The major Mercy nerf has finally hit the Overwatch live servers. The nerf has drastically changed the way her ultimate ability, Valkyrie, works. One of the advantages her ultimate had was the ability to instantly resurrect a teammate. No longer. The channel time is a constant from now on, ultimate or no. Mercy also no longer has a second charge of resurrect.
The way in which competitive teams and professional gamers would engage fights revolved around having a Valkyrie charge. This will have to change. The most fair of the nerfs to Valkyrie are that the ultimate no longer lasts for 20 seconds. Valkyrie has been reduced to 15 seconds. Mercy no longer will zip around the battlefield while in Valkyrie either. Her speed has been reduced by a whopping fifty percent. This ultimately will leave her more vulnerable to hit-scan
heroes like McCree and Soldier 76.
The Change in Competitive Overwatch
While I do disagree with the severity of the nerf, I’ve been enjoying its impact on the live servers. Playing a competitive game, you always knew that if you could get the enemy Mercy to use her ultimate first, you could back-off and push in again when it was charging back up. Now, many compositions are foregoing Mercy entirely. I’ve been seeing a ton more Ana and Moira filling in for the majority healer, while Zenyatta still has a solid grasp as the second support.
Ana and Moira are much more fun and dynamic to play as a support main and offer a better feeling of skill while playing. As Moira you must know when to charge the offense, sending a biotic orb to drain players life as your tank line pushes in. Conversely, if you use the offensive biotic orb, you’re left without the healing orb for ten long seconds, and if your team starts dropping you’ll have misread and misplayed the engagement. Ana is much in the same way. Her shots can deal some great supporting damage while also laying massive heals for teammates. Her tranquilizer dart is also extremely satisfying to land on flankers or an incoming Genji who just pulled out his Dragonblade.
What Makes Ana and Moira Mercy Replacements?
Moira and Ana have drastically different ultimates that allow for a different set of engagement strategy. Ana’s Nano Boost is almost entirely used as an offensive engagement tool to allow a DPS hero to deal an insane amount of damage, or to send a tank in to take massive amounts of damage and disrupt the entire enemy team. Moira’s allows for both a defensive and offensive use. Her Coalescence pierces enemy shields, which is useful against many of the Orisa Roadhog compositions appearing on some maps like Junkertown. It also heals, keeping members of her team alive while dealing damage.
Ana’s most useful ability and game-changing ability is her biotic grenade. Her ability to cancel out healing for four seconds is an incredibly long duration during a team fight. Ana can turn the tide of battle with one well placed grenade. If Zenyatta is about to use his transcendence, she can use her grenade to cancel its effects on his teammates. If Roadhog takes a breahter, Ana can eliminate all of his health regen. Ana was a blast to see played competitively and professionally, and her resurgence with Mercy’s nerf is sure to excite.
Lucio and Mercy use to be the go to support pair. When Zenyatta gained more relevance and Mercy was reworked, he mostly fell to a utility role. On control point maps, he was a popular pick. His area of effect healing output made him invaluable in keeping control of specific spots and choke points. With Mercy severely reduced in her usefulness, Lucio may start being paired more often.
His aoe speed boost and heal make him a great pair with Moira for rushing in to take points swiftly. In a quadruple tank composition, these two supports are almost always involved. Pairing him with Zenyatta can also be effective. Although the heals would be light, the defensive ultimates excel in keeping teammates alive. Lucio’s speed boost is still one of the most useful tools to ripping through enemy defenses at map choke holds. Lucio may be receiving a popular revival with the downfall of Mercy, and fans of more interesting compositions like quad tank may be in for a treat.
I’m happy to see the Overwatch players adjust so quickly and embrace the wonderful other supports the game has to offer, even though Blizzard will continue to tweak Mercy. I heavily look forward to seeing how the Overwatch League teams adjust when the new patch is applied in late February during Stage 2.
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Featured Image sourced from: The Game Haus