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Opening Thoughts

Whats up guys, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: It’s the West’s World After All. Last week myself (among others) had been quite doom and gloom about the future of western Overwatch. Reunited had lost 3-0 to RunAway, Rogue had dropped two sets to Lunatic Hai, and despite solid wins by NRG in APAC’s group stages it looked like the Korean Overwatch boogeyman had already escaped the western scene’s closet of fears. Well its time to cancel the apocalypse, the West is back baby! Reunited turned around their group stage performance to win 3-1 vs. KongDoo Panthera, then Rogue exorcised their Korean demons – winning 3-0 vs. NGA and 4-1 vs. Lunatic Hai in the finals of the APAC Invitational. Reports of the West’s demise were premature, at best.

In this week’s meta report, I will be performing an extensive strategy analysis of Rogue’s Finals matches ala Flame’s VOD reviews, but with a bit less focus on the players’ in-game decisions and more focus on the teams’ actions in the context of the current meta. I will also answer meta-based questions posed by readers in my continuing data deep dive series AND I’ve included a bonus interview from one of Rogue’s DPS aces himself – the great and terrible Tviq. Before we get into it though, let’s start with some light fare in this week’s tiers:

I’ve now begun to track all of my raw data in a much more database-friendly manner. You can now sort by any dates starting with Season Two, but keep posted for me eventually adding legacy data. This week’s data pre-sorted can be found HERE . The data is presented Row-wise for each Map Side. REMINDER: This Data was collected from the Alienware Monthly Melee finals, and the Gosugamers EU and NA weekly tournaments that took place September 2-4th

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THE TIERS

S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate*): No one!

A Tier (>80% Usage Rate): Zarya, Ana, Lucio

B Tier (>50% Usage Rate): Reinhardt, Reaper

C Tier (>20% Usage Rate): Winston, McCree, Mei, Tracer, Roadhog, Genji

D Tier (>5% Usage Rate): Zenyatta

F Tier (<5% Usage Rate): D.Va, Pharah, Hanzo, Mercy, Bastion, Junkrat, Widowmaker, Soldier 76, Torbjorn, Symmetra

*What is Usage Rate? For every match, I record the time spent on each hero and divide it by that match’s total time duration. Each of these Data points (a number from 0-1) are then summed across all sides of all matches, then divided by the total number of sides and converted to a percentage to produce a hero’s overall Usage Rate.

The Tier Ranges I’ve chosen** reflect different states of “Balance” in the Meta.


S Tier: “The Possibly Overpowered Heroes”

A second consecutive week with no S Tier heroes has now passed. Lucio was again quite close with an overall usage of 93%, but a few Chinese teams prefer to run Zenyatta and Ana as their preferred defensive support setup. It’s still quite alarming that Lucio continues to stay so strong – maintaining a higher usage rate than Ana throughout her reign. Pros from the East and West alike both feel that Ana is Overwatch’s biggest issue in its current state, but Lucio has dominated usage charts for so long that he’s faded into the background. Perhaps its partly because Overwatch is just so, so slow without his speed aura. Or perhaps its because his heal aura is essential for supports mains trying to escape the <2500, “we only need one support” mindset of ranked play. Just the fact that Lucio’s abilities are aura-based presents a problem for some Heroes by effectively setting a baseline amount of damage required to make an impact at the pro level. The much maligned Soldier 76 for example can output a steady stream of long-distance damage. However, because a steady aura of healing can mitigate a steady stream of damage much easier than a spiky damage stream (like say, a headshot-seeking McCree), Lucio contributes to a meta already somewhat devoid of viable offensive options.

A Tier: “The Core Heroes”

Now that I’ve complained about Lucio, it’s Ana’s turn. When it was announced that Ana was to receive balance changes, many in the pro scene were skeptical about the changes proposed. At the Beyblade-filled Overwatch Open, it was common knowledge that Ana’s Nanoboost charged far too fast compared to pretty much every other hero in Overwatch, and Blizzard’s balance team wisely chose to nerf its charge rate by 20%. Then, strangely, they also decided to increase the radius of her Biotic Grenade’s explosion by meter – leaving the Pro community perplexed as to the full intent of the changes. Some even predicted Ana’s changes would lead to a net buff in usage. As it turns out, those in this group were dead on: Ana’s usage rose from 78% last week to 90% this week.

No one can deny that her charge rate was out of whack, but the problem here is that Blizzard’s ‘fix’ only addressed part of what was overpowered with Ana. Nanoboost’s issue is not its power level in a vacuum, its that it combos far too well with other ultimate abilities and armor. Death Blossom and Dragonblade – the top tier ultimates to pair with Nanoboost – were already supposed to be able to wipe teams on their own. Adding movement speed, damage, and damage reduction to a skilled Reaper or Genji during their ultimate effectively removes all hope of counter-play. Tanks similarly gained an arguably unbalanced bonus during Nanoboost because armor stacks with its damage reduction, and the kills secured while boosted charges their own game-changing ultimates much faster than usual. And here’s the kicker: nerfing Ana’s charge rate hardly affected how it is used in tournament play. Outside of the very first Nanoboost going to a Reinhardt, Anas would hold on to their Nanoboosts to combine with the much slower-charging Dragon Blade or Death Blossom anyway. Ana rant over.

