We are a week removed from DreamHack and far from a solved metagame. There are some big events in the first half of December and a lot of room for teams to adapt and innovate prior to these events. DreamHack itself was a phenomenal event. If you missed it, check out the VODs of the semifinal and finals here. This tournament gave us our first real peek into the meta game and it looks pretty great so far:
Looking at these numbers says a lot. Lucio is still automatic, Soldier:76 is the most played DPS character (by a 2:1 margin) and heavy tank compositions are clearly still very popular. These numbers also don’t tell you the entire story. They almost hide some crucial information. If we look at the numbers, Reinhardt looks fine. He has a healthy pick rate, over 90%, clearly he is a go to tank. The reality, though, may surprise you.
I am a well known Reinhardt hater. I think he is a well designed character, I want one on my team and I don’t even mind when the other team has one. I just hate playing him, and I have avoided playing him at all costs. Since the patch, I haven’t been able to avoid this feeling that I was crushing opposing Reinhardts far easier than in the past. And at the same time, I felt like my Reinhardt was useless. Even when it was my friend Afterthought was playing him. We have a lot of play hours together, I trust his tank play. If you are worried I may be biased, take it from Rogue’s Reinforce. He wrote a GREAT article about his experience at the OGN tournament and adapting to the new meta mid-event. So… is Reinhardt bad in the current meta? Can a 5 million HP shield possibly be bad?! In short, yea.
Listen, I’m not putting him in old Symmetra tier. He isn’t useless. I even played him a bit to make sure. (never. again.) When I played cautious and passive, I was able to do some work and organize my team for fights as Reinhardt. By all means, keep playing him in comp. But for the higher tiers and tournament play, I think we will see Rein drop down to 60% or so play very soon. Simply put, D.Va and Roadhog are seeing a lot more play. At the World Cup, D.Va was utilized under 5% of the time and Road Hog was under 20%. Each of these character’s guns are very adept at tearing through the opposing team’s shields. And if you add a Soldier:76 shelling out absurd damage 100% of the time he is alive, you can’t rely on the shield to carry you through to the front lines anymore. Someone is going to get picked off before you even reach the other team.
So where does the meta go from here? Dive comp? D.Va is a good dive tank, so this might make sense, but she can’t get aggressive for the same reasons the Reinhardt shield feels like tissue paper. The opposing tanks are too good up close and she simply gets melted, if she gets overly aggressive. She fares a little better than Winston in this regard, but it still isn’t a plan I want to try and execute.
Heavy tank comps may, in the end, reign supreme through this meta as well. Removing the speed increase from nano boost has killed Reaper so far, his isn’t even seeing play 10% of the time. But Misfits never plays it and they were the ones to leave Dreamhack as champions, so I have my doubts.
So What Will It Be?
Do you remeber the way top level matches played out prior to the old widow nerf? Everyone staying in their corners, grouped up, waiting for a pick while trying like hell to not peek the widow and get insta-gibbed? I expect this meta to be something similar. Less Widowmaker, sure, but there will be some. Hanzo and Roadhog are also great for getting those early picks and punishing players who get separated from their squad. I also expect a lot of poke wars. Pharah will be good for these games and if it wasn’t for the presence of soldier, I think she would be played in almost every match.
Defense has a big advantage in metas like this. With perfect positioning, they should hold. The burden to make the heroic play isn’t on them anymore, like during the dive comp days. This, along with my proposal that Reinhardt feels weak right now might just bring Symmetra back into the mix. With an advantage to the defense, she is far more likely to make it to her teleporter and actually contribute to the defensive effort. Her new kit, to be updated after season 3 starts, includes a Reinhardt like shield. Now you can push aggressively when you have the advantage, from behind cover.
As for supports, if you thought Lucio was going anywhere, you must have missed the last few podcast episodes. As long as he provides a speed boost to his entire team, he will be played. And if one team plays him, the other one absolutely has to. The second support is currently a mix of Zenyatta and Ana, which is what I think it settles as. Personally, I like Ana on attack and Zenyatta on defense. Certain maps change things and Zen feels better on KotH to me, but we will have to see how teams handle my least favorite game mode. Zen can feel pretty weak against the back line harassers of Genji, Tracer and Sombra.
What heroes do you think will make a big splash this season?
Until Next Time,
About The Author
Many of you will know me from the podcast, but my name is Jim. You can call me DeathBlow. I have been a host of the High Noon Podcast for over a year now. On the show, we talk primarily about the eSports scene and I wanted to expand some of my thoughts via the blog on our website.
You can listen to new episodes of @HighNoonPodcast every Wednesday on iTunes, Stitcher, Sound Cloud and YouTube. You can also watch us record it live on twitch, Mondays at 7 (ish).
About High Noon
The competitive Overwatch podcast.