Overwatch

Overwatch League Hero Spotlight: Moira

Stage 1 of the Overwatch League began on January 10th and ended on February 10th; let’s look back throughout Stage 1 to see how the hero Moira impacted games. Moira, a support hero, who was released earlier in the year, saw some playtime due to her unique kit which other supports don’t provide – area-of-effect healing. Teams in the Overwatch League crafted specific strategies around her on maps such as Horizon Lunar Colony and Junkertown, enabling them to catch teams off guard and achieve success. Moira is one of the main reasons that Quad-Tank compositions are being seen more frequently within the game.

Impact of Quad-Tank

Known as the Deathball approach, the Quad-Tank + Moira + Lucio approach is nearly unkillable: due to the large health-pools on tanks and sustained area-of-effect healing by Moira. Teams mainly use this strategy on Horizon Lunar Colony, forcing teams who have set up a high ground defense to engage them on the capture point. By removing the high ground advantage that defensive teams have, attacking teams can force a team fight that is favorable for them, usually resulting in an easy take on the first capture point. The clip below is from Stage 1 Week 3 between the Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior, showing how the NYXL successfully used the Quad-Tank + Moira composition against the Dynasty.

Countering Quad-Tank

Although nearly unkillable, a few teams have managed to stop the impact of a Quad-Tank composition. By getting an early kill on one of the healers, negating the push, or quickly generating their hero’s ultimate charge off the enemy tanks, teams have been able to reduce the composition’s effectiveness. Seoul Dynasty’s Byung-Sun “FLETA” Kim sets a record time for generating Junkrat’s ultimate – Riptire, allowing him to stop NYXL’s Quad-Tank push in overtime. The clip below is from a later moment in the same map between the Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior. The Seoul Dynasty also end up winning the map: Map 2 Horizon Lunar Colony 5-4.

Quad-Tank on Junkertown

In addition to its use on Horizon Lunar Colony, Quad-Tank has also seen little play on Junkertown. Teams mainly run Quad-Tank as a stalling strategy on Junkertown or use it occasionally to deny Widowmaker’s impact. With large health-pools on tanks, teams are forced to adapt and figure out a solution if they want to overcome this strategy. Below is a clip from the London Spitfire vs Philadelphia Fusion game in Week 1, showing just how hard it is to deal with four tanks on the enemy team.

Stage 2 Outlook

Although, not impossible to counter, it’s clear that a Quad-Tank composition is effective when executed well and used in the right situation. In addition to Moira’s abundance of area-of-effect healing, she can also deal with enemy threats more so than Mercy via the use of her Biotic Grasp, Biotic Orb, and Fade abilities. With the current state of Moira in the game and changes Blizzard made, making Mercy an overall weaker support hero, Moira is a strong choice in any composition. Filling the void that Mercy will leave, we can expect to see more Moira competitive play alongside different supports and tanks during Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. Stage 2 of the Overwatch League kicks back off on Wednesday, February 21st.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

Videos Clips: Overwatch League

Houston Outlaws steal the spotlight in stage one of the Overwatch League

The big story coming out of stage one was not the London Spitfire predictability winning the stage one finals. No, it was an upstart Houston Outlaws squad separating themselves as a playoff team. The only playoff team to not feature any players with Apex experience and is mainly American born players.

Seasoned Overwatch fans will recall at this years World Cup, two players from the United States made a loud statement in the match against Korea. Jacob “JAKE” Lyon and Matt “coolmatt” Iorio stood out amongst an American team that pushed Korea to the limit. It was foreshadowing what was soon to follow in the Overwatch League.

Houston Outlaws show continued improvement

First, the emergence of a mainly North American Overwatch team that’s challenging the best Korean players in the world is a first. The rigid training and playing schedule are seemingly leveling the playing field. That’s not to say the London Spitfire and New York Excelsior haven’t been a few steps ahead of even the Outlaws, but as we saw previously at the World Cup, the gap is closing.

The Houston Outlaws almost closed the gap entirely last week and showed the world that they’re a legit contender. Sweeping the London Spitfire to even stay alive in the playoff race, and then sneaking out a victory over the Boston Uprising to pull off the unthinkable and make the stage one playoffs.

Entering the season, any scenario where the Seoul Dynasty misses the playoffs and the Houston Outlaws jump both the Dynasty and Spitfire to earn the second overall seed would’ve been laughed at. The juggernaut Overwatch teams looked unstoppable early on in stage one. Dynasty jumped out to a 5-0 record and barely dropped any maps.

On the flip side, the Houston Outlaws started the season out 0-2. Falling in a close game to the Philadelphia Fusion, 3-2, and losing the following night to the New York Excelsior, 3-1. Fortunately, the next stretch of schedule after the opening losses was against all bottom feeder teams; and what happened in the coming weeks jump-started this climb to the second overall seed.

