Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: Rogue Squadron
What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: Rogue Squadron. This week was a big one for balance in Overwatch: the Lucio and Assault/Hybrid map changes went live just before two major tournaments were scheduled to begin. This presented a unique opportunity to analyze who two different regions of pro Overwatch players adjusted to a game-changing patch, since the two tournaments in question were the Apex Challengers circuit and the Overwatch Monthly Melee, out of Korea and North America respectively. As I allude to in the title of this report, I’ll also be looking into the dominance of Rogue, the team that has been terrorizing the NA scene ever since their move to Vegas earlier in the year. Of course this wouldn’t be a Meta Report without Hero Tiers, so let’s take a look:
S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate): Lucio (97%)
Tier 1 (>80% Usage Rate): No one!
Tier 2 (>50% Usage Rate): Tracer (69%), Ana (69%), D.Va (55%), Winston (55%)
Tier 3 (>20% Usage Rate): Reinhardt (45%), Soldier 76 (44%), Genji (38%), Roadhog (32%), Zarya (28%), Pharah (22%)
Tier 4 (>5% Usage Rate): Mercy (18%), Zenyatta (15%), McCree (10%)
Tier 5 (<5% Usage Rate): Widowmaker (2%), Sombra (2%), Mei (2%), Hanzo (1%), Orisa (0%), Reaper (0%), Torbjorn (0%), Bastion (0%), Junkrat (0%), Symmetra (0%)
Lucio may have received a slight hero rework, but his usage in the pro scene remained largely intact. The lessening of his healing / speed aura range seems to have only changed how Lucio players play, rather than prompting them to change off their main of choice. This was good for some Lucios like dhaK who are masters of wall-riding, flanking Lucio tactics:
But it was bad for other Lucios like Ajax, NRG’s shotcalling Lucio who is struggling to adjust to the changes in effective positioning where he can heal/speed boost his team without exposing himself. Due to the smaller radius, “commander” Lucios who don’t have dhaK’s high-mobility style of play have to stay closer to their teams, and NRG’s supports struggled after being picked off early in many fights this weekend. I have no doubt Lucio players of all styles will adjust to the new way their hero functions, but the fact remains that … well … they’re all still playing Lucio.
The PharMercy Corner
Pharah and Mercy continued to stay relevant in the pro meta for the second week in a row, thanks in part to their strength on King of the Hill maps. During the Overwatch Monthly Melee Hexagrams remarked that “even if you bring a Soldier 76, you basically have to be Dafran to deal with a Pharah-Mercy combo on your own” and that remark rings even more true on maps like Oasis and Ilios where Pharah can duck behind tall buildings with ease. You do not even need a Mercy to run Pharah, however, as Rogue often ran aKm on Pharah with a Zenyatta and Lucio support, placing all of their faith in the idea that the best defense is a good offense. With proper target switching and callouts – on the maps where she can quickly concussive blast herself behind enemy lines – a Pharah/Winston/Genji/Tracer Dive with Discord Orb support comes at you like a spider monkey.
D.Va, and other Regional Meta Differences
D.Va’s position as the second most popular tank surprised me this week, until I remembered that a significant portion of this week’s data came from the Apex Challenger series. Koreans love D.Va, have practiced D.Va religiously, and are masters of getting the most out of their native land’s Tank. If we look to the regional meta breakout chart, we can see that while D.Va had an overall usage rate of 55%, she was present for 82% of all match time played in Korea compared to just 35% in NA:
Other notable regional differences include Soldier 76 and McCree – seems like NA prefers older men while KR enjoys their cowboys. To better understand this phenomenon for Soldier 76, we can also look at the Team Contribution to Total chart I created:
Here’s how to read the chart, using Lucio as an example. Lucio had 97% usage this week, and if you summed all of the Lucio usage displayed from all of the teams, it would add up to 97%. Applying this to Soldier 76, Selfless and Rogue played the most live-streamed matches this weekend, and both teams have strong Soldier 76 players. They were joined by Immortals, and these three teams summed together to account for 27% out of 44% total Soldier 76 usage on their own.
Finally, since someone asked for it last week, I created a Hero/Map Breakout chart as well, so that you can see where your favorite hero was being used. You can either scroll down on the right side (turns out 24 heroes and 14 maps is a lot to fit in one chart) or click on the map squares on the top right to filter by map!