Or is it? Zarya has been a core hero in many lineups since Overwatch’s release and dating back to closed beta, so its no surprise to see her thrive in the Ana meta as well. Stuns are some of the best ways to counter a hero under the influence of a Nanoboost but Zarya provides a quick and easy counter play to the counter play with her bubbles. Nothing is more scary than a Nanoboosted Reaper speeding towards you about to press Q, unless he’s got a glowy pink sphere surrounding him too.

B Tier: “The Semi-Core Heroes”

Remember all of those that discussion about Nanoboost and Ana just now? Well, Ana has to cast her Nanoboosts on someone, and that someone is most often Reinhardt and Reaper in the current meta. Not much else to say here, except that Reinhardt has also been steadily climbing in king of the hill usage – a mode he’s historically been completely absent from. The Ana boostrap is real, when it comes to pulling up heroes that synergize with her well.

C Tier “The Balanced Heroes”

Absent Reaper making the jump to the B Tier, the C Tier remained the same this week with a little bit of in-group shuffling. Winston tops the group, gaining a bit of ground for his skew towards usage in king of the hill maps. For aspiring Winston players in ranked play, his shield can often cause major headaches for enemy Anas trying to save their teammates at distance. Unfortunately, higher-skilled players will often focus down a Winston’s shield quite quickly, negating its heal-dart-blocking ability. Next up is McCree, the most popular and arguably most well-balanced DPS whose popularity does not rely on synergy with Ana. Even though McCree can do work without an Ana, I have to hesitate before saying a Nanoboost on a McCree is waste. The damage boost actually makes his Deadeye skulls charge twice as fast! Mei appears next as the Ana meta’s only consistent annoyance: her freezing abilities are the next best option to outright stunning a Nanoboosted target. Tracer once again reached the C Tier on the back of her king of the hill usage, netting 73% in that map type compared to 13% elsewhere. Roadhog increased in usage by 7% this week potentially due to a single player: KongDooPanthera’s Evermore. Evermore played Roadhog for 16 sides this week, averaging over 6 minutes of play time per match on the combo-based tank. Genji was the last C Tier this week, seeing balanced usage across many teams despite the supposed Korean penchant for Genji ringers.

D Tier “Meta Dependent Heroes”

Last week, I gave Pharah and Mercy a small, non-objective boost into the D Tier, because all of the D Tier heroes fell within a percentage point of each other. This week, there was no such phenomenon. Zenyatta was the only hero who fell into the 5-20% usage tier, and can attribute roughly half of his usage this week to the chinese region. Two players, Littlecat and 11520 (great name, by the way) playing for chinese teams NGA and All Strike respectively represent roughly half of the Zenyatta data this week, and nearly all of the payload usage of this hero. Unfortunately for NGA and All Strike, this usage did not lead to a positive winrate for either team :(

F Tier “Even Asians don’t play these Heroes…but apparently Western players do sometimes?”

Pharah and Mercy may have flirted with escaping the F Tier last week, but both have fallen back below even 4% of rate of use. Interestingly, one of the few successful examples of Pharah came from a western player, Tviq, in a win on King’s Row offense and defense. Another western player well known for his Pharah, Talespin, also chipped in with a Pharah pick on a successful King’s Row attack in EnVyUs’ first matches in OGN’s Apex Invitational. While these numbers did not add up to significant total usage, it was actually the West – not the East – who we should look to for good examples of successful Pharah play. Hanzo fits a similar description as Pharah – a hero rarely picked that showed surprising success when used by a western player. This week, Hanzo’s only successful usage came on Hollywood offense by Seagull and Tviq once again, the latter of which sealed Rogue’s APAC finals win with a quad-kill Dragonstrike into a Graviton Surge. Junkrat was the final of these “Tviq” - type F Tier heroes, with a single successful pick by the man himself on Temple of Anubis offense. Unfortunately for the rest of the tier (I’m counting Mercy as an extension of Pharah in this case), it’s the same old story: not viable in tournament play.

As usual I will caution you to take the F Tier with a grain of salt…it only represents present usage at the top levels of Overwatch, it is not meant to tell you that your favorite Hero is garbage or for you to use as ammo to flame people in ranked play. Let’s be nice to each other ;3

** I do not chose the placement of heroes in a Tier, only the Range which defines the Tier. By determining Usage Rate directly from hero Time Played in Tournament Matches, my data is Objectively determined, and not subjective at all.



It’s the West’s World After All!

One of the joys of writing about esports is the opportunity to overreact about things and then be proved wrong about it. Last week, myself and many others severely overreacted to our beloved western teams’ group stage losses to Korean teams. The sky was falling, the Asian invasion had begun – our time basking in the Overwatch sun had come to a close. However, it’s a new week and I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. While I do believe that the Koreans in particular are much further along in their development as a region to be reckoned with, our western teams have bounced back in a big way. To put an exclamation point on the western rebound, Rogue’s convincing win in the finals of APAC showed the world who’s still on top. What follows will be a map by map analysis of Rogue’s finals matches and the meta-relevant hero choices that occurred.


