With role lock being implemented for Stage 4, many potent weapons might soon be getting more playtime. In the previous meta, DPS players were required to play damage dealers like Sombra and Widowmaker while also flexing to off-tank heroes like Zarya or supports like Brigitte. A 2-2-2 roster lock requiring two damage heroes in all comps means there’s now less pressure on DPS specialists to flex their hero pool.
Below, I list five players you should look out for heading into Stage 4, as well as the teams that could get a bit of a bump in terms of their power ranking.
Jae-Hyeok "Carpe" Lee
Future fans of the Overwatch League might find themselves pondering how the eighth-seeded Philadelphia Fusion managed a miracle run all the way to the 2018 Grand Finals. Any investigation into league history will tell the tale of one player in particular, whose efforts are legendary. That player is Carpe.
Few outcomes have been sadder this season than the Fusion looking like a shadow of its former 2018 self. Carpe has spent 80% of his 2019 playtime on Zarya—a hero that he won’t be remembered for when the dust settles on the meta that powered the first three stages of 2019.
If Philadelphia has any aspirations of playing in their hometown for the 2019 Grand Finals, Carpe will have to once again facilitate himself as an elite player capable of turning fights around by his lonesome, due to his lethal Widowmaker and a crazy-good Tracer. If he does, all will be right in the world again.
Chung-Hee "Stitch" Lee
Prior to the Stage 3 Playoffs, Stitch managed roughly two hours of league playtime this season, compared to the 18(!) hours of his DPS comrade Hyo-Jong "Haksal" Kim. But with Stitch reintroducing himself on Sombra, now’s your opportunity to jump on the hype train early.
While Sombra might continue to be a big part of the meta moving forward, it is definitely not the only look Stitch can throw at us. He made a reputation for himself in 2017 as one of the premier Tracer and McCree players in the world. Replacing Min-Soo ”Seominsoo” Seo with a hitscan specialist in the starting roster might just be what Vancouver needs to continue their dominance in the Overwatch League.
Jun-Young "Profit" Park
“Oh yes, Profit! The 2018 Grand Finals MVP!” Well, while his elite DPS reputation might find itself intact, the fact that Profit has recorded over 90% of his playtime this season on Zarya, Sombra, and Brigitte is a shame for any Tracer or Genji enthusiasts out there.
Capable of playing almost any damage dealer at a world-class level, his good performances on Zarya don’t do him justice. Fortunately, the league is about to get cranked into overdrive in Stage 4, with beasts like Profit leading the charge.
The London Spitfire currently find themselves in seventh place in the overall standings, but with a relatively easy Stage 4 schedule and the expectation that Profit can turn up the volume to his Grand Finals MVP level, challenging the current top teams to close out the season should be expected.
Byung-Sun "Fleta" Kim
So far in the 2019 Overwatch League season, Fleta has spent over 85% of his time playing on Zarya and Brigitte, and, well, if that’s the only Fleta you know, you’ve missed out.
There’s a reason that Fleta has a statistical feat named after him by our internal stats producer, Ben “CaptainPlanet” Trautman. This accomplishment is simply known as the “Fleta Deadlift,” in which a player records more than 50% of a team’s final blows across an entire map. It’s happened only six times in a map win over nearly two seasons.
At the start of 2018, Fleta had an accruing reputation similar to the likes of Carpe and Profit, but ultimately the Seoul Dynasty failed to qualify for the inaugural season playoffs. However, with role lock being introduced, and with Seoul holding their ground at sixth overall in the standings, Fleta has the opportunity to ascend the ladder as a great DPS threat and carry the Dynasty to a season playoff spot and more.
Zachary "Zachareee" Lombardo
The Dallas Fuel’s recent struggles might not be solved overnight, but role lock might be the right push that they need in order to have a shot to qualify for the postseason play-ins. Originally picked up for his versatile hero pool, including everything from Sombra and Doomfist to Tracer and Widowmaker, Zachareee has spent 82.3% of his playtime this season on Brigitte! Sure, as the Fuel’s Swiss army knife, you’d expect him to adapt to any required heros, but I really doubt that what we’ve seen from him so far is the player we’ll know him for in the future.
The 18-year-old might not have made a positive impression on you so far this season, but with this much mechanical skill at his age, Zachareee might be more of a DPS prodigy than you think.
Stage 4 gets underway on Thursday, July 25, when the Houston Outlaws (8-13) take on the Paris Eternal (8-13) at 4 p.m. PDT. Watch all 2019 season matches live and on demand on overwatchleague.com, the Overwatch League app, ourTwitch channel, MLG.com, and the MLG app.