Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: Fists of Fury
What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Meta Report: Fists of Fury. Did you know that Apex Season 4 has already begun? Did you know that Overwatch Contenders has kicked off? And did you know that Doomfist is now the most viable upon-release hero Blizzard since Genji? It’s true! The age of Doomfist is upon us and the teams that rushed to become proficient at Overwatch’s newest DPS put on quite the show the past few weeks. To welcome this new era of Overwatch, I will be looking into the who, the where, and the why of Doomfist play as well as the changes the Doomfist patch has had on the rest of Overwatch’s cast. Before we get to that though, it’s time for the return of the hero usage tiers at the pro level:
S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate): No one!
Tier 1 (>80% Usage Rate): Lucio (94%), Winston (92%), D.Va (83%), Tracer (82%)
Tier 2 (>50% Usage Rate): Zenyatta (56%)
Tier 3 (>20% Usage Rate): Soldier 76 (41%), Genji (34%), Ana (27%), Sombra (20%), Doomfist (20%)
Tier 4 (>5% Usage Rate): Pharah (10%), Zarya (9%), Mercy (9%), Reinhardt (8%), McCree (7%)
Tier 5 (<5% Usage Rate): Reaper (4%), Widowmaker (2%), Hanzo (1%), Mei (1%), Torbjorn (1%), Junkrat (0%), Bastion (0%), Roadhog (0%), Orisa (0%), Symmetra (0%)
The release of Doomfist was enough to shake up the meta, but not quite enough to shake the upper echelons of hero usage. Winston, Lucio, and Tracer perform well alongside Doomfist and in dive compositions he was usually played by the Genji player of teams. Despite the lack of shake-up at the top, however, almost every single hero saw at least once instance of relevant usage either in Contenders or Apex. Yes, even Junkrat!…although not Symmetra or Roadhog…or Orisa. Pros and casual players alike have been vocal about their perception of what they found to be a “stale” meta, but every major balance change that comes through seems to induce a diverse range of usage. Perhaps consistent changes would be good for the health of the public perception of Overwatch…but I digress. Let’s talk a little bit about the historic mark Doomfist has made instead.
Doomfist, with his 20% usage in his first week of pro play, has set a new high score for new Overwatch heroes. At least, dating back to Overwatch’s launch:
Overwatch has seen Ana, Sombra, and Orisa join its cast of heroes but Sombra and Ana barely touched 6% usage in their first week of pro tournament play, and Orisa has yet to break 2%. Doomfist is undoubtedly a different beast and has already received an undocumented nerf on the PTR as a result. I will dive deeper into why Doomfist has been such a dominant force at the pro level right off the bat later, but first let’s see how the Doomfist patch has impacted the meta at large.
You may recall that the World Cup group stages were played on the pre-Doomfist, pre-Zarya+Reinhardt buff patch to not interrupt practice schedules of the national teams with an abrupt, meta-changing patch. This separation of play gave me the perfect opportunity to compare hero usage on that patch to the current one, using the data from the LA World Cup stage. The result is the chart you see below:
Doomfist, disabled during the World Cup unsurprisingly had the greatest gain in usage on the current patch, but he was joined by some interesting company. Ana gained ground thanks to a combination of Ana-friendly maps like Volskaya Industries, Hanamura, Kings Row, and Numbani among others
as well as teams like Kungarna with supports like Dogman who are known for their Ana play:
The large amount of Assault maps – a map type required by both the Apex and the Contenders rulesets – meant a large amount of Sombra play so it was not surprising to see her usage stay the same relative to the World Cup where these maps were required. So why did her usage increase? Lunatic Hai’s Esca may have the answer:
It seems like Lunatic Hai is so convinced by Sombra’s fast-charging ultimate and Esca’s ability to charge EMP quickly that they used Sombra for nearly all of their matches versus MVP Space, regardless of the map. Sombra’s Hack ability is also one of a group of abilities that can slow Doomfist down, so perhaps they were trying to use the Sombra to put a damper on Onefact. Spoilers, however, this alone was not enough to stave off a group stage loss for the now-official South Korean OWL team.
