Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: Putting in Overtime
What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: Putting in Overtime. Starting with (and partly because of) TakeTV, I started tracking the proportion of match time spent in final overtime pushes – perhaps the most hype-inducing moments in professional Overwatch. During TakeTV, Movistar Riders pulled off what appeared to be one of the longest ever overtime pushes against Eunited, and I knew I had to seek out what I could learn from overtime in Overwatch. As it turns out, there was quite a bit! However, as this is a weekly-ish report on the current events in Overwatch, I’ll be saving my post-TakeTV overtime analysis for after the results from this week, which includes the group stages of Contenders NA, EU, and Apex playoffs. Let’s look at the tiers!
S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate): Lucio (97%), Winston (95%)
Tier 1 (>80% Usage Rate): Tracer (88%), D.Va (80%)
Tier 2 (>50% Usage Rate): Genji (59%), Zenyatta (53%)
Tier 3 (>20% Usage Rate): Soldier 76 (48%), Ana (25%)
Tier 4 (>5% Usage Rate): Sombra (14%), Pharah (10%), Mercy (10%), Reinhardt (6%)
Tier 5 (<5% Usage Rate): Roadhog (4%), Zarya (3%), Widowmaker (3%), McCree (2%), Reaper (1%), Mei (1%), Torbjorn (1%), Bastion (0%), Hanzo (0%), Orisa (0%), Symmetra (0%), Junkrat (0%)
Table of Contents/Direct Links to Interactive Charts used, in order of appearance:
Regional Dive Disagreements
There’s no mistaking it now, we have been in a Dive-dominated meta and the statistics have finally caught up to it in a noticeable way. Besides the obvious Tracer/Winston/Lucio core, a consensus has been reached among NA and Korean teams for the fourth hero in D.Va. EU teams, on the other hand, prefer Genji:
And they should, since EU sports some of the strongest Genji players outside of Korea. Players from four different teams contributed 4%+ to Genji’s overall usage individually:
NiP (well, ex-NiP now…T_T) chipped in a bit too thanks to contributions from Linkzr’s ringing. NA and Korean teams prefer D.Va because – as many of you have probably noticed by now – her Defense Matrix is a swiss-army knife that can deal threats of all sizes. Need to protect your healer from a flanking Tracer? Defense Matrix. Need to respond to a Nanovisor? Stand in front of the Soldier 76 with a Defense Matrix. Want to support your Winston/Tracer dive into the back line? Make them invincible with this one simple trick. The increase in D.Va usage in NA and KR implies that we would see a drop off in Soldier 76 and Ana usage and we see just that, relative to EU:
It is often understated – if it is ever stated at all – how devastating an enemy D.Va can be to an Ana’s effectiveness. Ana’s greatest mechanical strength is providing long-range, instantaneous hitscan heals. This aspect of her design is meant to offset her low mobility and reward her for good positioning, but a D.Va can eliminate this advantage from virtually anywhere along the healing lines of sight by pointing her Defense Matrix at the Ana. This is likely why Ana is suffering much more than Soldier 76 in D.Va-dominant regions: Soldier 76 players may be annoyed by Matrix but removing one of two supports’ ability to heal her team is a much bigger impact than preventing a single dps from getting kills.
Sombra + PharMercy Differences
Moving along the usage tiers, we can see more disagreement between the NA/KR and EU regions when it comes to PharMercy, and Sombra usage. However, at ~10% total usage we start to get into single-team dominated contributions. Sombra for example was used primarily by Conbox Spirit, EnVyUs (who I still consider an NA team), and LuxuryWatch Blue, to the tune of >40% of her overall usage.
Even with this in mind, her usage numbers on defense combined across regions were compelling:
This means that for all time spent on defense throughout Contenders Group Stages and recent Apex matches, a quarter of that time included a Sombra in a team’s lineup. Interestingly, most of these Sombra picks didn’t convert to wins:
But wait, I can explain. Most of these losses were due to either stronger teams overpowering lesser opponents, or due to the way I calculate winrates. If we look to Temple of Anubis for example, where Sombra recorded a 72% usage rate on defense:
We see that strong teams like Movistar Riders, Immortals, and Cloud9 recorded wins while their opponents – Ex-Cyclone, Yikes!, and Hammers all played Sombra and lost. Then there’s also the curious case of LG Evil and Toronto Esports: these teams drew on Temple of Anubis, but since I display winrates as a boolean “Win = Yes, Not-Win = No”, Rob420 and Snow’s performances counted against them (blue = win, red = not-win).