Game 1: Numbani

Side 1

Rogue began this match with a lineup of Ana/McCree/Winston/Genji/Lucio/D.Va, a lineup designed around picking a single target and diving on top of them with a speed-boosted Genji, Winston, and D.Va. The Ana pick provided an insurance Nanoboost to combo with the Genji’s Dragonblade if the initial strategy fails, and the McCree pick was kind of a mystery. On the first point of Numbani, an attacking McCree is not likely to have great angles on the enemy team’s players who generally position themselves on the high ground. That said, Akm is one of the best McCree players in the world, so perhaps they simply wished to play to his strengths with their open flex spot.

Lunatic Hai opened with a tank-heavy lineup of Ana/Winston/Roadhog/Lucio/Reinhardt/McCree all positioned on the high ground surrounding the point. This lineup exposed the weakness of Rogue’s McCree pick: while Rogue successfully zeroed in on and obliterated LH’s McCree in two consecutive attacks, the beefier Korean team was able to push them back. Finally, Akm swapped to a Reaper and Rogue was able to leverage his shotgun blasts and a timely Genji Dragonblade against LH’s three tank targets to finally secure the point. Both teams immediately swapped to a Zarya (from D.Va on Rogue, Winston on LH), recognizing that while this near-core tank was a clunky choice for the first point of Numbani she plays excellently for the rest of the map. Reinforce also swapped to his signature Reinhardt for the streets phases, and Rogue was eventually able to fully push the cart on the back of a couple huge Beyblade combos from Unkoe’s Ana and Akm’s Reaper.

Side 2

As the sides flipped, Lunatic Hai employed an offensive lineup of Lucio/Reinhardt/Winston/Ana/McCree/Tracer, a lineup with two goals: dive with Tracer and Winston under a Lucio Speed Boost, and position the McCree behind the Reinhardt shield to pick off distracted players. You’ll recall Rogue’s offensive lineup with a “confusing” McCree pick – it was confusing in part because there was nothing in their comp (like LH’s Reinhardt) to support him. Lunatic Hai did take a bit of a risk here by having multiple goals to focus on with their team composition instead of one unified plan, but this also allowed them to be more flexible and less easily countered.

Rogue’s defensive lineup appeared to mirror their offensive lineup in theme with a composition consisting of Lucio/Roadhog/Ana/Zarya/Winston/Genji. Genji and Winston paired with a Lucio Speed Boost and a Zarya Bubble make an effective dive team and Roadhog can play sneaky to try to secure hook kill combos from strange angles. The Roadhog pick was a little bit strange since Roadhog is generally used at the pro level to win the Reinhardt shield battle – his alternate fire is one of the best shield-busting tools from range in the game. However, like their offensive lineup it seems like Rogue created a 5 man strategy and allowed Akm to flex whatever hero he felt would have the most impact to fill the gap. Since Rogue’s Reinhardt player was playing Winston, it somewhat explains the absence of this hero usually paired with Akm’s Hog.

Unfortunately for Rogue, Akm’s Roadhog pick ended in disaster: a missed hook, a few missed shotgun blasts, and a Lucio boop later and he dead off the side of the map. Lunatic Hai cleaned up and we were on to the streets phase. Rogue immediately swapped Akm to McCree and Reinforce to Reinhardt, while Lunatic Hai moved Leetaejun from Tracer to Reaper – interestingly choosing to abstain from playing Zarya this round. Akm’s McCree along with the rest of Rogue were able to build ultimate and contest the cart just meters before the second point, and then contest it again with a Nanoboosted Dragonblade with Akm playing cleanup – netting 5 more kills. The remaining second point defense continued to be the Tviq show as he built on the pressure created by his previous Genji kills – moving forward, creating space, and daring Lunatic Hai to fight him while he built to his next ultimate. Finally, after a swap off Reaper to Roadhog that netted a hook combo onto Tviq’s Genji and lead into a space-creating Whole Hog, LH was able to take the second point.

Rogue was quick to respond: swapping Tviq to Reaper to counter Lunatic Hai’s Roadhog. Leaning on Beyblades from Tviq and space-creating, speed-boosted Deadeyes from Akm, Rogue was able to force Lunatic Hai into overtime on the final point, where they were finally able to complete the map.

Side 3

Due to Rogue completing the map without triggering overtime, they were given the excess time to attack the first point. This push did not go well for them, but it utilized an incredibly interesting strategy that can work as a surprise tactic from time to time. Rogue’s lineup consisted of Bastion/Lucio/Reinhardt/Ana/Zarya/Mei. The idea with this lineup is to take the left high ground without revealing the Bastion by speed boosting into position then immediately dropping a Mei Ice Wall to prevent vision. The Bastion and Reinhardt then set up overlooking the point and surrounding platforms and begin mowing down their opponents as soon as the Ice Wall fades while the rest of the team captures the point. Crazy, but just crazy enough to potentially work. Rogue’s strategy may have paid off if not for the unlucky pick of a defending Mei by Lunatic Hai, who simply dropped her own Ice Wall in front of Akm’s Bastion after Tviq’s wwall expired – providing enough stall for her team to get on top of Rogue’s setup and blow them up. The first map of the finals would thus end in a tie.

