The new role lock meta in Stage 4 has led to surprising wins, shocking upsets and many changes to our power rankings. Last week, the Florida Mayhem beat the London Spitfire 3-0, the Washington Justice beat the Vancouver Titans 4-0 and the Chengdu Hunters beat the New York Excelsior 4-0. Those wins weren't enough to propel the Mayhem or the Justice into our top 10, but the Hunters are firmly at No. 5, and the Titans, perennially at the top of our rankings in previous stages, are down to No. 6. Plus, two big wins by the Atlanta Reign have moved them up seven spots to No. 7.
Previous Stage 4 rankings:
1. San Francisco Shock
Record: 2-0 | Map W/L/T: 6-3-0 | Map Diff: +3 | Change: +1
As the dust settles after two weeks of odd matchups and surprising upsets, the San Francisco Shock stand alone. Any doubts about whether the Shock could perform at as high a level in the role lock meta as they did during the triple-triple meta seem to have been sufficiently quashed. Last week, the Shock snatched a narrow victory against the Los Angeles Gladiators.
The Shock have opted to commit to Mei-centric compositions, with super-flex DPS Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun putting forth an impressive performance as Mei, an old favorite of his from when he began his pro career. The rotation of other DPS players in the Shock's lineup has also been seamless, with Park "Architect" Min-ho coming in to display his prowess on projectile heroes and Jay "Sinatraa" Won getting to play his signature Tracer. Though their wins have been close, the Shock haven't missed a beat in transitioning to this new meta and are looking to remain uncontested at the top.
2. London Spitfire
Record: 3-1 | Map W/L/T: 9-6-1 | Map Diff: +3 | Change: +2
You might be wondering why the London Spitfire are in second this week, considering their 0-3 loss against the Florida Mayhem, who are currently last in the overall league standings. Despite being one of the victims of one of last week's upsets, the commanding victories that the Spitfire have taken this stage are a reminder of just what this squad can achieve when playing at their peak. Sure, the first two were against the struggling Dallas Fuel and Toronto Defiant, but their dominant win over the Guangzhou Charge last week (including the control map this time!) was a reflection of the team's immense potential.
The Spitfire are teeming with top-tier individual talent -- Park "Profit" Jun-young in particular continues to be one of the most flexible and mechanically skilled DPS players in the league -- and a loss against the resurgent Mayhem isn't enough to count them out just yet. People counted them out last year, too -- and they went on to win the championship.
3. Guangzhou Charge
Record: 3-1 | Map W/L/T: 11-5-1 | Map Diff: +6 | Change: +2
Though the Guangzhou Charge suffered a 1-3 loss to the London Spitfire on Thursday, they returned with fervor the next day, handily defeating the Hangzhou Spark 3-0. Though the team's cohesion is leaps and bounds better than it was two stages ago, it's the strong individual performances on the Charge that are largely responsible for their current success.
Charlie "Nero" Zwarg, who was ineligible to play during the first half of the season due to his age, continues to impress as one of this season's rising stars, with his Mei prowess being a linchpin of the Charge's strategy. Lee "Happy" Jung-woo's explosive Widowmaker play and Kim "Shu" Jin-seo's consistency on Ana complete the Charge's strong core as the team looks to guarantee themselves a spot in the play-in tournament come September.
4. Los Angeles Gladiators
Record: 2-2 | Map W/L/T: 9-9-0 | Map Diff: -- | Change: +6
Last week, Los Angeles was heavily penalized in the rankings for dropping a series to the occasionally middling, generally bottom-tier Houston Outlaws. This week, the Gladiators are being rewarded for a huge 3-2 win against the Chengdu Hunters and a close 2-3 loss to the league leading San Francisco Shock. Los Angeles has the star DPS players -- Lane "Surefour" Roberts and Jang "Decay" Gui-un -- to function in this meta. The team just has to become more consistent if it wants to contend for an Overwatch League title at the end of the season.