Essentially, this means that Sombra is such a popular pick on Temple of Anubis at the pro level that teams – both winners and losers – are likely to be using her regardless of skill level. Our favorite hacker has come quite a long way since her release!
If we do a similar dive into Pharah’s (and by extension, Mercy’s) usage, we find that Zza from Yikes! was the primary NA user of Pharah joined by Rascal for Kongdoo Panthera – both of which had pretty bad Pharah days with Yikes! being 4-0ed by Immortals and KDP all of their KotH matches with Rascal on Pharah. There were plenty of individual instances of Pharah greatness however, with Surefour, Agilities, Flow3r, and even Sinatraa popping off for individual wins. Mangachu was also said to have had strong Pharah games off-stream (and I’ve seen the highlight reel), but unfortunately this did not make it into this week’s dataset.
Quick thoughts on the recent Balance Changes – using Overbuff’s Hero Trends tool
Did you know that Overbuff has a Hero Trends Page? With this tool you can track your favorite heroes pickrates, winrates, and other stats with lots of filters like time, SR tier, and mode. Every time there’s a new patch that comes out y’all ask me for my opinion on the changes so I’m going to nip it in the bud here, with help from the murmurings I’ve heard in the pro scene and Overbuff’s hero tool. Bear in mind, I’m nowhere near the level of pro but I do occasionally speak to the pros and observe them
bitch about comment on upcoming changes, so my opinions will be mostly formed from pro sentiment without having the same personal skill level.
Roadhog: Hog may be dead on arrival, at least in the current meta. While Roadhog’s “dps [will remain] roughly the same”, his ability to 1-shot combo most of Overwatch’s cast was one of the few things keeping him even close to viable in the dive meta. Without this threat, he is a walking pincushion for Tracers to farm ult from, reduced head hitbox or not. Looking to the Heroes tool, the effect of the patch on Roadhog’s pickrate is pretty obvious:
That’s a drop from ~7% pickrate to ~4.5% – which is significant. I will stop short of pronouncing him dead forever though, since his Scrap Gun will still be a valuable ranged Shield-busting tool should the meta return to a barrier-dominated state.
Reaper: The passive change to Reaper is a welcome one, but I do not think it will improve his usage all that much. The issue with his “health orbs” was that they were locked behind the requirement of “securing an elimination.” This is now solved by giving him sustained self-healing throughout a fight, eliminations or not. However, this change did not address the weakness keeping Reaper out of the current meta: mobility. His Shadow Step ability is too slow, too loud, and locks him in place and Reaper has no other way to stay within his effective dps range. But this sentiment may be premature, or only relevant in tournament play:
Reaper has enjoyed a bump in pickrate from 1.83% pre-patch to over 3% post patch. However, if we look at his numbers at the GM level, we see a compelling trend:
Reaper’s winrate has climbed significantly – but this climb oddly began before the balance patch was released. Could this be the fault of a couple, dedicated GM Reaper mains? Or is Reaper the sneaky-good ranked play pick everyone’s been looking for?
McCree: This is the change that I think has the most potential to make waves from the casual to the top of the pro scene. Just look at this gif submitted by reddit user /u/Syncfx
I don’t care if you’re a pro or stuck in bronze: that is not a lot of time to react. Even without Nanoboost, Deadeye can now punish aggressive positioning to a much higher degree. It even has Defense Matrix insurance: its duration is two seconds longer than a full duration Matrix ensuring that you at least trade Deadeye for a de-Mech every time you use it. If we look to his ranked play stats, the playerbase agrees:
His pickrate has climbed similarly to Reaper, although his overall winrate dipped a bit. However, let’s look at GM:
Not only has his pickrate increased even more relative to the overall rate, but his winrate has spiked at the GM level from just below 50% winrate to just under 57% winrate. Turns out the best-aiming portion of the player-base loves McCree buffs, who would have thought? I expect a bit of a learning curve for future Deadeye usage while teams search for optimal positioning and figure out how to protect the vulnerable McCree while he ults (with Defense Matrix, probably). This change should make several people – most notably MonteCristo – very happy. The Electric Cowboy shall ride once again.