Speaking of surprises, what happened with Zenyatta? Generally, Ana and Zenyatta share the same slot in a team’s lineup so whenever Ana’s usage increases, Zenyatta’s decreases. These gains by Ana were primarily on defense where she shines, while Zenyatta’s usage remained high on offense and king of the hill – his specialties:
One might imagine that in a Doomfist meta, Zenyatta may suffer as well. Doomfist thrives when his targets are unable to yell “Ole!” and dodge his Rocket Punch like a matador*, and we know by now that Zenyatta’s biggest weakness is his lack of mobility. If Doomfist’s usage continues to climb, I would be curious to see if Zen’s usage declines accordingly.
* I recommend trying this, it makes your ranked play experience about 5% more enjoyable
Doomfist: Who, where, and why
Even when discussing about other heroes in Overwatch it was difficult to avoid mentioning the hero that has cast a fist-shaped shadow over the entire pro scene: Doomfist. While watching Apex and Contenders, I was amazed by players like Effect and Leaf, who had obviously practiced the hell out of Doomfist, but also by teams like MVP Space who used Doomfist as a strategic punishment against Lunatic Hai who had not had time to plan around the new hero. I wanted to know more, so I asked myself three simple questions. Who was playing Doomfist? Where was Doomfist being played? And finally, why were teams playing Doomfist in the way they were? Below, I tried to answer these questions. Let’s get to it.
Who played Doomfist
Despite Effect and Leaf being the standout performers of Contenders NA and EU respectively, it was Onefact who played the most total Doomfist time overall. Onefact’s Doomfist play was a calculated strategy by MVP Space to confuse and take advantage of Lunatic Hai’s lack of Doomfist practice, since Zunba, Tobi, and Ryujehong were busy massacring their opponents at the Poland World Cup Group Stage when Doomfist was released. Onefact’s winrate with Doomfist looks negative, but was actually tainted by a draw on Temple of Anubis. Tossing the draw out, MVP Space actually won three out of four matches against Lunatic Hai when Onefact played Doomfist. If we consider this and examine the rest of the cohort of Doomfist players, it looks like increased Doomfist play had a positive effect on a team’s chances of winning. Or, perhaps better teams had better players that picked up Doomfist faster than others and were able to abuse him sooner. Given the fact that Doomfist still has a winrate >60% at Grandmaster, I’m inclined to believe the former:
One other interesting distinction was that despite the heroics of Leaf, Effect, and the rest of the western Overwatch teams, Korea was the region who had the highest Doomfist usage:
Note that this is true even if Onefact’s outlier-ish usage is removed:
Korea has certainly warmed up to Doomfist faster than the west. One possible explanation could be the wrench the World Cup has thrown into the western region’s ability to practice the new patch. Lunatic Hai certainly had issues practicing Doomfist while half of their team was gone, the rest of Korea remained largely unaffected by World Cup commitments. Compare this to Team USA, whose roster included players from FaZe, EnVyUs, and FNRGFE who all played this past weekend. Or United Kingdom, who had two Eunited players and one Envision player. Now that the World Cup group stages have finished, I think the West will catch up with Korea in no time.
Where was Doomfist played?
Now that we know who played Doomfist, it’s time to see where he saw the most play.
Well that was easy, Doomfist was used on every map – except for Ilios Lighthouse and Oasis Gardens. What was more interesting was that the different regions appeared to use Doomfist in different ways. Korea, for example, appeared to have highly favored Doomfist on Hybrid maps like King’s Row, Hollywood, and Eichenwalde, but not Numbani. However, this was simply a case of misleading stats. In fact, only one Numbani match even occurred in Korea – a game between Meta Bellum and X-6 Gaming and neither team played Doomfist. Similarly, only a single game occurred in the West on King’s Row, zero occurred on Hollywood, and two happened on Eichenwalde. That said, both teams who played Doomfist on these maps – Misfits and Kungarna – won their matches.
My initial impression of Doomfist was that he would perform well on closed in maps like King’s Row and the indoor portions of Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Route 66, where teams would have less room to dodge his Rocket Punches. However after seeing teams like EnVyUs make Doomfist work on wide open maps like Oasis City Center, I expect Doomfist to make his way onto most maps in most regions. It seems like on open maps like this, Doomfist can be used as a counter-dive option to punish dive-heavy teams like Immortals. Now, let’s take that thought and dig deeper into the why of Doomfist:
Why play Doomfist?