The 18 map winning streak

Photo via Houston Outlaws Twitter

Let’s take a look at point differential. In the five-game span in which the Outlaws won 18-straight maps, they outscored their opponents by 29 points. In those five games, the Outlaws held their opponents to a staggeringly low number of points: only 10 points surrendered in 18 maps. Incredibly dominant performances that spring-boarded their confidence into the tough part of the schedule.

Soon after the streak ended, the Outlaws matched up against the Seoul Dynasty. The Outlaws took the loss, but it most certainly instilled fear into the minds of the Dynasty core. The best of the Korean players all seem to have one common saying between them regarding the Houston Outlaws and that’s the need to shut down Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin.

The legend of LiNkzr

Starting in the preseason, the pinpoint aim from Linkzr was a must-see. The Outlaws garnered plenty of attention because of the sheer skill of Jake and Linkzr, but now this team is being recognized as an actual threat. In a short amount of time, the Outlaws have developed an impenetrable defense. The defense along with the destructive aim of LiNkzr, the spacing with JAKE on Junkrat, and the diving with coolmatt on D.Va is pushing this team over the top. 

Each of those three players is in the discussion for stage one MVP, and look to be building more and more chemistry as the schedule moves along. The only question now is if this team can live up to expectations now that they’re no longer flying under the radar. It’ll be a test for these players, but one that they seem capable of handling in stage two and beyond.

Lastly, should the Outlaws make any moves during the transfer period, an extra support is about the only current need for this team; but don’t be surprised if any of the top teams get aggressive to solidify rosters for the rest of the season.

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Featured photo via Houston Outlaws Twitter

London Spitfire Win OWL Stage One: Defense is name of the game

The players that make up the London Spitfire have enjoyed a wealth of success in their short careers. Following the royal road to an Apex title, earning the title as the best team in Korea, and now winning the stage one championship in dramatic fashion over the New York Excelsior. A pattern is forming and it involves the heart of the Spitfire roster and winning everything.

BDosin happy after winning the stage one championship. Photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonspitfire/with/39319450275/

London went down two games to a New York Excelsior team with a nearly unblemished record, on the biggest stage. The Spitfire needed to rally to become the first Overwatch League champion. This was a team that struggled to find their footing and lost winnable games due to lack of teamwork in stage one. It was a process, one that required serious trial and error.

Fortunately for London, they employ the strongest defensive unit in Overwatch history. A suffocating, relentless defense that’s been the main driver behind the success of GC Busan and now the London Spitfire. In fact, throughout all of stage one, the Spitfire had the most shutouts on non-control maps.

Now, this type of defensive effort goes back to the Apex days. GC Busan made a living off strong defensive holds. Even with an uncoordinated offensive attack, GC Busan would always find a way to hold offenses on the first point. The GC Busan spirit is embedded into this team. Add in the helping hands of Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyuk and Choi Seung-tae (to name a few), who have helped elevate an already ridiculously talented GC Busan roster. 

Shutting Down the NYXL

In game four on Numbani, the Spitfire got off to a rough start on offense, barely capping the first point and failing to reach the second point. At the end of that attack, it felt like the momentum had suddenly shifted back to the Excelsior. The lack of ultimate kills despite good ultimate economy was the difference, but Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun out positioning the Excelsior on the high-ground with Soldier 76 turned the last and most important fight.

The Spitfire’s Numbani offense only lasted a few meters longer before getting shut down. The reverse-sweep hanging in the balance on a map that’s notorious for easy offense was London’s most dangerous situation. Only a world-class hold against a team fielding Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-yeol and Kim “Libero”  Hye-sung would do the job. Luckily, Birdring is one of the most dangerous Widowmaker players on the planet and stepped up in the moment.

The Excelsior continued to dive at Rascal on Junkrat, who was isolated on the high-ground near the first point on Numbani, spraying down the street. The dive exposed Rascal, but it gave Birdring easy shots onto he NYXL healers. JJoNaK struggled to avoid Birdring using Widowmaker’s grappling hook to get the extreme height and tracking BDosin on the low-ground targeting him on Zenyatta. It was scary a one-two punch.

By the same token, Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee played a fantastic zoning Winston. In the event of a disadvantaged fight, the Spitfire would disengage around the backside of Numbani first point and re-engage with a dive, led by Gesture pushing the Excelsior into bad spots. The use of ultimates on defense for the Spitfire is much more organic and valuable. Gesture’s primal rages were game changers.

Dorado

Heading into game five, the Spitfire were riding a wave of momentum entering a map they’d beaten the NYXL on earlier in the day. The pressure was also flipped over to the Excelsior who were scrambling to avoid the reverse-sweep. The Excelsior stuck it out with Saebyeolbe and Libero on the dive and the Spitfire moved back to Profit on Junkrat over Rascal.