5. Chengdu Hunters
Record: 3-1 | Map W/L/T: 12-7-0 | Map Diff: +5 | Change: +2
Chengdu has finally done it. After sitting in the middle of the rankings for nearly the entire year, Chengdu snagged a huge 4-0 win over the New York Excelsior to make the jump to fifth this week. It's worth noting that Chengdu dropped their first series against the Los Angeles Gladiators, but the match was close, and this team is clearly good. Chengdu's general flexibility on DPS heroes is finally paying off after stages of frustration with triple-triple compositions, but Sombra will be the final piece to their puzzle. This week, Zhang "YangXiaoLong" Zhihao's Sombra was significantly improved, but there's still a ways to go before it can be considered top tier in the Overwatch League.
6. Vancouver Titans
Record: 2-1 | Map W/L/T: 7-5-0 | Map Diff: +2 | Change: -5
After starting this stage looking very strong, the Vancouver Titans take a big tumble in the rankings after a startling 0-4 loss to the Washington Justice last week. The Titans have lost before, but this was the first time this season that they looked utterly lost. Rather than bad individual performances, it was the absence of the Titans' trademark teamwork that hurt them most.
The uncharacteristically disjointed play that we saw last week points to this loss -- only their second of the regular season -- potentially being an anomaly, but even if that's the case, the Justice have successfully exposed some glaring weaknesses in the Titans' play that will have to be patched up quickly. We've seen this team bounce back from losses before, but this loss is different than any of the previous ones, and the way they respond to this crushing defeat might define the rest of their season.
7. Atlanta Reign
Record: 3-0 | Map W/L/T: 10-2-0 | Map Diff: +8 | Change: +7
Atlanta continue to strike when everyone leasts expects it. It's almost as if the team's strength comes from being under- or overrated, as that's when the team hits its peaks and valleys. Though Atlanta is not nearly as explosive as they were at the start of the season, they have the DPS firepower to carry the team to the top. Joon "Erster" Jeong continues to prove that he is one of the best projectile DPS players of the league -- especially on his tried-and-true Genji. With DPS partner Andrej "Babybay" Francisty stabilizing his own hitscan play down the line, Atlanta might just be one of the wild cards as the season comes to a close.
8. Seoul Dynasty
Record: 1-2 | Map W/L/T: 5-8-0 | Map Diff: -3 | Change: +5
The Seoul Dynasty snatched their first victory of the stage last week in a nail-biting 3-2 series win against the Los Angeles Valiant. The match saw DPS Park "Illicit" Je-min putting forth a standout performance, coming up big in crucial moments, and earning Player of the Match honors. On the back of Illicit's star power and the steady guidance of veteran Ryu "Ryujehong" Je-hong -- who found his way back into the starting lineup this week -- the team is slowly recovering from its disappointing first week.
The Dynasty has been on the verge of being considered a top team all season long, but they'll have to work a little harder and tighten up their play some more if they want to finally earn that status -- and, more importantly, secure a top-six spot for the playoffs.
9. Los Angeles Valiant
Record: 2-1 | Map W/L/T: 8-6-0 | Map Diff: +2 | Change: -3
The Valiant have done everything possible to find their way this high in the rankings, but they took a hit due to a close loss against the Seoul Dynasty. While some teams have been pardoned for close 2-3 losses, Los Angeles in particular looked disorganized against a struggling Seoul team. Whether it was positional mistakes at support from Scott "Custa" Kennedy or a general lack of team cohesion, something always stopped the Valiant from looking at the top of their game. Still, Indy "Space" Halpern is one of the best D.Va players in the league, and it's clear how much of a difference he made in keeping the match close. Moving forward, Los Angeles will continue to be a top team, but it's starting to look like the Gladiators are once again the better hometown team.
10. Shanghai Dragons
Record: 1-2 | Map W/L/T: 5-6-1 | Map Diff: -1 | Change: -7
Well, Shanghai has certainly hit a wall again. Despite winning the most recent stage championship, the Dragons struggled to compete in a series against one of the league's weakest teams in the Toronto Defiant. Still, it's only the start of a new stage, and the meta shakeup actually affects Shanghai's approach despite the team already being more DPS-focused. Shanghai excelled in the last stage with triple-DPS comps, but now the team is limited to two, with Mei being a more common fixture. The Dragons are taking a hit now, but with more time, the Shanghai are certain to climb up on the back of their incredible Pharah and Sombra duo of Yang "Dding" Jin-hyeok and Bae "Diem" Min-seong.