In the interest of time and sanity, I’m going to move on to the next map. After tying the first series of Numbani, Lunatic Hai would go on to win the re-play of the map the second time around.


Game 2: King’s Row

Side 1

Lunatic Hai began this match on defense, with a Misfits-inspired lineup of Reinhardt/Zarya/Mei/Ana/Roadhog/Lucio. Mei is a monster on many first point defenses for her ability to block out entire attack lanes, and King’s Row’s first point is the dream point for Mei. This three-tank lineup was designed to feed the Ana ultimate, in a map where she can often have line of sight on her team without the enemy having line of sight on her. Rogue began their attack with a Reaper/Hanzo/Lucio/Reinhardt/Zarya/Ana lineup, but immediately swapped Tviq to Pharah from Hanzo after firing a Sonic Arrow to scout LH’s team composition. This single decision to put Tviq on his Pharah defined the entire match, so I’m going to focus in on the game through this point of view.

Lunatic Hai’s lineup was meant to counter an Ana-based, tank-heavy lineup like their own: the Mei would freeze the large targets while the Roadhog would provide their Ana a constant stream of ultimate charge in lieu of a more traditional Reaper pick. However, Lunatic Hai’s lineup had a core weakness regardless of whether they picked the Roadhog or Reaper: they had zero long range hitscan DPS. This made Rogue’s choice to put Tviq on Pharah brilliant, but incredibly simple in retrospect because it effectively countered Lunatic Hai’s entire gameplan with a single hero choice. Rogue also benefited potentially unknowingly from the fact that LH’s McCree player, Esca, was playing Mei. This made Lunatic Hai reluctant to scrap their team comp to put Esca on McCree in response to a single hero pick.

Tviq immediately made his impact felt, forcing Lunatic Hai’s Ana from high ground from relative safe range and creating space for his team. Lunatic Hai was actually able to hook Tviq’s Pharah, but in a stroke of extremely poor luck Tviq was pulled behind a friendly iceblocked Mei and avoided the lethal combo. Soon after, Akm Beybladed into a triple kill, and Tviq murdered two LH players in the hotel to secure the point.

At this point in the map, LH knew they had a problem with the Pharah and swapped Leetaejun – not Esca – onto McCree. This was the right choice, but the wrong player as Esca remained on Mei, but it was soon apparent why: a Graviton by Miro followed up by a Blizzard from Esca caught most of Rogues players within their radius as they turned the corner of King’s Row’s streets.

Most.

What should have been an easy team wipe for Lunatic Hai turned into quite the opposite as Winz fired his own Graviton and Tviq – having barely escaped the Graviton – wiped them out with a clutch Barrage. The surviving Reinhardt player, Dean, slammed down his Earthshatter to try to make at least something happen out of the now wasted ultimate combo but Tviq picked him and Esca’s Mei off with direct rockets in short order.

The rest of the match was an exercise in tilt by Lunatic Hai. Leetaejun tried to duel Tviq on his McCree at the second point and failed miserably, then Esca finally swapped to McCree for the final leg of the push – but it was too late. A couple pit-outs and direct rocket hits later and Rogue had stomped their way to a full push.

Side 2

This match’s second side started off with both teams running the Misfits lineup: Reinhardt/Ana/Zarya/Mei/Lucio with a Reaper for Rogue and a Roadhog for Lunatic Hai. Judging from the Reaper pick, Rogue must have known Lunatic Hai was going to attempt this lineup on offense and chose the Roadhog-shredding DPS to counter. Checking Lunatic Hai’s hero usage throughout the past two weeks on King’s Row – we can see that they rarely play anything else:

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Reaper counterpick notwithstanding, this particular mirrored lineup generally comes down to which Mei gets the better of the other with their wall usage (Thanks to Flame for the insight). Luckily for Rogue, they had Tviq on Mei. After a quick game of wall-chicken, Tviq disrupted LH’s offense and Reinforce nailed a clutch charge to knock several LH players into the air, securing the first fight for Rogue.

As the fighting progressed, it was clear that the Roadhog pick for Lunatic Hai was a problem. Tviq constantly spammed icicles at the large, slow target, eventually building his Blizzard in the same time it took LH’s Mei to reach 60% ultimate charge. This allowed Tviq to nail a 5-man Blizzard in time for the second engagement, once again winning the fight for Rogue. Lunatic Hai however was finally able to get their act together and a clutch charge pick by Dean onto Akm (who had Death Blossom ready) enabled them to take the first point.

But LH got cocky. They pushed up extremely far while the payload was still in its “leaving-the-garage” animation hoping to pick off staggered Rogue players stuck in the forward spawn area. In their eagerness, Lunatic Hai did not realize that all of Rogue had died at the same time early in the point cap, so all six Rogue players respawned together at the forward spawn. Rogue immediately counterattacked and eliminated LH players two at a time, pushing them all the way back to their own spawn. It would take two big ultimates from Lunatic Hai – Earthshatter and Graviton Surge – to knock Rogue back and begin moving through the streets.

