We are a month removed from the Jan. 24 patch by Blizzard that change multiple characters in an attempt to balance out the meta and allow for more hero diversity. Ana, Roadhog and D.Va all got hit with significant nerfs, while Sombra was given a small buff to help out the hero. Some members in the community expected this patch not to change much, while others saw it as the possible death of quad-tank compositions.
Ana saw a change to her Biotic Grenade that was meant to heal allies less and last less time than before. D.Va had health changes that saw her armor and health swap places, giving her a larger health pool and making her less tanky overall. She also saw a minor change to her Fusion Cannons with slightly reduced damage, but increased bullets per shot, spreading the damage out over more hits. The change to Roadhog’s Chain Hook has been dubbed Hook 2.0. Before this change, there would be times where a Roadhog could hook a target that had gone around the corner and this made the ability hard to dodge and not give players much counter play around it. If the target is pulled in, the hero will be pulled in front of Roadhog instead of into him making it easier for Roadhog’s to secure a kill on a hooked target. This made the hook more consistent overall for both sides. Finally, Sombra saw a small buff to her Hack that made it faster, and easier, to hack enemies.
As a result of this patch, the meta has changed from quad-tank comps to a variety of compositions that feature many different heroes. The hero that has seen the biggest reduction in play is D.Va. She has gone from a pre-patch pick rate of close to 80%, to 25% after the patch. This is a massive reduction in play time for D.Va showing that the nerf had a big impact on her specifically. Reinhardt has seen a small drop in play from 94% to 80% and Roadhog has gone from 60% to 46%. The Reinhardt reduce in play may be due to a variety of factors where new heroes have been picked more that Reinhardt does not play well into. Roadhog’s reduction is play is a result of the change to his hook and the dissolution of quad-tank comps.
The New Starters
DPS heroes have all seen a rise in play with Tracer, Soldier and Genji seeing the most time played because teams are using more DPS heroes in the new meta. Pharah has recently become a popular hero among some teams due to her freedom in the air against some compositions. Zarya and Winston are the two tanks that are being played more. Zarya is thought of as one of the strongest heroes in the game currently and her ultimate is a massive game-changing ability. With the emergence of dive-comps, Winston fits perfectly in this type of comp because of his great mobility.
Some heroes have seen a smaller change in play. Ana has seen an incredibly small drop in play, showing that the patch did not really hurt her and she is still one of the top two supports in the game currently. Sombra has seen a small drop in play as well despite being buffed in the patch. Blizzard has not found the right part of her kit to target to make her viable pick in the current meta. Due to the rise in Pharah play and the overall increase of DPS picks, McCree has seen a small increase of play to counter that. Widowmaker is also a hero that has been a situational pick in certain teams going from 0.46% picked to 4.45%.
Overall, the patch did have a significant impact on the meta as there are more champions picked now than before and teams are experimenting with different compositions. Quad-tank comps that featured two healers has gone from 25.22% picked to 2.18%. This is a result of the patch change and APEX Season 2 playing more matches as the Korean teams did not play much quad-tank comps, but usually dive comps. Some dive comps would include two DPS, two healers, and two tanks and that form of composition has gone from 18% to 48% picked. The other popular comp that has also seen a small reductions in play is the one DPS, triple tank, and two healer selection that has given some of its’ ground to the 2 of everything composition. After looking at all the stats, the patch did have a statistically significant impact on the meta and I wonder if teams will experiment with more picks and composition styles before another patch hits, also what heroes Blizzard will target in their next patch.
What champions do you want to see Blizzard change next? Tweet us your thoughts @GAMURScom