Overwatch League power rankings heading into Stage 2

ESPN Esports Overwatch League Stage 2 Power Rankings (5:35)

Tyler "Fionn" Erzberger joins Treavor Scales to break down which teams are the ones to beat heading into Stage 2 of Overwatch League. (5:35)

After 12 hours, three matches, and one historic reverse-sweep comeback later, the London Spitfire became the first champion in Overwatch League history, being crowned the Stage 1 champion. Since then, more than half the teams in the league have reported roster moves heading into Stage 2. Only a quarter of the way into the full season, every team, including the winless Shanghai Dragons, still have a chance at cracking the top six and making it to the Overwatch League postseason come the summer.

Based on their prior Stage 1 performances and reported roster moves, here's how we think the teams stack up heading into Stage 2 of the season.

1. New York Excelsior

Movement from Stage 1: None

London or New York? It's the question everyone will be having to go into Stage 2, seeing as NYXL has the best record in the league at 9-1. London, sitting at 7-3, lost to NYXL in the regular season but came back the very same night to take home the Stage 1 title. New York, outside of its slip up in the Stage final, was the most consistent team throughout the entire first quarter of the season. When London was having its weeks where it didn't even look like a playoff team, the XL was chugging along, picking up wins against the best teams in the competition. New York's only loss, the Philadelphia Fusion, was a five-game series that went down to the wire, and the team was adamant following the defeat that it was its own fault for looking ahead towards its next matchup with rival Seoul Dynasty and overlooking the Fusion.

The team still needs to prove it can win in the clutch. The XL core is made up by LuxuryWatch Blue, which had a habit of playing under expectations in high-importance matches, but it's too early to be worrying about the past just yet. New York has a two-game lead on everyone in the league, and even without a Stage 1 title, the NYXL are still the king of the competition going into Stage 2.

2. London Spitfire

Movement from Stage 1: None

Congratulations to the Spitfire on winning the Stage 1 championship. Now, it's a question on if the high powered London squad can continue its form for more than just a week at a time. The Spitfire put on its best performance of the season in back-to-back matches when its back was against the wall, first taking down the Houston Outlaws in the Stage 1 semifinal before pulling off the magical reverse-sweep of New York to take home the title. The good thing for London fans is that the team is slowly starting to piece together what lineups work best for the team, and the synergy between the GC Busan members and Kongdoo Panthera members, which once seemed like a wide gap, has been worked through in the first quarter of the season. If London can play like it did in the Stage 1 playoffs throughout the entirety of Stage 2, the Spitfire will be the top team in the league. But I don't know if I'm ready to make that bet just yet.

3. Houston Outlaws

Movement from Stage 1: +1

Should we just rename the Houston Outlaws to Team United States (starring Finland's Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin)? With the signing of free-agent tank player Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell, the Outlaws can now field four of the six members of the 2017 Overwatch World Cup American team that gave eventual winner South Korea its toughest match in the tournament. After starting 0-2, Houston put on the best run of any team in Stage 1, taking seven out of its last eight games to make an unpredictable charge into the playoffs before losing to the Spitfire in the semifinal. Overall, Houston is the only team without a South Korean starter in the roster to have a record above .500 following Stage 1, and it is only aiming higher as the season shifts to the second quarter. Playoffs were a nice accomplishment for the Outlaws in Stage 1. A finals appearance and a championship is the goal in Stage 2.

4. Seoul Dynasty

Movement from Stage 1: -1

After being heralded as the top team in the Overwatch League from preseason to being the last team in the league to drop a match, the Seoul Dynasty didn't even make the Stage 1 playoffs. Seoul fell apart in the final two weeks of the season, first falling to rival NYXL before dropping two more matches and getting eliminated from the Stage 1 postseason. The team's juggling of its starting lineup worked for the first part of Stage 1, but by the end of the Stage, teams had figured out the Dynasty's identity, and the over reliance on ace Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun was exploited.

The Mercy meta also forced the team's star support duo of Yang "Tobi" Jin-mo, the world's best Lucio, and Ryu "Ryujehong" Je-hong, the world's best Ana, to be on the angelic healer for the majority of Stage 1, limiting the team's overall play. With Lucio looking to come back into the meta, Mercy falling out of favor, and Seoul being the greatest benefactors of the meta changes going into Stage 2, Seoul should return to being a top three team sooner rather than later.

Still, one major worry remains for the Dynasty, even with the shift in meta, that being the team's former stalwart tank Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk. The former Winston king has had an unremarkable start to the Overwatch League, and his struggles can't be brushed off due to the meta. Winston was a constant top tier hero through the opening month of the season, and Miro didn't deliver on the character that he revolutionized. He'll need to step it up if the Dynasty wants to be Stage 2 champion.

5. Boston Uprising

Movement from Stage 1: None

It was a crazy Stage 1 for the Uprising. When the season started, not finishing in dead last would have been seen as an accomplishment. The roster, made up primarily of unknown North American talent and South Korean players from non-top tier squads, lacked on paper. Over the course of five weeks, the Uprising went from a joke to a contender, and Boston was a single map away against Houston in the final regular season game of Stage 1 from making it into the playoffs. The most impressive thing about the Uprising is that the team wasn't satisfied by its 6-4 record following a 1-3 start and barely missing the playoffs; the team was disappointed. The players believe they can win the entire Overwatch League, and the diligence instilled by team president Christopher "Huk" Loranger has turned Boston into a never-give-up side that has embraced the city's hard-nosed culture.