Putting in Overtime
The past few months has yielded a very interesting trend. Starting with TakeTV and moving on through Apex and both Contenders tournaments there has been instances of insane overtimes both in distance and contested time. This led me to begin tracking overtime for maps to see if there was anything to be gleaned from the data. The particular overtime stat that I have begun recording is “Time in the Final Overtime” or, “time from the start of the overtime that ends the side”. This means that if a team triggers overtime on point 2 of a map, caps that point, and moves on, then triggers overtime on the third point to finish the map, only the second trigger was counted. This then also means that the “total overtime” numbers are probably a bit less than what are displayed here – it was just easier on the backend to record it in this way. Without further ado, here’s an overall look at overtime stats from TakeTV through today:
And here’s the same chart with KotH maps merged:
So what can we immediately see from these charts? First, it looks like Eichenwalde, Route 66, and the KotH maps are the primary sources of overtime in Overwatch. The KotH matches are easy to explain: their spawn locations are close to the point and heroes like Tracer and Winston can trigger overtime, can stall on the point for prolonged periods of time, are both near 100% usage on KotH:
So the KotH numbers make sense. The next two maps with noticeably higher average overtime “time” – Eichenwalde and Route 66 – can be partly explained by a couple of outliers that I will get into later but there are other concrete reasons these maps have the potential for long overtime pushes. Let’s think about what makes up a successful overtime push. First, you need a sizable respawn run back for the defense, since the offense is the side that maintains/refreshes the overtime meter. This fits the description for Route 66 and Eichenwalde, two of Overwatch’s “longest” maps, and they have the added bonus of “straighter” escort paths compared to the snake-like Watchpoint Gibraltar and King’s Row.
This spawn distance difference means that the kills by the offense are more valuable than the defense, since in a 1-to-1 trade situation the offense will replenish their player faster. Of course, at some point the spawn distance advantage flips, and then it’s all on the offense to get progressively more difficult and clutch kills against the defense – and that phenomenon is harder to predict or explain. Both of these maps also have gates as first and second points which may also add more time to the overtime counter.
I alluded to this as my motivation for writing this mini-report on overtime, but there’s another reason why Route 66 and Eichenwalde stand out as such large sources of overtime in Overwatch: they were host to two of the longest overtime pushes in recent memory. Incredibly, it was the same team involved in both pushes: Movistar Riders. And impossibly, it was the exact same time spent in overtime: 211 seconds (or, 3 minutes and 31 seconds).
During both overtimes, on entirely different maps, Movistar was able to push the payload for an incredible time and then end their opponents’ rebuttal to secure the win. To help understand this uncanny aptitude for overtime situations, I reached out to Logix – Movistar’s Tracer ace – but he was…not very illuminating. Paraphrasing:
Nah we don’t do any different practice or anything. We’re just naturally good at it I guess!
Thanks anyway Logix! You can scroll through the above chart to look at all the instances of overtime in this week’s dataset, or check out the chart below for average overtime overlaid with side completion rate (whether a team pushed to completion or defended successfully).
You will notice that Yikes! – not Movistar Riders – actually has the highest average overtime time, but only because of low sample size including an abnormally long overtime contest with Immortals on Oasis Gardens. We can also see that there was no real rhyme or reason to whether or not teams that participate in longer overtimes on average complete or defend sides.
As more matches come in, these numbers should yield more interesting and clear results but for the moment they serve as good context for just how insane Movistar’s monster pushes have been. We will be able to see these overtime kings back in action this Saturday with the second leg of EU Overwatch Contenders. Who knows, maybe they will be able to bring out some of this Movistar Magic once more!
Final Thoughts and Shoutouts
Special thanks to the Overwatch Contenders broadcast team, from casters to admins, for putting on a good show this past weekend. I only wish we could see more matches streamed! Also shoutout to to the Overwatch dev team for putting out more hero balance changes in their perpetual search for true balance in Overwatch. A game will never be perfectly balanced, but at least somewhat regular changes will keep the meta from getting stale. Maybe we’ll start to see Electric Cowboys flanking unsuspecting dive comps in the near future! Final shoutout to our Overbuff devs, it’s really fun seeing the effect of these balance changes on the pickrates in (somewhat) real time.
Until next time,