Need I say more? This clip from GamersOrigin demonstrates many of the things Doomfist can do for your team in one clip. The Graviton Surge + Meteor Strike (aka “From Russia with Glove”) combo is a team wipe guarantee on the level of Dragonstrike + Graviton, but notice how it also maxes out Doomfist’s passive barrier ability thanks to the damage he deals. This extra health allowed Leaf to tank all of Ube’s post-death Junkrat bombs so that he could Rocket Punch Meza across the map. GamersOrigin was also utilizing the most common Doomfist team composition in this clip, consisting of a Zarya/Reinhardt tank duo, an Ana/Lucio support duo, and a McCree as the second DPS. The idea behind this composition can be described with a series of logical decisions:
- We want to play Doomfist, because he can one-shot many heroes
- So we should play Zarya to protect him and combo Graviton Surge with Meteor Strike
- If we’re playing Doomfist and Zarya, the other team likely is going to swap off D.Va
- If the other team isn’t playing D.Va, McCree operate freely
- If we’re going to use McCree, we should protect him with a Reinhardt shield
- If we’re going to play both Reinhardt and Zarya, Ana will keep them alive better than Zenyatta
And voila, you have the current standard Doomfist composition. However, this was not the only Doomfist lineup on display – just the most common. Korean teams like NC Foxes chose to run a Winston/D.Va tank duo to create a Doomfist Dive comp:
Notice how when Seominsoo chases after the Biotic Grenaded D.Va he is accompanied by a Winston bubble and D.Va Matrix? Doomfist dives are all about supporting the Doomfist and giving him the room to use his cooldowns and look for wall-pin kills. EnVyUs ran a similar composition with McCree instead of Tracer, but they also ran a Reinhardt/Winston/McCree/Doomfist composition that I could not make head or tails of. To better understand it, I reached out to Peak, an Overwatch analyst who has been doing some great analysis of the Contenders Season One matches. Peak tells me that this composition was designed to bait Immortals into over-extending:
Watch from this timestamp as EnVy fake pushes into Immortals’ backline, then abruptly turn around and collapse onto Agilities, Envy, and Fate. Taimou’s shots, Effect’s fists, and Cocco’s hammer swings blow up the diving Immortals even as Taimou and Chipshajen die – all the while continuing to prevent Immortals from gaining ground on the point. As the fight progresses, Effect never Rocket Punches directly into Immortals: he only punches laterally across the center of the point. It was almost as if EnVy drew a line on the point that they refused to cross, instead forcing Immortals to fight on their own turf, on their own terms. In this way, EnVy has created a powerful anti-dive lineup similar to their old Taimou-Roadhog lineups. This lineup should be even more powerful against Dive, however, as Effect’s Doomfist allows for Taimou to play one more anti-dive hero in McCree.
I was also curious why EnVyUs chose to pair Winston with Reinhardt, rather than D.Va or Zarya and Peak believes it was chosen specifically to muck up Kariv’s Zenyatta sight-lines. By dropping Winston bubbles in the right places, Mickie could prevent KariV from applying both Orbs of Harmony and Discord, as Zenyatta requires direct line of sight to change or choose Orb targets. In comparison, D.Va’s Defense Matrix cannot stop Orbs at all, and Zarya’s bubble can only cleanse and prevent an Orb for two seconds on an eight second cooldown. Combining Reinhardt shield, which Orbs also cannot pass through, with Winston bubbles created maximum disruption to one of NA’s best Zenyattas. They definitely did their homework.
Final Thoughts and Shoutouts
Shoutout to Apex and Contenders for bringing back the high level Overwatch play we have all been craving. The World Cup was exciting, but it was stuck in the past: forced to play on a patch that wasn’t representative of the current state of Overwatch. Doomfist is here, and he’s here to stay. Speaking of which, shoutout to Blizzard as well for keeping up with regular PTR updates. Pros and casual players had already come to consensus that the hitbox on Rocket Punch was a bit too large, and it’s also already been nerfed on the PTR. The pro and casual community had major complaints about the strength of D.Va’s Defense Matrix, and now D.Va is slated to receive a significant rework on the next PTR. Keep up the good work guys!
Until next time,