Part 5: Tanks for Days Intensifies and the Rise of Soldier
Overwatch esports was on the rise at this point. With the OWWC, as well as APEX, it was a good time to be a fan of Professional Overwatch. Ironically, the meta during this time was one of the most hated in the history of the game. It is still remembered as a cautionary tale of what power creep can do in a game like this.
In November of 2016, Sombra was released. After months of hype (and exasperation at an extremely drawn out ARG), the Mexican Hacker debuted with mixed results. While some teams recognized her value in a dive comp, other aspects of this balance patch largely overshadowed this new addition to the roster.
D.Va and Soldier Shake it Up
The buffs to D.Va and Soldier really shook things up. D.Va, despite being reworked for the better a few months back, was still considered to be the worst tank in the game, while Soldier hadn’t been relevant since his bullet spread had been nerfed in the same patch where D.Va got changed.
In an attempt to shake things up from the madness of Beyblade and 3×3, Blizzard buffed Soldier’s damage output and D.Va’s survivability. They also nerfed Mei’s ult charge, and Zarya’s ability to get charged up. They also buffed Torb and Pharah while nerfing Lucio too.
The ramifications of this swiftly became apparent. D.Va was now too good to ignore, and she began to see more play than she had ever had. This kept Zarya in the meta despite her nerfs, as she was one of D.Va’s biggest counters, and Mei’s nerf had axed her pick rate a fair amount.
This created an interesting dilemma, as Reinhardt was still the tank of choice in almost every composition, and Roadhog’s reputation just kept getting better and better. So which tank did you leave out?
In a lot of cases, none of them. Welcome to Quadruple Tank.
Tanks for Days
This madness stemmed from an balance issue that had been stewing for a while but only came to light after the Sombra patch. Tanks were supposed to clear space and not deal that much damage. However, tanks like Roadhog and Zarya could melt most 200 hp heroes in short order if played properly. Combine this with Ana’s ultimate and raw healing output, and actually kill anything became quite difficult. This hadn’t been an issue previously largely due to Reaper keeping the tanks in check, but Reaper was found to have big issues against buffed D.Va.
The only DPS who could eat through all of this health was Soldier, who was by far the best DPS during this meta. Depending on the map you would drop either Zarya, Hog or D.Va, and bring Soldier into the lineup. Nanovisor was found to be a very good option, as it would annihilate almost every DPS and support and deal some healthy damage to tanks.
This was the other issue. Soldier completely invalidated almost every other DPS hero in the game. The ones that he had issues with (such as Widow) were no good against all of the tanks.
Dive, as it is known today, began to emerge on certain maps on Attack. It also largely accounted for the only usage Winston got. Tracer, Genji and either Sombra or Soldier rounded out these comps. Almost everyone was using Ana/Lucio all of the time, although Zen would make the occasional appearance in dive compositions. And the meta was, again, different on KOTH, with more Tracer and less Reinhardt. But Dive was very map dependent. For the most part, only seven heroes were played on a regular basis: Ana, Lucio, D.Va, Reinhardt, Zarya, Roadhog and Soldier.
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Featured Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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