Part 7: The Revenge of DPS and Experimentation
The aforementioned nerfs to D.Va and Ana did shake up the meta, although it didn’t have quite as much effect as many had hoped. Ana may not have been as good at healing 4 tanks, but she could still handle three with relative ease, and she could heal up 200 HP heroes in a jiffy. D.Va’s usage tanked initially, but after the initial shock of the massive nerfs wore off she was found to be a decent, although not amazing pick in many situations.
In the wake of these changes, Dive as it is known and loved today emerged. Winston’s usage, which had been very low during Quad Tank, drastically increased, as did Tracer and Genji’s. Soldier also saw a resurgence.
These three were the most popular DPS heroes, but they weren’t the only ones being played. For the first time since mid 2016, more than 3-4 DPS heroes were viable. McCree, Pharah, Reaper and even Widowmaker were seeing play, with Mei not far behind. Even Torb saw some play, as teams realized that adding 150 extra health points to a character when combined with a Shield Generator was pretty dang good. Thanks to the resurgence of Pharah and the Ana nerf, Mercy was also seeing some play.
This variation can be attributed to pro’s struggling to figure out what actually worked. Usually this “experimentation period” only lasts a couple weeks at most. This one lasted well over a month. Different teams had different opinions on the viability of about half of the DPS roster. The only relatively common opinions were that Soldier, Genji and Tracer were very viable, while Junkrat, Sombra, Bastion and Hanzo were pretty much useless. Every other DPS hero, as well as Sym, was up for debate. The effectiveness of tanks was also being debated, with differing perceptions of D.Va, Winston and Roadhog being weighed and tested in practice.
Normally, a definitive “meta” is found in between patch cycles. For the first time in Pro Overwatch history, this didn’t really happen. In late February, another balance patch hit, one that needs no introduction, and one that prompted Blizzard to fix their mistake within a week of the patch being pushed to live.
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