Rogue would once again shave time off the clock by contesting the point with a huge Tviq blizzard, but eventually secede control of the indoors entry. Tviq then swapped to Pharah and caused Lunatic Hai to face the same mismatch as the last side. Tviq dominated the skies, uncontested by LH’s lack of long range hitscan. Even under the pressure of several combined ultimates, Rogue’s defenses held firm. In the final fight, Reinforce valiantly charged Dean’s Nanoboosted Reinhardt off the edge of the map, and Tviq’s Nanoboosted Pharah direct hits vaporized the rest of LH’s attack.


Game 3: Nepal

King of the Hill maps generally do not have much going on in terms of Hero switching, so this section will be a bit shorter.

Village

Lunatic Hai chose to run an Ana-based lineup consisting of Ana/Zarya/Reaper/Tracer/Winston/Lucio – nothing too out of the ordinary here. Teams that run Ana on king of the hill will often use a Reinhardt in lieu of a Winston depending on the map, but as we can see from Lunatic Hai’s prior king of the hill matches throughout the tournament this was their preferred composition regardless of the map.

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Rogue, on the other hand, had something special planned with their lineup. Taking a note out of Cloud 9’s closed beta playbook, Rogue’s lineup consisted of Reinhardt/Zarya/Ana/Bastion/Lucio/McCree – the objective of which was to secure a few kills, get set up, and force LH to change their lineup to deal with the Bastion. Like the many matches before this one, that’s exactly what happened. Lunatic Hai was forced to move their Winston to a D.Va after Tviq mowed down their Tracer and Rogue set up on the bridge, but this was not enough. Lunatic Hai eventually had to swap from Tracer to Genji and from Reaper to McCree in a last ditch effort to counter the entrenched Bastion, but by this point the score was 75-0 in favor of Rogue. Lunatic Hai was able to take the point, but Rogue stormed back with a Nanoboost on Tviq to re-cap. Several Akm and Tviq highlight plays later, and Rogue had taken the first map.

Sanctum

Lunatic Hai, ever consistent, stuck with an Ana-core lineup with a couple of changes for this indoor map: Ana/Reinhardt/McCree/Roadhog/Zarya/Lucio. This time, instead of using Winston, Reaper, and Tracer, they opted to employ a McCree and Roadhog behind a Reinhardt shield– the better to make use of the larger open space of the Sanctum. Rogue swapped only one hero, Tviq’s Bastion for a Hanzo, also keeping to their trend of somewhat un-intuitive king of the hill hero choices. The outcome of these two lineups colliding depended primarily on two factors: the Hanzo and the Roadhog. Given time, the Roadhog would win the Reinhardt shield battle and break open Rogue’s defenses. The Roadhog also represented a constant 1-shot kill threat with his hook combo. Tviq on Hanzo was thus on the clock: he had to hit his headshots and build his ultimate before Lunatic Hai could break through. The actual battle unfolded somewhat strangely. Tviq hit enough headshots to quickly build his ultimate, misplays by Lunatic Hai ultimately led to Rogue taking the point.

Lunatic Hai would take the next fight and the point behind their Nanoboosted Reinhardt – forcing Tviq onto to Reaper presumably to better deal with Lunatic Hai’s Roadhog. The rest of the game can be summed up by how each team used their ultimates. In the next engagement, both teams dropped a Graviton + Deadeye combo on each other, but only Lunatic Hai secured a kill which they snowballed into a wipe. After a subsequent teamfight, Rogue was ready with Nanoboost, Graviton, and Deadeye charged again to take the point, now >90% in LH’s favor. Feeling the pressure, Rogue used all three of these and easily wiped Lunatic Hai, who played their ultimates much more conservatively. The score now at 99-40, Lunatic Hai bided their time until unleashing their own flurry of ultimates, stealing the point back and securing the win.

Temple

Temple is one of the snowbally-est king of the hill maps, so the outcome of this match depended more on the first fight than anything else. Rogue utilized a lineup of Reinhardt/Zarya/Ana/Reaper/Lucio/McCree, while Lunatic Hai opted for Ana/Reinhardt/Reaper/Roadhog/Zarya/Lucio. Rogue won the first fight handily after Reinforce rammed a charge right up the middle of the point, knocking several LH players helplessly into the air. The only swap that occurred throughout the match was a confusing swap by Leetaejun from Roadhog to Tracer – confusing because it was extremely ballsy to swap to Tracer against one of the world’s best McCrees in Akm. Rogue never lost control of the point, and won easily.

Village

Having seen Rogue’s Bastion comp once already on this map, Lunatic Hai was ready to respond with a dive-comp lineup of Ana/Zarya/Reaper/Tracer/Winston/Lucio. They also made an effort to speed to the high ground and engage Rogue before they could set up the Bastion, and blew them up inside the building. Rogue swapped to a lineup of Reinhardt/Zarya/Ana/Reaper/Lucio/McCree for the rest of the map. Unfortunately for Rogue, Lunatic Hai was able to snowball their initial point capture with some very clever plays into a win – with no further swaps occurring throughout the match. Here was a fun, two-part play for example that paid off incredibly well for Lunatic Hai that you may want to try sometime in ranked play:

  • LH’s Winston jumped straight up in the air above Rogue as they rushed through the choke, drawing their attention and using his ultimate to not instantly die.

  • The moment all of Rogue’s players looked up, Lunatic Hai jammed a Nanoboosted Reaper down their throats, wiping the distracted team instantly.

