Gladiators thrive in new meta; Junkrat nerf slows Outlaws

Overwatch League Power Rankings through March 6 (4:10)

There's a new team in the top spot after Houston took a tumble this week. Find out who takes their place as Emily Rand joins Phil Murphy for the Overwatch League Power Rankings. (4:10)

The Houston Outlaws started Stage 2 of the Overwatch League with a statement victory over the Stage 1 champion London Spitfire. And Houston followed it up later in the week with its league-leading fifth sweep of an opponent in a win over the Boston Uprising.

But this past week saw the Outlaws struggle mightily, losing both matches to the Philadelphia Fusion and New York Excelsior and prompting a tweet from one of Houston's main carries, Jake "JAKE" Lyon:

"#ggs @NYXL ... we have a lot to work on this patch, gonna take every lesson we can and come back stronger," he said.

Tracer overtakes the meta

In this new meta, JAKE has played 1 hour and 46 minutes on Tracer, already 15 minutes more than he played the hero last stage. Both he and his team have suffered as a result. Of the 12 league players who have logged at least an hour and a half on the hero, JAKE has the fewest kills per 10 minutes (5.8) and most deaths per 10 minutes (6.8), according to Winston's Lab.

In Stage 1, JAKE played more than three times the amount of Junkrat as he did Tracer, but the current patch of the game reduces Junkrat's effectiveness. JAKE has shied away from his iconic hero this stage, playing only 42 minutes of it even though his numbers still support him playing the hero (9.5 kills per 10, 5.0 deaths per 10).

Houston is also struggling a bit on the newly introduced Stage 2 maps. It was 0-3 on Route 66 and 1-2 on Volskaya Industries going into this week, the two maps in which Tracer has the highest global pick percentage (96 percent and 97 percent, respectively). If JAKE is tasked with playing Tracer this often, his performance likely will need to improve for Houston to keep its place in the standings.

It comes as no surprise that, according to Winston's Lab, the two teams with the strongest showings in Stage 2 (Seoul and London) have the only two players who have put up player ratings over 1,100 on Tracer in Byeon "munchkin" Sang-beom and Park "Profit" Joon-yeong.

Gladiators show some control

The Los Angeles Gladiators spent Stage 1 in the bottom half of the league, going 4-6. Stage 2 has started out much better for the Gladiators, going 2-2 with one of the losses coming against the hottest team in the league, the Seoul Dynasty. The Dynasty have spent the first two weeks of the stage trouncing teams, accumulating a 13-0-3 map record in the process.

On Friday, the Gladiators were able to take a control map off the Dynasty and raised their control map record to 4-0, becoming the only team in the league to be undefeated on control maps in Stage 2 going into this week.

In Stage 1, the Gladiators went 4-6 on control maps running a dive composition. The main composition switch with the new patch was to put Benjamin "BigG00se" Isohanni more on Lucio instead of Mercy, whose effectiveness was significantly reduced with the new patch. Sporting the second best kill-per-death ratio among Lucio players this stage (minimum one hour of play), BigG00se has thrived with the new pick.