Exactly two years ago, Blizzard released a certain support hero that would change their team shooter for years to come. The release of Brigitte Lindholm, a watershed character in the lifespan of Overwatch, ushered in the era of the GOATs meta. Over the course of a year and a half, the developers and the community worked together to find ways to pull the game out of this playstyle that professionals and fans alike thought stagnant. Their efforts finally culminated in Blizzard limiting hero selection to two supports, two damage dealers, and two tanks, the format we use today.
On March 19, Blizzard released Echo, the last hero expected to release until Overwatch 2 drops. She is a powerful Artificial Intelligence that learns by imitation. However, like Brigitte, her greatest ability may be the power to define how Overwatch is played – by fans and pros alike – from here on out.
Echo’s Game-Breaking Kit
On the surface, Echo is a glass cannon. Her primary fire, sticky bombs, and focused beam can melt through enemy players and barriers in seconds. With two hundred hit points and her fly ability on a six-second cooldown, she has low survivability similar to Doomfist or Genji.
Her ultimate ability, however, is absolutely game-changing. Echo can transform into any hero on the enemy team, be it damage dealer, tank, or support. While duplicating another hero, that hero’s ultimate ability charges at a whopping 650%.
That means that, in fifteen seconds, a skilled player could produce six pulse bombs, two D.Va bombs, four Dragonstrikes, or two Sound Barriers…all of which stack with the abilities of the original hero.
For the old guard of Overwatch players, those fifteen seconds evoke memories of year one strategies: the double D.Va meta, double Lucio and others. For other players, there is a real fear that Echo’s ability to bend the 2-2-2 meta may lead to a resurgence of GOATs.
The Return of GOATs?
Many people are angry that Echo is not a support hero, contrary to popular speculation leading up to her release. Fans had anticipated that Echo would round out the pool of eight tanks or seven supports, rather than add to the pool of seventeen damage dealers.
With that said, Echo has an incredibly high skill ceiling, something that many higher-ranked players have asked for in a new hero. She has almost infinite versatility, which will undoubtedly make her essential to team composition in the weeks to come. Her base kit has virtually no crowd control. Her ultimate rewards players skilled at multiple heroes, a trait that the developers have encouraged throughout Overwatch’s history.
Time spent in the hands of players is the only thing that will ultimately determine Echo’s place in the meta. She is an artificial intelligence with theoretically infinite possibilities for influencing gameplay. It’s very possible that introducing her into the pro scene could result in some of the most exciting Overwatch to date. Only time will tell.