The long-awaited arrival of Overwatch’s latest DPS hero is finally here. On Tuesday April 14th, Echo finally entered the live servers to add a little bit of flavor at the damage position. Players have seen how powerful she can be in the right hands so far, thanks to the friendly matches held a few weeks back.
Following the flight plan.
Echo swoops into Overwatch on April 14! pic.twitter.com/BWO8W6ivDO
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) April 9, 2020
After a few tweaks in the PTR, Echo is ready for her OWL debut. With any new hero, Echo will see plenty of play at the professional level, even if she may not be played optimally from the get-go. With so many DPS players attempting to play the new hero, there is certainly a real fantasy impact team owners will have to watch out for.
High Burst Damage
The largest takeaway from Echo’s initial reveal and her subsequent performance in the OWL friendly matches is her ability to burst down single targets. Her Sticky Bombs can instantly kill low health opponents given they all attach to the same target. If the target does not fall to the initial attack, the Focus Beam will secure the kill with its high damage bonus to low-health enemies. These abilities give Echo potentially high elimination totals and damage per 10 rates. For fantasy, this means players who find themselves playing the latest hero will see some increase in fantasy output.
The Flight ability allows Echo to have enhanced mobility throughout team fights. High mobility heroes have been a staple in the Overwatch League since its inception, and Echo looks to be the next addition to that list. The mobility of Flight and Glide will make Echo a difficult target to bring down if certain hit-scan characters are out of rotation, leaving the job to the opposing D.Va. If Echo can stay alive in the air to constantly pump out damage, the fantasy output will be extremely valuable.
Potentially Devastating Ultimate
The ability with the most fantasy implications is Echo’s ultimate. With the ability to copy opposing characters, Echo’s existence will put a massive strain on the enemy composition. So far in the Overwatch League, teams have found that mirroring compositions has brought the best results. Mirroring compositions now will have a new twist as Echo will be able to double up on valuable ultimates. Having a second McCree or a second Hanzo ultimate could swing team fights around incredibly quickly. Or on a smaller scale, copying an opposing Mei for a second ice-wall is an excellent way to stop aggressive pushes on defense. The possibilities are endless with Echo’s ultimate. If a team can get multiple ultimates with Echo, the fantasy scores will shoot through the roof.
No Defensive Options
Echo’s potentially biggest drawback is her lack of defensive options in her kit. By default, Echo does not have stuns to stop flankers, a Recall to heal herself, or an Ice-Block to prevent damage altogether. Echo also does not have any amount of armor or shields. With 200 base health, Echo can easily fall to a few headshots from McCree or Mei. Dying easily does not bode well for fantasy scoring, putting Echo in a tough position.
Low Consistent Damage
Much like Widowmaker, Echo can have scary amounts of burst damage. Echo can one-shot low health targets and stop the opposing team from turning a team fight. However, in drawn-out team fights, Echo will have trouble keeping up consistent damage. Echo plays will from medium to far range, in order to maximize her efficiency with the Sticky Bombs. The downside to this playstyle is her primary fire becomes much harder to land on enemies. Her primary fire shoots like a shotgun-spread, meaning her individual shots will do less if all three do not connect. Without constant damage output, her fantasy scoring will be hindered quite a bit.
Using the Ultimate for Utility
The potential death-knell for Echo’s fantasy relevance is ironically her most important tool – her ultimate Duplicate. The old saying in fantasy goes, “teams don’t care about your fantasy teams”, and sadly that may just be the case with Echo. While a duplicated Reaper ultimate or a duplicate Pharah ultimate may be great for the scoreboard, OWL teams want to win, not inflate fantasy points. Teams may opt to duplicate a Zenyatta to have a secondary Transcendence, or mimic an Orisa for triple shields and a quick Fusion Driver. With all the potential utility, Echo may have similar fantasy numbers to Mei.
Best Fantasy Comparison: Pharah
Looking at Echo, the easiest comparison in a fantasy-lens is Pharah. Both heroes have aerial superiority when unchecked, but need additional resources to survive longer engagements. The need for a Mercy pocket will be one of Echo’s greatest flaws when she is introduced into the Overwatch League. A lack of flexibility at the support position hurts the available compositions for teams to use. Even worse is the sheer number of counters the opposing team can run to stop Echo from producing any value.
Fantasy Outlook: Medium to Low Impact
The biggest question mark about Echo’s fantasy impact is her overall usage in OWL. Her high base damage and phenomenal shield break is enticing, but history has shown those aren’t always indicators of high playtime. The two DPS with the highest share of playtime this season are Mei and McCree, two heroes that don’t perform well against shields, but are able to provide value around them. If Echo finds a niche as a map dependent hero, she may surprise fantasy owners with some strong performances. But as it stands, expect the latest DPS character to deliver similar fantasy value as situational heroes like Pharah and Junkrat.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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