Temple

The final map of this Bo5 began with Lunatic Hai on Ana/Zarya/Reaper/Tracer/Winston/Lucio and Rogue on Reinhardt/Zarya/Ana/Pharah/Lucio/McCree. Pharah was the only stand-out pick here, but Tviq had already done an incredible job on the maligned hero on King’s Row so it made some sense to pull her out on one of the few viable Pharah king of the hill maps. As the match progressed, Tviq would eventually swap to Roadhog, to better take advantage of his team’s positioning and in reaction to Lunatic Hai’s swap to a McCree. This final match ended up being less about the hero choices, and more about individual clutch plays to win unlikely matches. Twice, Reinforce hit huge Reinhardt charges to pin a Nanoboosted Reaper and an ulting Winston respectively and Unkoe was able solo a Winston on his Ana – among other examples. With a 3-2 score, Rogue came out with the win on Nepal.


Game 3: Temple of Anubis

Ah, Temple of Anubis – the bane of pros and casual players alike. Temple of Anubis is extremely skewed towards offense (see below), so these matches often go to multiple sides and force teams to swap many, many times to try to defend against a seemingly unstoppable attack.

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Side 1

With that in mind, let’s check out the lineups: Rogue ran a Reinhardt/Zarya/McCree/Junkrat/Lucio/Ana on defense, while Lunatic Hai used Lucio/Roadhog/Zarya/Ana/Mei/Reinhardt on offense. It’s important to note that this is the single occurrence of Junkrat that appeared in this week’s dataset and that while Junkrat is an extremely strong hero on Anubis, it was more motivated by Tviq’s individual skill on the hero. Tviq has always been known as one of, if not the world’s best Junkrat players and Rogue capitalized on his strength by playing him here on Anubis’ first point.

Of course the best laid plans do not often go as expected. Tviq was picked off by a clutch Roadhog hook which snowballed into a team wipe, granting the first point to Lunatic Hai in their first fight. This point loss then prompted Akm to swap to Reaper, and Tviq to swap to Mei – a hero he arguably should have been on from the beginning. Rogue was luckily able to prevent the second point snowball cheese by securing an early pick in transition, and Lunatic Hai swapped their Roadhog to a Reaper shortly thereafter.

After that, it was Rogue’s turn to dominate. While Temple of Anubis is notoriously hard to defend, stellar play by Rogue’s players resulted in early, momentum-killing picks that disrupted any hope of Lunatic Hai’s pulling off successful attacks. Time and time again Akm would seek out and find Ryujehong’s Ana, or Tviq would wall off a hero to kill, or Reinforce would pin with a charge. Even a last minute Tracer swap by Lunatic Hai was not enough, and Rogue held the second point for a score of 0-1.

Side 2

Having successfully defended the un-defendable, Rogue knew they could choose a slower but more consistently effective lineup to win the map. This means two heroes: Genji and Reaper. Rogue’s lineup invested hardcore into the Nanoboost combo, guaranteeing that whenever Unkoe’s Ana reached full ultimate charge there was someone to spend it on. The rest of Rogue’s lineup, a Winston, Lucio, and Zarya was decidedly dive-y in theme – a speed-boosted Winston paired with a Zarya-bubbled Genji had the potential to quickly reach Lunatic Hai’s backline. Given that Rogue’s primary goal was to string together two Nanoboosted Dragonblades or Death Blossoms at each point over the course of the match, this dive potential was a secondary concern. Lunatic Hai’s lineup consisted of Winston/Mei/Lucio/Reinhardt/Roadhog/Ana – a good defensive lineup but still missing a Zarya. Zarya is by far the most used and most successful tank in the current meta, so the subbing in of a Winston for the Zarya was sketchy at best.

Luckily for Lunatic Hai, they were able to get an early pick on Tviq, then repel the first wave of Nanoboosting by Rogue. On their Rogue’s second push, however, Tviq would solo Dragonblade and survive an extremely long time, eventually receiving a second Nanoboost and cleaning up the point. Rogue then capitalized on their ultimate advantage – a Dragonblade, a Death Blossom, and a nearly charged Sound Barrier – as well as two quick Tviq picks to easily take the second point and win the map with a 2-1 score.


Game 5: Hollywood

Side 1

Backs to the wall, Lunatic Hai resorted to the team composition that – at this point – was obviously their most practiced: the Misfits comp of Reinhardt/Ana/Winston/ Mei/Lucio/Roadhog. The data agrees, this 5+1 lineup had served them well throughout their matches up until this point:

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Looking at Lunatic Hai’s data however, you may notice a streak of red on Hollywood spoiling the match to come. Rogue utilized their own take on the Beyblade comp with a Reaper instead of Lunatic Hai’s Roadhog on defense – the counter-pick they’d succeeded with throughout the finals. Hollywood, like King’s Row, almost requires a Mei on both teams these days due to the low number of routes through the choke points. A well-timed wall by either the offense or the defense can provide valuable cover for movement, or disrupt an oncoming attack.

