2-2-2 is the name of the game in Stage 4, and off-tank play is centered on either playing Roadhog or D.va. Let’s examine the off-tank play in Stage 4, and why D.va and Roadhog are the top picks this stage. What are the pros and cons of playing either hero? Moreover, which teams will benefit because of strong off-tank play?
RoadHog: A Brawler Tank
D.Va remains a viable pick in the 2-2-2 meta. However, Roadhog has also entered into the meta, because of how strong he becomes when paired with main-tank Orisa. Orisa, Overwatch’s horse-like omnic, was hardly played this season because of the prevalent 3-3 meta, but, Orisa has become the standard main-tank in the 2-2-2 meta.
Throughout most of the season, Reinhardt, Zayra and D.va were essentially required. During Stage 3, more teams started to back away from playing 3-3, and Orisa saw some playtime. However, it was during the Stage 3 finals that it was clear that Orisa and Roadhog, would be a mainstay going into Stage 4. They were briefly the meta during the Season 1 playoffs and because of the 2-2-2 meta, the tank duo are making a return.
Orisa and Roadhog are a tank pair with great synergy, using “Hold and Hook” combos — almost impossible to prevent and usually a guaranteed kill. Orisa’s “hold” ability, which can be tossed out, has the power to temporarily jolt an enemy above/around a shield or from around a corner. Roadhogs “hook” ability, drags targets towards his large shrapnel-loaded shotgun. A “hook” by itself, is an instant-kill for most targets, but is limited to line of sight and can not go through shields. When timed right with Orisa’s hold ability, it becomes a deadly combo.
Roadhog’s are partially self-sufficient with their own self-healing ability, and a very smart Roadhog can take over games. Teams are figuring out how to counterplay against the “Hold and Hook” combo. For example, Orisa can use the fortify ability to protect themselves from Roadhogs hook; Mei, a hero that has seen an upswing in play this stage, can throw up an ice wall to block hooks. D.Va’s can also eat Orisa’s hold ability to prevent the combo.
Roadhog has a lot of shield break potential as well. Since Orisa is the main tank of choice this stage, having shield break is crucial. He also is very brawly on the point and can punish players that are out of position. Despite how well Roadhog and Orisa pair up together, D.Va play is still the better choice of off-tank for Stage 4.
D.VA: A Mobile Tank
Before Stage 4, D.Va was heavily “nerfed”, and many thought she would disappear from the meta. D.Va’s defense matrix, a vital part of her kit which allows her to “eat” damage and ultimate abilities, became less powerful during the recent patch of Overwatch. Yet, D.Va has continued to be a mainstay in the meta despite nerfs to her kit. Off-tank players have been playing D.Va since launch. Thought “Brig jail” was rough, how about D.Va jail?
D.Va counters many heroes currently in favor this stage and is still extremely versatile against a wide range of compositions. Despite the synergy between Orisa and Roadhog, D.Va is sometimes the optimal choice. In fact, some teams exclusively play her, because of her defense matrix, which is easily the best part of her kit.
Mei and Reaper, two heroes who have become meta this stage, can have their ultimate abilities negated by her defense matrix. Mei’s “Blizzard” has an extremely slow cast time, and therefore can easily be “eaten”. D.Va can also use the defense matrix on an ulting reaper and completely deny any damage. This ability can potentially save players who are hooked by an enemy Roadhog.
D.Va is also a highly mobile character; her boosters allow her to be where she is needed. She can peel for support and take the high ground for her DPS players.
Some teams, like the Chengdu Hunters or the Shanghai Dragons, are picking compositions with Pharah. The defense matrix’s can eat Pharah rockets, and her boosters can directly contest the Pharah in the air. Alternatively, If teams pick a double sniper composition, D.Va can contest snipers on the high ground or eat incoming damage.
In previous metas, D.Va’s ability to negate ultimates and damage were game-winning and remains to be valuable on a wide range of compositions. Overall, she continues to prove her flexibility and viability in Stage 4 and is likely to continue being a staple off-tank.
Teams that will Go Far
An Off-tank player, who can flex to both heroes will obviously have more freedom to play either compositions. San Francisco Shock and their off-tank player, Hyobin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi, is a perfect example of having the best of both worlds. He can play both D.Va and Roadhog at a high level, which means Shock can run whichever tank line up suits them. The Shock are already a Top 3 Team, and overall, their ability to adapt has made them a top contender.
Los Angeles Valiant off-tank player, Indy “SPACE” Halpern, is another example of an off-tank player who can flex on both heroes. SPACE is known as the best Western off-tank player. His D.Va is ranked highly, and he is making waves playing Roadhog this stage. The Valiant are on the cusp of getting into the play-in tournament, and they could squeeze-in off the back of SPACE’s amazing Roadhog.
Most teams have a dedicated D.Va player, but some of those players are looking particularly strong on Roadhog, and this could make all the difference. Teams that you may not expect are also benefiting from clutch Roadhog play. The Paris Eternal’s off-tank player, Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson, has had striking moments on Roadhog and was crucial for some of Eternals wins this stage. While the Boston Uprising, who just this week decided to put DPS player Jeffery “Blasé” Tsang on the off-tank role giving them a close round against the Washington Justice.
Alternatively, teams like the Florida Mayhem, who recently acquired Beom-Jun “GARGOYLE” Lee, who looking unstoppable on the Roadhog. Recent statistics showed on WatchPoint, put GARGOYLE in 4th place in hook accuracy. In the Mayhem’s last match against the Valiant, GARGOYLE had 93% hook accuracy on Hollywood defense– talk about a break-out performance.
Heading into the playoffs, these teams need every edge they can potentially get and Stage 4, is a chance for off-tank players to show their skills on something other than D.va.
Featured photo credit to Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
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