6. Los Angeles Valiant

Movement from Stage 1: None

When it comes to the teams from third to sixth in the rankings, there is an argument that can be made for any of the teams to be at the third spot. The Valiant, like the Uprising, barely missed making the Stage 1 playoffs, will be happy with its positioning maneuvering into Stage 2. At 7-3, the team sits atop of the Pacific division and is undoubtedly the top team from Los Angeles after the first quarter of the season.

The team's greatest strength is also its most annoying trait: When time is ticking down and the Valiant need to make plays, there is no team better in the league than pulling a rabbit out of its hat than the Los Angeles slide. Time and time again in Stage 1 the Valiant would pull off a ridiculous save in the final seconds of an overtime round and extend what looked to be a lost map into an unexpected victory. If the Valiant could play like it does in those do-or-die moments for an entire round, we wouldn't be talking about if it could contend for a playoff spot -- we would be discussing if the Valiant is the best team in all of Overwatch League.

7. Philadelphia Fusion

Movement from Stage 1: None

The "P" in Philadelphia could also stand for purgatory because that's where it feels like the Fusion is after the first quarter of the season. The Fusion is neither a good team nor a bad team. Philadelphia can play close with any team in the league -- showcased by being the only team to beat the NYXL in the Stage 1 regular season -- and that's a double-edged sword. For its fantastic win against New York, there is also that series against the Shanghai Dragons where the Fusion should have probably been the team to give Shanghai its first win in franchise history. You never know what result you're going to get with the Fusion, except that it's going to more often than not come down to the final map, regardless of the opponent's skill level. At 6-4, the Fusion appear to be among one of the elites in the league, but its -4 point different tells a different story. The skill is there, especially at the DPS position, but Philly's boom or bust approach isn't the recipe for postseason success.

8. Dallas Fuel

Movement from Stage 1: +2

We now go from the teams with winning records to the bottom five teams who are all 4-6 or worse. For Dallas, this isn't where it expected itself to be a quarter into the season. The Fuel was a championship or bust team in the preseason, and now even being in contention for a playoff spot come the end of the year will be seen as a huge success for a club that began the season with a 1-7 scoreline. Luckily for the Fuel, things are looking up for the team. Dallas went 2-0 in the final week of Stage 1, and it will be getting help in terms of talent as the season turns to a new page. Dylan "aKm" Bignet will hope to bring some much-needed consistency to the Fuel, and the reported transfer of Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun could be the move that reignites Dallas back into the playoff race. It will also be interesting to see what kind of impact tank player FĂ©lix "xQc" Lengyel has on the team after returning to the lineup following the team-mandated suspension that kept him off the roster for most of Stage 1.

9. Los Angeles Gladiators

Movement from Stage 1: None

"Shields Up" is the perfect moniker for the Gladiators if the reported signing of Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung comes to fruition. The Gladiators needed a stronger frontline, and with the Spitfire's wealth of talent on its roster, Fissure needed a place where he could be a starter. Both sides need the other, and Fissure can now step into a more starring role on the Gladiators after being settled on the bench for London for the team's run to the Stage 1 championship. Fissure's signing gives the Gladiators a shot at being one of the breakout teams in Stage 2.

10. San Francisco Shock

Movement from Stage 1: -2

Unlike the other teams at the bottom of the table, the Shock didn't make any big moves in the offseason between Stages 1 and 2. Instead, the team is waiting on two of its players, Jay "Sinatraa" Won and Matthew "Super" DeLisi to turn 18 and become of age to play in March, believing in the American-born duo to be the spark the team needs to turn around the stage. 3-7 wasn't a surprising finish for a team missing its expected ace at the DPS role, but the team has defied critics with how close it has played some of the better teams in the league. Although the 10th team in the rankings, San Francisco has distanced itself from the bottom two.

11. Florida Mayhem

Movement from Stage 1: None

Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo was one of the best free-agents available, and the Mayhem scooped up the Meta Athena star to give its team a game changer it desperately needed to compete with the other teams in the league. Time will tell if the incorporation South Korean talent and staff is what the 1-9 Mayhem needed to save its season. Silver lining: The Mayhem needed to do something, and even if the experiment doesn't work out, it's not like it can do much worse than Stage 1.

12. Shanghai Dragons

Movement from Stage 1: None

When the Dragons get its full starting roster to Los Angeles, this team will not be the worst in the Overwatch League any longer. Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon and Lee "Fearless" Eui-seok will finally give the Dragons a reliable tank duo, Chon "Ado" Gi-hyeon is the Genji and projectile specialist the team desperately needed, and the signing of top Chinese support Junjian "Sky" He might be the best of all. It's going to take time for visas to be approved and for the South Korean players to learn Mandarin to communicate with their new teammates, but the foundation for the future has been laid down for the Dragons. Stage 2 might not be where we see this team's full potential, though by the end of the year this might be a team capable of battling for a Stage 4 postseason slot if the stars align.