The first point was taken relatively easily due to a bit of strategy on Lunatic Hai’s side. Finally realizing that Reinforce’s style of Reinhardt play generally involves hitting huge charges to disrupt his opponents’ attack, LH waited patiently for the inevitable dive and simply dropped an Ice Wall behind him – cutting off his Ana’s line of sight. At the same time, Leetaejun managed to secure a Roadhog pick on Tviq, and Rogue was force to abandon their defense to set up for the streets phase.

As the cart moved into the second section of the map, both Rogue and Lunatic Hai maintained the same lineups. Lunatic Hai felt no reason to swap the Roadhog onto a Reaper and drove the point home by several huge Leetaejun hooks in a row to advance the cart more than halfway along its path. Then, Rogue woke up. The next several engagements were marked by disrupting walls from Tviq, Beyblades by Akm and Unkoe, and general murder sprees by Rogue as a team. Finally realizing the Roadhog was feeding Akm and Tviq ultimate charge, Lunatic Hai swapped to a Reaper and pushed the cart nearly to the second point.

Then, another mistake. Esca whiffed an Ice Wall meant to block Rogue from contesting the point and Rogue was able to catch them by surprise to defend it. As the clock ticked down and the cart floated unmoving in front of the studio the match devolved into an all-out brawl. Both teams swapped to Tracers, and a D.Va was even seen as Lunatic Hai desperately tried to force overtime and move into the final section of Hollywood. Rogue’s Reaper and Ana play was too strong however, and they successfully prevented Lunatic Hai from taking the point.

Side 2

Lunatic Hai, perhaps realizing that a lineup without a Zarya might be unwise (and having one of the best Korean Zarya players in Miro), subbed in Zarya for Winston to defend with a lineup of Roadhog/Mei/Reinhardt/Ana/Lucio/Zarya. Rogue made use of a similar theory: they knew they had one of the world’s best Hanzo players – so they put Tviq on Hanzo to create a lineup of Reaper/Zarya/Reinhardt/Ana/Lucio. This pick was particularly worth a more deatiled explanation: across 12 instances of Hanzo picks on Hollywood offense, 10 of them have successfully completed the map. Hanzo provides a similar service to the Ana/Reaper core lineup as Roadhog in terms of pickoff potential, but has the upside of vertical movement from his wall climb and better vision for his team from his sonic arrows. Furthermore, Hanzo builds ultimate much faster than Roadhog, and his ultimate is an incredible zoning tool for the first point of Hollywood in particular.

As the assault began, Tviq’s Hanzo performed exactly as expected: he plinked a couple of headshots, and farmed the rest of his ultimate off easy hits on Leetaejun’s Roadhog. As soon as he hit full charge, Rogue hard-engaged with a speed boost and Reinhardt charge, then Tviq forced Lunatic Hai to scurry away with a Dragonstrike aimed at the point. Rogue quickly cleaned up from there while Lunatic Hai set up for the streets phase – swapping the detrimental Roadhog pick for a Reaper. All was lost for Lunatic Hai, however, as all Rogue had to do was wait until Tviq re-built his ultimate to combo with Winz’s Graviton Surge. Which they did. And it was awesome.


Is Tviq the best player in Overwatch right now?

…maybe.

You may have noticed a common theme in many of Rogues matches throughout this tournament. Watching Rogue’s finals matches, I found myself often thinking: “Oh wow, there goes Tviq with another weird hero pick. I wonder if it will work out for them…” Turns out, most of the time it absolutely did. This made me wonder: who has the deepest hero pool in the competitive scene? Well, I took a bit of time and compiled all of the data that I had recorded since Season 2 began, and guess what: it’s Tviq.

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Not only does Tviq have the deepest hero pool out of all of the pros that I have recorded, he also has a positive overall winrate – something that’s actually not that common. Now, before you all go screaming from the top of the hills about Mr. Tviq here, realize that this data does have some caveats. Tviq’s stats benefit from two factors: Rogue’s winning tournament record and the large amount of tournament invites they have received. You could argue that winning a lot of tournaments leads to more invites, but suffice to say Tviq has had more matches and thus more opportunities to play different heroes than a lot of his peers.

So, is Tviq the best player in Overwatch? The only thing we can say for certain is that Tviq has the deepest hero pool while being one of the best players on one of the best teams in Overwatch, and that’s pretty neat. While I was researching for this week’s report, I also reached out to Tviq while he and Rogue traveled from China to Korea for the OGN Apex Invitational to ask him a few questions about his hero pool and the importance of maintaining a high level of skill across multiple heroes in Overwatch.

 

CP: To begin, can you give us a quick background of your time in the FPS genre?

 

Tviq: My FPS background isn’t that large really. I’ve played TF2 competitively and some CS:GO, but nothing impressive in that.

 

CP: While you played TF2, what classes did you main in that game?

 

Tviq: I was playing all of the classes in TF2 – switching off whenever the situation required – a lot like I do here in Overwatch. I only ever mained Scout, Soldier, and Sniper in teams

 

CP: How did the skills you developed playing other arena shooters / FPS translate to Overwatch? Were there any direct comparisions?

 

Tviq: I guess all of the practice I did in all my previous Arena shooters translated at least when it comes to aiming. Some of the movements and mechanics I learned in those games don’t translate directly to Overwatch, but once you learn how to shoot a projectile it isn’t hard to adjust to another … and Hitscan is just point and click.

