Overwatch’s Meta is Changing, But Not Because of Ana

While its recent patch came with a new hero, Overwatch's meta-game is changing in a big way thanks to numerous other changes to its existing roster.

Over the past two weeks, most of Overwatch’s headlines were dueto the announcement of its 22nd hero, the support sniper named Ana.Her addition has now given the game at least five heroes in each ofthe game’s four roles (Offense, Defense, Tank, Support) and herabilities are unique and have the potential to be game-changing attimes. As with any unique character-based game like Overwatch, anew addition to the pool has the potential to shake up themeta.

But after many hours of playtime in both Quick Play andCompetitive, as well as her inception to tournament andprofessional play, it’s easy to see that Ana is solelydestined to be a supplemental pick at times, at least in hercurrent iteration.

Ana has potential to be strong, but other Supports do her job better right now. Ana has potential to be strong, but other Supports do herjob better right now.

Ana’s Biotic Rifle heals teammates and damages enemies, but boththe heal and damage output are done better by other heroes in thegame. And that’s what it all boils down to: what hero can do itsjob in its role the best?

Along with Ana came a brand new update for the game that brought alarge amount of balancing tweaks and changes to multiple heroes.The meta is changing in a big way, but it’s not becauseof Ana.

Zenyatta’s Return to Glory

For a long time, the Supports in play were restricted to Mercyand Lucio. They’ve both seen minor changes in the update butare still incredibly viable for their own reasons. The biggestchange to the Support game, though, came to everyone’s favoriteOmnic Monk, Zenyatta.

Zenyatta is now a must thanks to his recent buffs. Zenyatta is now a must thanks to his recentbuffs.

  • Base shields increased by 50 (now 50 Health/150Shield)
  • Primary fire weapon damage decreased from 45 to40
  • Alternate fire weapon damage increased from 35 to40
  • Orb of Discord and Orb of Harmony
    • Projectile speed has been increased from 30 to 120
  • Transcendence
    • Movement speed is now doubled upon activation
    • Healing amount increased from 200 to 300 health persecond

 

Once one of the squishiest heroes in the game, Zenyatta’sadditional 50 shields now makes him markedly more survivable. Asthe +50 shields regenerate over time, his ability to stay in thefight has never been better.

Zenyatta has always been dangerous thanks to his Orb of Discord,but the acceleration of the speed of it from 30 to 120 makes him amust-play, as it increases the amount of damage taken by the targetby 50%. Not to be left out is his Ultimate ability, asTranscendence turns him into a speed demon that can contest a pointand heal teammates with force. 

The days of only seeing Mercy and Lucio as Supports are over, asmost if not all pro teams have switched to using Zenyatta asSupport 1 and Mercy or Lucio as Support 2 depending on the map andsituation.

D.Va is Finally a Real Tank

Another one of the biggest and most notable changes came toD.Va, who rarely saw time in pro play other than sometimes being alast-minute switch to contest a final objective point. With thechanges made to her abilities, she’s now a common sight in thecurrent 2 DPS, 2 Tank, 2 Support meta.

The buffs to D.Va took her from irrelevance to common-play. The buffs to D.Va took her from irrelevance tocommon-play.

  • Defense Matrix
    • Cooldown decreased from 10 seconds to 1 second
    • A new resource meter has been added. This meter willdeplete while Defense Matrix is active and then recharge whenit’s not in use.
      • Defense Matrix takes 10 seconds to reach full charge fromempty
      • At a full charge, Defense Matrix will last for 4seconds
      • Defense Matrix will now remain active as long as itsassigned hotkey is held
    • Defense Matrix has been reclassified as an alternate fireand is now bound to RMB (by default)
      • An option to “Toggle Defense Matrix” has beenadded under Options > Controls > D.Va
  • Self-Destruct
    • Ultimate cost decreased by 15%
    • Explosion delay reduced from 4 seconds to 3seconds
    • Explosion no longer damages D.Va (the player who activatesit)

 

The changes to D.Va’s Defense Matrix now make her feel like anactual tank that has survivability, whereas in the past she wasquick to be melted by DPS characters thanks to her large headshothitbox. The ability to toggle Defense Matrix gives her much moreflexibility when contesting a point and flying into a teamfight.

D.Va’s Self-Destruct Ultimate ability is now much moredangerous, too, thanks to a decrease in explosion delay from fourseconds to three seconds. Coupled with the fact that the explosionno longer damages the D.Va that activates it, her Ultimate is nolonger just for clearing an objective. It can do serious damage ifused correctly to surprise a team without a Reinhardt shield tosoak up the blast.

Overwatch esports, AKA McCree-sports

When the game first launched, McCree was an absolute devastatorwith his ‘Fan the Hammer’ right click ability that emptied hissix-round chamber into an enemy. It melted tanks and squishiesalike, and it got toned down in the game’s first balance update.When this happened, McCree quickly faded into obscurity as Soldier:76 and Pharah saw a lot of DPS playtime.

Now, Jesse McCree is back with a vengeance, this time with hisleft click.

McCree's right click was nerfed into oblivion, but now is left click is a DPS monster. McCree’s right click was nerfed into oblivion, but now hisleft click is a monster.

  • Peacekeeper
    • Now maintains full damage at longer distances, but willdeal less damage at extreme ranges

 

The change may seem minor at first, but McCree’s primary fire isnow a game-changer in the DPS department. Accurate damage-doerswill now two or three-shot squishy heroes at most ranges, and hisheadshot has the ability to once again destroy Tanks like Roadhogand Reinhardt. Plus, Pharah is now a risky pick at all times as sheis easily countered by both McCree and Soldier: 76.

Pro play has quickly seen a shift back to using McCree asprimary DPS players have flocked back to theoutlaw-turned-Overwatch member. His kit was already strong,especially his flashbang and Ultimate, but he is now a constantthreat in the field of play that should be focused nearly as muchas Supports. When McCree is alive, the whole enemy team is indanger.


Bastion, Lucio, Roadhog, Mercy and Soldier: 76 all saw minortweaks as well in the update, but the changes to Zenyatta, D.Va andMcCree have brought them front and center to the currentmeta. 

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