Part 4: Ana’s Dominance, Tanks for Days, and Beyblade
Ninja’s in Pyjamas.
These three words are what would end up defining a new meta to come, and a very very strange one at that.
NiP, as they were commonly known, were an Overwatch team playing with reasonable success at the time, but they hadn’t really set the world alight. At least, not until Zen was nerfed in early September of 2016. NiP had a new comp; one that would eventually evolve into some of the weirdest and most hated metas in Overwatch.
Teams had slowly been realizing Ana’s potential as a hero, mostly because of Nanoboost. Ana saw limited play in Atlantic Showdown, but the little bit of play she did see told teams one thing: her Ult Charged really fast. It wasn’t uncommon for Ana players to get Nanoboost before a Zarya was 10% of the way to Graviton. That said, she was mostly overshadowed by the Lucio and Zen comps that were dominating at the time. But then Zen’s discord got nerfed, reducing his damage amp from 50% to 30%. Other changes that came in this patch were nerfs to Lucio’s speed boost, and Genji’s ultimate and mobility, as well as buffs to Mercy’s healing, Mei’s ultimate, and Hanzo’s projectile speed.
The Zen nerf was by far the most significant. Zen’s discord had been an excellent tool for killing tanks. Now, while it was still good, it wasn’t really as good as it had been before. NiP figured out that Ana could actually heal through Zen’s discords, but they weren’t willing to dump the Omnic Monk, and no one in their right mind was going to not run Lucio, even with the nerfs. The solution? Run all three! Then put in a Reinhardt, a Zarya, and either a Winston or a Roadhog. Welcome to triple-tank and triple-support.
This comp revolved around Ana getting her ultimate as fast as possible and then turning the Reinhardt into an unstoppable German bowling ball of death. Remember, nano boost gave a speed boost as well back then. It wasn’t hard for the Rein to close the distance onto the other team and wreck them. This strat was originally thought of as niche at best, but when more teams started running it, and doing well with it, it became the comp of choice.
And then just as quickly it wasn’t. Teams also figured out that other heroes benefited immensely from Ana’s speedboost when nanoboosted. Specifically, Reaper. Reaper’s Death Blossom deals massive damage in all directions, but the tradeoff is that Reaper is pretty immobile while ulting. Teams figured out that a nano-boost speed boost essentially nullified this disadvantage. Then, teams figured out that they could speedboost Reaper with Lucio as well, and give him a Zarya bubble to protect him from stuns. Welcome to Beyblade, where Reaper could go from the first choke on Volskaya Point A to the actual Point while using his ultimate.
The comps in this meta were pretty much the same as the 3×3 NiP comp, except Reaper replaced Zenyatta. KOTH, as usual, had its own rules (Winston and Tracer were run a huge amount of the time on KOTH but were increasingly uncommon elsewhere). Teams began utilizing Mei to interrupt these compositions, as Mei could put walls in chokes to isolate key targets and allow her team to take the unlucky hero down with ease.
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