Part 6: New Symmetra, New Counters, Same Old Tanks
This series hasn’t talked about Symmetra for a while, mostly because she just wasn’t being used that much. When she was used, Sym normally replaced Lucio, although teams were hesitant to dump Lucio’s speedboost. Without speedboost, tank comps were very slow, and would hypothetically get carved apart by faster dive comps (although this theory wasn’t really tested thanks to meta stagnation), so Sym had been shoved out of the meta and hadn’t returned.
Blizzard recognized this and announced the biggest rework yet; completely revamping almost every part of Sym’s kit and giving her new light. This rework gave her a barrier that she could spawn, which would slowly move forward, in theory giving her and her allies approach options onto an enemy. Meanwhile, her ult was also adjusted; she now had two options, the old teleporter, or a brand new shield generator, which would add 75 shields onto every ally within range.
Her potential was largely debated by many in the pro community, with some saying she would end the tank meta, while others saying that she would make it even more prominent. Unfortunately for many who were sick of tank warfare, it was the latter.
Blizzard’s intention with this rework was to make Sym less niche. Sym, for almost the entire lifespan of the game, had been a pick used almost exclusively on Point A defense. Instead of making her better in other situations, Blizzard inadvertently made her even stronger on Point A defense, and still not much good everywhere else.
Before the patch hit there was much deliberation over whether Teleporter or Shield Generator was a better option. It soon became clear that while getting back faster after death with Teleporter was cool and all, it was wholly unnecessary if you never died in the first place. Shield Generator was usually the option of choice, as the tanks became even more difficult to kill thanks to the added HP, as did Ana.
This narrative dominated this meta, and largely overshadowed some other interesting developments. Soldier’s perception began to worsen, while Tracer’s, Genji’s and Mei’s increased. Less Soldier meant that one of Pharah’s hardest counter was less prominent. Soldier had been a big reason that Pharah hadn’t seen a resurgence in the madness of Quadruple tank. As such, she began to see some play.
This persisted for quite some time. Finally in early 2017 Blizzard announced that they were going to do something about it. Namely, Ana and D.Va, two catalysts of the tank meta, were getting big nerfs. Ana’s grenade was getting it’s healing boost reduced, and D.Va had half of her armor turned into normal HP. Hook 2.0 was also introduced, and Sombra was given a slight buff to her hack speed. These nerfs would shake things up, killing off the tank meta (for now). It also ushered in one of the first true dive eras.
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Featured Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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