The Overwatch World Cup kicks-off on Thursday as teams from around the world descend on Anaheim for Blizzcon. In the single-elimination online Preliminaries, a strong grasp on the meta will be vital for any team looking to play at Blizzcon during Friday’s Group Stage. The current patch brought widespread hero changes that haven’t yet been seen at a major competition. The changes haven’t been too drastic, but for anyone who needs a meta refresher, here’s a look at what can be expected from each position.
Since the arrival of Sigma and the introduction of role lock to the game, double shield has dominated the competitive meta. The Sigma-Orissa tank duo remains the strongest in the game thanks to superb midrange damage, the ability to effectively protect the flank and a natural synergy highlighted by the potent combos set up by Orissa’s Halt. Orissa will be a mainstay and the best teams will be those who can reliably execute on the plays the main tank can set up.
Orissa and Sigma might dominate timed played for tanks, but the recent patch did loosen their stranglehold at the position. Winston and D.Va both got minor buffs that could give them a little life, especially for any underdogs looking to throw off their more talented competition. Dive isn’t necessarily back, but it’s a possibility especially when you put Winston in the hands of players like Qiulin “Guxue” Xu and Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim.
Other picks will be more situational. Wrecking Ball for when teams want a strong harassment option. Roadhog for pick comps and that sweet sweet Halt-Hook combo. Reinhardt and Zarya for teams that want to get really aggressive on close-quarters maps like King’s Row or Lijiang Tower: Control Center. Since the last patch, there are options for teams that choose to go off-script, but don’t be surprised when Orissa trots her way out of spawn for the 15th map in a row.
At the damage position, things are a little less defined. Double shield is still around and just saw its strongest DPS counter, Doomfist, receive nerfs to his Rocket Punch and survivability. He’s still a viable pick in a lot of situations, but he’s not a must pick by any means. That shift has opened the door to a bit more variety among DPS picks.
Reaper will be a staple for a lot of teams and seems likely to be the highest picked DPS of the entire event. He’s an extremely versatile pick that works in a number of comps as a primary damage source. When not paired with the Doomfist, expect to see a lot of Mei alongside Reaper. Her ability to slow and freeze multiple targets at once is extremely powerful, and Blizzard is one of the better ults in the game.
Potential power picks will come in the form of long-range damage dealers. Pharah especially could be extremely powerful, providing excellent poke damage and the potential for carry performances. With stars like Minho “Architect” Park and Hu “Jinmu” Yi in attendance, expect Pharah to play a big role in the later stages of the tournament. If Pharah has her day, the snipers will also make their mark. Hanzo and Widow will have their place both as a compliment and a counter to Pharah.
Two additional X-factors could have a huge impact on the World Cup. The first is Bastion, a pick that might be tough to counter for teams that haven’t been together for very long. The second is Sombra, a potential counter to Bastion and bunker comps in general. If upsets start happening on Thursday, teams going all-in on Bastion or Sombra could be the culprits.
The support lineups during the World Cup will largely revolve around the rest of the team composition. For teams running the most standard comp possible, Lucio and Moira will be the go-to. Moira’s ability to heal large groups is unmatched right now, and even a nerf to her sustainability won’t keep her down when Coalescence charges so quickly. Speedboost will always keep Lucio relevant in pro play, and Sound Barrier is the best counter to Sigma’s ult in the game.
Some picks have just fallen off in recent times. The rise of double shields has made life hard for Zenyatta and Ana especially. That’s not to say they don’t have a place, but they won’t be super common picks. If the meta opens up a bit more, and dive plays a part, they could both have their moment at Blizzcon.
Baptiste and Mercy will be essentially attached at the hip with their DPS partners. Bastion for Baptiste and Pharah for Mercy. Don’t expect to see much of either pick outside of those situations, but if either becomes essential during the World Cup, these two could shine. Mercy could also accompany the snipers, but she shouldn’t unseat either Moira or Lucio as the most played supports of the tournament.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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