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A Comprehensive History of Overwatch Metas Part Three: A Tale of Two Supports

Part Three: Orb-ital Destruction Mark 2 and the beginning of Dive.

Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

The balance patch of July 19th, 2016 had several key nerfs and buffs, as well as changes to Overtime mechanics and competitive. It also added Ana, the first post-launch hero.  This patch sent ripples through the game that are still felt to this day, and one could make a very strong argument in favor of this being the most important patch in Overwatch history.  Over a third of the cast got a rebalance, although about half of these were just nerfs to ultimate charge. Bastion, Lucio, Mercy and Hog got hit by these ultimate charge rate increases.  This had no effect on Bastion or Lucio, but it had big effects on both Mercy and Hog, neither of whom would turn out to be a factor in the coming meta.

A nerf to Soldier’s Pulse Rifle and a buff to McCree’s range resulted in these two swapping places. Soldier’s usage went way down and McCree’s skyrocketed.  Most significant were the changes to D.Va and Zenyatta. D.Va had largely been picked solely for stall purposes, as her Defense Matrix was an ability with a long cooldown and largely useless for protective purposes in most situations. Blizzard added a toggle function to it, as well as buffing her ultimate. Zen got what were undeniably the biggest buffs: a health increase, a buff to his orbs and a big old buff to Transcendence. 

Here Comes the Monk

Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

The buffs to McCree and Zenyatta largely overshadowed the introduction of Ana, who was initially regarded as a poor pick.  This iteration of McCree, now known as McSniper, was by far the best DPS, as his insane range and damage could reach across far distances and pick off most heroes from afar.  Zen was also elevated to a must pick, as his Discord Orb, as well as Transcendence, were essentially required for a team to do well. Blizzard noticed that this McCree was a tad broken fairly quickly and nerfed his range, although they also buffed his FTH to become a more effective anti-flanker tool. Zen was left alone for a little while longer.  Welcome to Orb-ital Destruction Mark Two, and welcome to the first ever traditional dive composition.

Dive, Dive, Dive

Image Courtesy of Overwatch APEX

Dive hasn’t been truly meta for a while, but most would consider an typical dive comp to consist of Genji/Tracer/Winston/D.Va/Lucio. The dives during this meta were extremely different. For one thing, Reinhardt and Zarya were well used, as was Winston. D.Va was largely nowhere to be seen.  While Genji and Tracer were common, so were McCree and Reaper. Zen and Lucio were always used, as well as some combination of the tanks and DPS mentioned above.  And that was it. Almost no other heroes were played. At all.

These dive comps focused less on verticality and more on just grouping up and smashing your way into the other teams backline. The whole goal was kill the Zen. Without a Zen, the other team would often fall apart. Genji and Tracer were immensely popular, due to their ability to assassinate the supports. McCree and Reaper were well used, as they benefited immensely from Zen’s discord orb. This meta was not a whole lot of fun to play the game in. Zen essentially being a must pick, and the meta was fairly set in stone turned a lot of players off. So was this meta bad for the pro scene?

Not at all. This was one of the best meta’s to watch, due to the immense amount of high-skilled heroes and non-stop action that was taking place. It is highly recommended that everyone takes a look back at the first Atlantic Showdown; it’s still considered one of the classic Overwatch tournaments. It’s also notable for being the first tournament Team EnVyUs ever lost; they had been 57-0 in tournament play until Rogue beat them in the semifinals.


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