication and coordination going into Stage 4. The big test is going to be in how their DPS line of Johannes "Shax" Nielsen (who rose admirably to the Sombra challenge of Stage 3), Brady "Agilities" Girardi, and Kyle "KSF" Frandanisa stack up against the league's best.
7. Seoul Dynasty
Overall Record: 12-9 | Map W/L/T: 51-34-2 | Map Diff: +17 | Change: --
Seoul feels like an enigma. At times, the team is incredible, while at other times, it can be totally stumped. The team's willingness to rotate brand new lineups between maps makes matches exciting, but it might not result in the best placement once the DPS meta settles back into play. Even then, Seoul still profiles well with Choi "Michelle" Min-hyuk being one of the most impactful tank and Sombra players in the league. Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun cannot be forgotten either as the team's swiss army knife DPS player. No matter what's coming, Seoul will have the answers to be near the top of the league.
8. Chengdu Hunters
Overall Record: 9-12 | Map W/L/T: 39-50-1 | Map Diff: -11 | Change: --
Ah, Chengdu. As exciting as the team tends to be, it can be just as disappointing. While the team has largely committed to DPS heroes since the very start of the season, they might lack the firepower and strategic flexibility to really sit near the top. Still, Chengdu's general experience with DPS comps gives it an edge over other middle-of-the-table teams, especially Zhang "YangXiaoLong" Zhihao. Moving forward, the team's lack of a dedicated Sombra player is its biggest concern. It might just be time to give Lu "Baconjack" Tzu-Heng a shot at earning that specific role, even with Luo "Elsa" Wenjie being such an adept flex player.
9. Los Angeles Gladiators
Overall Record: 13-8 | Map W/L/T: 50-33-3 | Map Diff: +17 | Change: --
Shields up! Or down? The Gladiators never looked perfect in the triple-triple, meta and a change of scenery might be what the team needs to finish the season strong. It's no secret that the team's star Widowmaker Lane "Surefour" Roberts is more successful in DPS focused metas and the newest stage will be an immediate boon to his playstyle. Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles also benefits from the change as one of the less convincing Brigitte players in the league. Even so, the Gladiators are once again in the shadow of the Los Angeles Valiant, and right now, that's where they deserve to be. The new meta theoretically improves the Glads, but the team has to prove it in the coming weeks.
10. Houston Outlaws
Overall Record: 8-13 | Map W/L/T: 36-50-3 | Map Diff: -14 | Change: --
The Houston Outlaws have proven to be an impossible team to predict. Despite a strong regular stage showing, their Stage 3 playoff hopes were quickly dismantled by the Vancouver Titans in the first round. If the meta is returning to dive as predicted, Houston will likely have less trouble with it now that they have a strong Tracer in Dante "Danteh" Cruz. Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin is also presumably quite happy to be able to return to Widowmaker more often. Houston was already a team that was more than happy with the meta shift of Stage 3, so role lock should suit them far better than triple-triple ever did.