However, the formula for the Spitfire closing out the series was similar to their Numbani and Horizon defense.  Give Birdring Widowmaker sightlines and protect him by using the tanks aggressively. Kim “Fury” Jun-ho on D.Va combined with Birdring to dive on every player Birdring weakened from the backlines. It was a beautifully choreographed play from the Spitfire defense.  

Together with the strength of Birdring and the tank play, Profit’s laser focus on taking out the Excelsior supports stunted many NYXL attacks. On multiple occasions, Profit’s delayed rip tire got to the backline and took out Hong “ArK” Yeon-joon on Mercy and JJoNaK on Zenyatta to ruin the Excelsior’s day. Profit’s play was incredible, single-handedly forcing the opposition to back up and stay aware of Profit’s positioning.

In the final analysis, it’s clear the Spitfire still haven’t completely gelled as a team offensively. However, the players on that roster have a talent for zoning defense and ultimate usage. It’s scary because this squad is only going to get better from here on out. The players of the London Spitfire keep winning. No matter the situation, they pull it out. That’s a strong trait for a team to display early on.

Hero buffs

PTR hero buffs: Road, Junk, Widow and Orisa

On the Overwatch PTR players can test some new changes coming soon to Overwatch. Some of those changes being the new Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes with accompanying map: Château Guillard, Widowmaker’s ancestral home. Though the important changes are always the hero buffs and nerfs. Thankfully this time around the changes are all buffs, with a much needed one for Roadhog.

Hero Buffs: Roadhog

As we all know Roadhog was nerfed two months back. This nerf got rid of Roadhog’s one-shot combo by lowering his damage. This was a change that was met with much mourning, as well as a lowered pick and win rate. Without his one-shot combo Roadhog is essentially a walking ultimate battery. But his buff on the PTR should help with that problem.

Hero buffs

Roadhog PTR patch notes

As you can see Roadhog can now move when using Take a Breather in addition to taking 50% less damage while using it. This change now allows Roadhog to safely be a meat shield for his team. Before it was high-risk low-reward for Roadhog to tank shots because the enemy would get easy ultimate charge. But with these changes Roadhog gives the enemy less ultimate charge while using Take a Breather.

Essentially, Roadhog’s Take a Breather now functions as a minor shield for his teammates. Though keep in mind that the enemy will still build ultimate charge off of you, just not as much. Speaking of ultimates Junkrat got a buff to his.

Hero buffs: Junkrat

Junkrat’s RIP-Tire has always been frustrating. It’s capable of getting a team wipe but is easily destroyed. Talk about a let down. But never fear for Blizzard has decided to buff the RIP-Tire so that it’s harder to hit.

Hero buffs

RIP-Tire now burns rubber

These changes mean that Junkrat’s ultimate is harder to hit as well as more maneuverable. This means that Junkrat has an easier time securing frags with his ultimate as well as spending less time vulnerable when controlling it. The RIP-Tire got a movement buff and so did Junkrat himself.

Hero buffs

Triple jump here we come

What this change does is it gives Junkrat the ability to triple jump. It also boosts his damage output, but really it’s all about the triple jump. The added mobility allows Junkrat to drop bombs from directly above enemies as well as confront Pharah in the sky. The extra mine also allows Junkrat to disengage from fights easier.

Another hero who got a movement buff is Widowmaker.

Hero Buffs: Widowmaker

Widowmaker has two buffs being tested in the PTR. The first is a buff to her Grappling Hook, reducing its cooldown from twelve to eight seconds. The second buff allows Widowmaker to see enemies affected by her Venom Mine through walls.

Hero buffs

Poison wall hacks

The reduced cooldown on her Grappling Hook is great but it pales in comparison to the Venom Mine buff. The old Venom Mine acted as a warning system for Widowmaker. Now, in addition to being a warning system, it functions as a mini wall hack. Which means Widowmaker can use the Venom Mine to set up easier headshots for herself.

The new Venom Mine won’t help her much with the buffs made to Orisa though.

Hero buffs: Orisa

Orisa also has some buffs being tested in the PTR. The projectiles from her Fusion Driver have been sped up by 20% and her Protective Barrier has been increased in size by 20% with a shape change.

Hero buffs

Faster bullets and bigger shield

The speed buff to her bullets will make fighting more mobile heroes like Genji and Tracer easier. The faster bullets also makes building her super charger easier because it’s easier to land shots. Though what’s really important is the buff to her barrier.

This increase in size puts her barrier around the same size as Reinhardt’s, if only a little smaller than his. This means more teammates are protected by it. The shape change also makes it, in the developer’s words,”more effective when it’s used on slopes or on top of objects (such as the payload).” This shield change will make any attack Bastion or Torb’s day.

These hero buffs should go live with the next patch and we can’t wait until they do.


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Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Images within the article are screenshots taken from: https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/blog/20972920

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