 

CP: What was the first Hero you remember playing in Overwatch, and what did you think of the game’s general mechanics when you picked it up?

 

Tviq: First hero I played was Widowmaker and generally the game didn’t seem to revolve around mechanics like Quake or TF2 where you have to bunnyhop, or advances rocket jumping etc. It isn’t a bad thing, instead the game has a pretty in-depth tactical approach which I enjoy just as much.

 

CP: My dataset shows that you’ve played 13 separate Heroes since the beginning of season 2 in tournament play, and that you have a positive overall winrate – the best performance of all players recorded. What Heroes do you consider your “best” Heroes, and are they any different than the Heroes you’re known for playing?

 

Tviq: I guess my best heroes would be Genji, Pharah, Soldier, Zarya, and Ana as those are the ones I’ve had the most practice on. But I do play all and rotate around on all roles and different heroes when I play ranked.

 

CP: Can you recall a specific moment in ranked play or tournament play where your ability to play many heroes gave you a leg up on your opponents?

 

Tviq: In ranked not so much … I mean sure it will help but there isn’t exactly a specific moment where it will really shine. Tournament play however, it’s all the time. If your opponents aren’t as versatile as you, you will always have a leg up on everyone. Now, whether you actually use that advantage or not is a different matter, but that factor will play a role in every matchup.

 

CP: Do you think you need to have a deep hero pool to succeed in Ranked Play? Tournament Play?

 

Tviq: Ranked play? No. Tournament play? Yes-ish. You can potentially get away with just being good on a few, but eventually that won’t work. There will be that meta where your worse heroes will be the ‘meta’ heroes and you will be behind.

 

CP: Last question: anything you’d like to plug?

 

Tviq: Check out my stream! www.twitch.tv/TviQuE

 

Thanks to Tviq for taking time from his extremely busy schedule travelling the world and winning Overwatch tournaments. You can follow Rogue itself at @GoingRogueGG, and the rest of Tviq’s teammates’ various social media and twitch streams through Overbuff’s Rogue esports page

Deep Dives!

Once again, I reached out to the community for questions to answer regarding this the eastern meta. What follows will be my attempt to answer a selection of the requests I received.


What were the key differences between the East and West Meta?

This is an old question that I’ve chosen to revisit because I finally have a decent amount of western-team data to draw some conclusions from:

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Thanks in part to Rogue’s winning run through APAC, the West was decidedly more winning over the course of these two weeks of asian tourneys. If we ignore the winrates, there’s still plenty to learn. Western players are much more likely to play Hanzo, for example, while their eastern counterparts are more likely to resort to Bastion-based final point defense. The East played more Genji in more situations, while the West played more Mei in more situations. The West played zero Zenyatta on hybrid maps, while the East loved him.


Can you analyze Team hero pools?

Yes!

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With this chart, you can click a team’s name to filter the hero pool chart to show only the heroes played by the selected team. Then if you’re curious about each match, you can mouseover the individual game squares to see what match it represents and click on the square to drive down to that specific match’s hero picks. For the sake of example, I have filtered by Rogue’s hero pool here. We can see that Rogue played mostly every hero at some point during the past two weeks, but tended to include an Ana, Lucio, and Reinhardt in the majority of their matches. McCree, Mei, Zarya, and Reaper were the next up in terms of matches played. I encourage you to explore the data and see what other teams were up to as well.


What’s the deal with Ana?

I received many requests for data about Ana and her rise to power, who she synergizes with, and her winrates in various scenarios. I could not answer all of these questions, but I did put together an Ana-based chart:

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Direct Link

With this chart, we can see that Blizzard’s “nerf” to Ana hasn’t really affected her usage whatsoever. Mind you, its only been a week – but climbing from sub 80% usage to above 90% after receiving a nerf tends to indicate that something was missed. I have also included the “best maps” for Ana which were somewhat surprising to me with two attacking sides of 2CP maps and a single KotH map leading the way. This can primarily be chalked up to low sample size, since the charts the map completion percentage without regard to number of matches completed. As we examine the rest of the Ana-favored maps things start to make sense – Eichenwalde and Dorado defense, Numbani and King’s Row offense – these are all Ana-favored maps. It was also interesting that Ana was not favored on either side of Hanamura, perhaps pros and casual players alike should steer clear of the meta’s favorite hero here.


Chart Dump

I have several charts that I’ve made in the past that were not asked for, but that update automatically as I record each week’s data. If you are curious, I’ve linked them below:

F Tier Hero Appearances

King of the Hill First Point Capture Bias

Swap Locations


Final thoughts and shoutouts

Huge shoutout again to the Asian Overwatch community – it was amazing to see both the crazy production level of the APAC and Apex tournies as well as seeing all of the fan vs. player interaction our western pros are having across the pacific. Shoutout to Montecristo and Doa for taking the Overwatch casting plunge in the Apex Invitational (happy birthday Monte!), and shoutout to Jason Kaplan and Mitch “Ubershouts” Leslie for killing it with professionalism and hype in the APAC tournament. Also, shoutout again to Flame for his excellent post-match analysis series, I leaned on it heavily for catching up on the late-night matches played this week.

Until next time,

CaptainPlanet