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The Two Competing Metas of Overwatch 1

When it comes to Overwatch, the community is able to split the timeline into different metas based on different patches. Meta is in reference to the generally agreed best/effective way to play the game based on the patches and heroes. This optimized strategy is usually figured out at the professional level and slowly trickles down to the community. Each meta that lasts for a significant amount of time gets nicknamed so for easy reference. Brawl, Pigs Feet, Spam, Double Sniper, Bunker, Double Shield all have a place in history when it comes to the metas of Overwtach. Of course, at the moment it comes with the good and bad, but also nostalgia after the era is over. The two most prevalent and impactful metas that influenced Overwatch 1 it has to be the GOAT and Dive metas.

Dive Meta


By Josh Armstrong

The Dive meta with Winston, Diva, Genji, Tracer, Lucio, and Zen brought to the community some of the greatest Overwatch matches. The fast-paced nature of the dive never left the crowd bored. Dive was popular because it was useful on every map in Overwatch, because of its versatility. Because Overwatch is so dependent on movement around the map to secure objectives and kills, Dive allowed for the whole team to move as one. The highly mobile heroes would dive onto the squishy backline or low-health members of the opposing team. Essentially having the goal of being making a team fight a 5 v 6 by securing the first blood.

It was many professional teams’ favorite as it allowed for movement around the map. This means that teams can control the high ground, low ground, and dodge on and off of the cart. But the downside was that getting out of positioning at all would mean a probably lost team fight, as the dive would come through. The teams needed to be coordinated in diving the enemy team or else they would be counter-dived themselves.

Dive highlighted the coordination and action of the match. If anything the high-skill ceiling or Tracer and Genji illustrated the mechanical skills that players needed to have. It helped define Overwatch as a team game. Yes, one player can pop off, but it is off of the backs of the other players supporting. Dive was energic and entertaining to watch, which also helped propel Overwatch into a popular esport game to watch.


The most prolific era would be the GOAT era which ran for a long time. The GOAT era was so powerful that it made an institutional change to the core of the game. This switch to the 2/2/2 changed the game forever as well as how esport players marketed themselves.

Three Heroes Changing Overwatch
The OG GOATS Composition and it’s Namesake
Image Courtesy of Reddit user u/WolfofVilliany

GOATs, 3/3, or triple tank composition focused on the ability to massively heal high damage tanks. This composition completely nixed the DPS heroes forcing players like Junyoung ‘Profit’ Park and Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim to flex onto the heavy damage hero of Zarya. Reinhardt, Zarya, D.Va, Lucio, Brig, and Moira was the classic composition for GOATs, but many iterations of GOATs have been seen throughout the years. The GOAT meta was a heavy presence in the Overwatch League until the 2/2/2 switch up. GOATs started in the T3 scene and slowly made its way into popularity.

GOATs highlighted the loopholes within the game. The players were able to think outside the box to find the meta that broke the formula. The heroes such as Brig and Zarya were viewed differently from their roles. Brig played equally a tank as a healer, while Zarya was the damage on most teams not just a tank. It defined that the game was really the players’ game as they used heroes in ways that the devs may not have thought or wanted them to be played.

Differences with Dive

When it comes to GOATS, unlike dive, it isn’t about the quick pick that snowballs. It is all about the outlasting. The bulldoze style is again very different from Dive which relies on more precision. The more aggressive playstyle has the tanks, such as Reinhardt, charging in. While Dive focuses on movement, the lack of range on GOATs is one of the weaknesses. But because the composition focuses on heals and health it can feel like nothing ever dies. While in Dive it is always about the quick picks.


Though these two metas have stark differences, they do share a few similarities. It is interesting how both of these popular metas focus on isolation. There is a lot to say about how Overwatch is a team game. But both styles want to isolate a single target to eliminate so that when the real fight breaks out there is a numerical disadvantage.

Both compositions are live or die by scenarios. One wrong decision can make a team crumble. In this sense, it is positioning, but the opposite of each other. For Dive it is diving onto the hero with the lowest health or that hero that is out of position and not protected. While for GOATs if a tank is out of position or doesn’t get anything with a charge/bubble combo those are resources that are gone and no shield for a team. Both popular compositions highlight the fundamentals of Overwatch but in very different ways to illustrate the dichotomy of how it can be effectively played. 

The Metas of Overwatch 1

Both of these game-defining metas were not region specific as sometimes it has been seen. Both GOATs and Dive could be seen from APAC, to EU, to NA when it came to Overwatch. Not only were these metas significant in crafting Overwatch’s identity to a point, but also a point of nostalgia where fans put on their rose-colored glasses to grieve the passing of these eras.

None of the metas from Overwatch 1, that the community has been used to, will be directly copied and pasted represented in Overwatch 2. The shift to 5v5 means that there will be one less tank on both sides, making a myriad of new opportunities to have new metas. There will be, of course, some kind of representations of the old metas within Overwatch 2, but with the metas so heavily centered around the tanks, it will be interesting to see the direction Overwatch 2 metas will go.

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