Lucio wasn’t the only thing that changed with the April 11th patch: Assault and Hybrid maps also received a design change. In an effort to reduce ties, Blizzard introduced tracking of the actual capture percentage on capture points: if an attacking team only reaches 25% of a final point, the second attacking team now need only reach 26% to win the map. But, this is not the first time these maps have been adjusted. On February 28th, Blizzard released a patch that gradually increased defender spawn time if attackers controlled the point, ideally making it less difficult for attackers to cap. I took the average “win” score of 2CP maps prior to this Feb. 28th patch, between Feb. 28th and Apr. 11th, and after Apr. 11th and plotted them to see if these patches made an impact on attackers. I expected to see an increase in attacker score, indicating that more maps were being full-cleared by both teams:
The results were inconclusive, because unfortunately there were only a few matches played this weekend on any of these maps. The one maybe significant difference was that following the Feb. 28th patch, Temple of Anubis win scores jumped from a 2.7 average to a 3.3 average, which is pretty big in terms of 2CP maps. We’ll have to keep an eye on whether this newest Apr. 11 change has a similar effect over time, or whether Blizzard continues to fiddle with the defensive mechanics of these maps in the future.
The Dominance of Rogue
Rogue is really good. But it wasn’t always that way. After losing Reinforce and Tviq in the LG/Rogue/Misfits triple trade, then subsequently discovering that Skipjack was not actually French, Rogue was a team adrift in the stagnating EU scene. Their scrim results weren’t great, and they were stuck with two DPS aces in SoOn and aKm in the midst of the Tank meta, and they had a disappointing early exit from IEM Gyeonggi. Times were not good.
Then, a series of events occurred and suddenly they became the mythical beast of the NA scene, a dragon that every other team now wants to slay, the team that all newcomers are compared to. First, they moved to Vegas. Then, they picked up NiCOgdh – a Genji specialist who has recently been moonlighting as a D.Va player when needed. Then, by chance or by choice, they discovered their identity: the most aggressive team in Overwatch’s short history. KnOxXx locked himself in a hyperbolic time chamber with a year’s supply of bananas and peanut butter and emerged a Super-Saiyan level Winston main – the first western player stand level with Miro. Winz took a backseat – often literally on the payload – and learned the ways of Lucio. uNKOE, aKm, NiCO, and SoOn stopped pretending they were anything but fraggers with insane aim, and the team designed itself to utilize all six members’ talents optimally.
As nerfs to Ana, D.Va, and Roadhog piled up and the Tank Meta faded, DPS heroes like Genji, Tracer, and Pharah have begun to sneak back into the meta alongside Soldier 76, the only DPS hero that saw any consistent play during that time. Luckily for Rogue, SoOn was already the best Tracer in the world, famously leading Misfits to a Dreamhack Winter win in the depths of the Tank Meta, laughing in the face of meta-slave teams. What I’m getting at here is that it really didn’t hurt that the meta finally shifted away from tanks, and towards the very hero pool this group of six were best at:
In the tournaments that I’ve covered since their Overwatch Monthly Melee win in February, Rogue has very rarely strayed from their core pool. KnOxXx is always on Winston, SoOn is always on Tracer, Winz is usually on Lucio, NiCO is usually on Genji, and uNKOE and aKm have the more diverse pools. But enough about hero pools, what’s most impressive to me is the wins streak they’re currently on. They have won 62 maps since their return to the scene in the February Overwatch Monthly Melee, and only lost 8 – for a map winrate of 86%. But this pales in comparison to their match winrate, which sits at a tidy 100%. The only teams that have taken a map off of them are one from Liquid, one from then-Hammers, now LG Evil, and six from Selfless: the team that has quickly become their rivals.
What can a team like Selfless do about Rogue? Quite a bit, actually – Selfless has arguably come one Roadhog mis-click and one premature Graviton Surge from defeating them in consecutive Overwatch Monthly Melee finals. Rogue has SoOn, but Selfless has Sinatraa. Rogue has aKm, but Selfless has Dafran. Rogue has NiCO, but Selfless has Emongg – whose Roadhog play nearly carried Selfless on its own this past weekend. The two teams do play distinctly different styles – Kresnik guards the Selfless payload while Winz guards Rogue’s for example – but these two teams have similar strengths in their world-beating DPS/aggressive cores. The one weakness that could be claimed for Rogue – their apparent lack of flexibility – may come into play once Rogue returns to Korea to compete in Apex Season 3. Their greatest strength is that the limited heroes they’ve devoted their time to mastering are peaking meta-wise at the same time, but their one lineup, one style of play is too consistent: Korean teams will eventually solve it given time, practice, and a long Apex season. To stay on top, Rogue will have to adapt to stay ahead of the Koreans and perhaps the meta as well, since there’s no way of knowing what hero might be changed next.
Final Thoughts and Shoutouts
Shout out to Apex and the Overwatch Monthly Melee for providing quality matches from which to pull data for these reports. Shout out to Selfless for nearly slaying the Rogue giant once again. And shoutout to the giant itself – Rogue – the best team in NA. Now that we know that EnVyUs will be joining them come Apex Season 3, we can be sure that the western scene will be well-represented against the likes of Lunatic Hai and RunAway. Hopefully one of them makes it out of groups this time! Also – I will not be doing a Meta Report next week, since I’ll be out of town all weekend. See you in May, and be sure to tune into Around the Watch on Wednesday evening!
Until next time,