Sigma, Ashe nerfed in latest Overwatch live patch

Wrecking Ball will also be a little less indestructible as he rolls into battle.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch’s latest dynamic tank duo may not be making many appearances after the game’s latest live patch. Today’s patch targeted tanks Sigma and Wrecking Ball, who have been seeing remarkable playing time in high-level competitive mode matches. Damage dealer Ashe also got a sizable nerf to her primary weapon. 

Players learned over the past few months that Sigma and Wrecking Ball had exploitable skills that made them disruptive and powerful in the face of many strategies. Sigma’s powerful shield and damage absorption elevated him above all other shield tanks while Wrecking Ball’s ability to survive in the enemy backline made him a must-pick for speedy team compositions. This live patch targets many of these overpowered talents.   

Tank changes 

Sigma 

  • Experimental Barrier redeploy cooldown increased from one to 2.5 seconds. 

This huge nerf for Sigma arrives unchanged directly from the Jan. 7 Experimental Card, where the developers more than doubled the redeploy cooldown. Players will now have to be more strategic with their use of the Experimental Barrier considering the extensive cooldown time. A change of this magnitude should help reduce Sigma’s pick rate in competitive matches. 

Wrecking Ball 

  • Adaptive Shield per target reduced from 100 to 75. 

For months, Wrecking Ball has actively replaced tanks like D.Va and Winston as the superior choice in speedy, dive-like compositions. When combined with Sigma, teams have a strong frontline tank and an incredibly disruptive hamster rolling through the enemy backline. The goal for any Wrecking Ball player is to dive into the fray, use Adaptive Shields to rack up protection, get a kill and escape as quickly as possible. 

This reduction in shields should make Wrecking Ball a bit easier to deal with, especially if heroes with crowd control abilities, like Brigitte or Mei, are used against him. 

Damage changes 

Ashe 

  • The Viper’s Aim-down-sights damage reduced from 80 to 75. Aim-down-sights recovery time reduced from 0.7 to 0.65 seconds. 

Gunslinger Ashe has been the top choice for high-level DPS players in most compositions lately. This is due to her ability to one-shot most 200-health heroes when damage boosted by a Mercy player. Combined with Dynamite, which inflicts area-of-effect damage that can destroy low-health targets, her primary weapon was considered overpowered by many players. 

“We are lowering the maximum damage but also the shot recovery time to keep her overall damage output relatively the same,” the developers said. It should now be more difficult for players to one-shot most heroes. With the Viper’s reduced recovery time and reduced damage, Ashe players will have to hit multiple shots in a row to complete a kill. 

Hanzo 

  • Storm Arrow shot recovery time reduced from 0.3 to 0.25 seconds. 

Hanzo is rolling into the new year as the face of the Kanezaka Challenge, which offers an Epic skin, as well as a minor buff to his Storm Arrow ability. While Hanzo has also been a popular choice among damage dealers over the past few months, he was never able to stand up to Ashe’s damage output. This buff reduces the fire time between Storm Arrow shots so Hanzo can shred shields or take out targets faster.  

Bug fixes 

Every patch, Overwatch developers fix a handful of minor bugs that have appeared in the game. These normally aren’t very interesting, but the Jan. 12 patch includes a major fix that many players have been waiting for. 

For over a month, the Overwatch Contenders Genji skin has had an incredibly obtrusive black box around its player picture, normally found in the bottom left of the screen. While the skin could still technically be used, the presence of the box was so disorienting that most players couldn’t rock the black and green skin. The black box has been removed in today’s patch.