Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: And the Gunslinger Followed
What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: And the Gunslinger Followed. In the past few weeks we have seen the rise of a new meta, one ushered in by Overwatch’s newest hero: Doomfist. I wrote a bit about Doomfist last week, but during his escape from prison into the lineups of professional Overwatch he brought along some friends. Some you may remember from past seasons, like Reinhardt and Zarya, but the most surprising hero to benefit from Doomfist’s meta-shakeup was McCree. In this week’s report, I will be talking about the why McCree has made his way back into pro lineups, and also breaking down what team compositions ruled the week with my new Team Composition Search chart. But before we get to that, let’s look at this week’s Tiers:
S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate): Lucio (95%)
Tier 1 (>80% Usage Rate): Winston (87%), D.Va (85%)
Tier 2 (>50% Usage Rate): Tracer (66%), Zenyatta (53%)
Tier 3 (>20% Usage Rate): Doomfist (45%), Ana (29%), Soldier 76 (28%), McCree (24%)
Tier 4 (>5% Usage Rate): Genji (15%), Zarya (14%), Sombra (14%), Reinhardt (14%), Mercy (10%), Pharah (9%), Reaper (6%)
Tier 5 (<5% Usage Rate): Widowmaker (3%), Hanzo (1%), Mei (1%), Bastion (1%), Junkrat (1%), Torbjorn (0%), Roadhog (0%), Orisa (0%), Symmetra (0%)
Is that non-zero Junkrat usage that I see? Yes: Junkrat was played successfully. Some might even say spectacularly. Thanks Taimou, for giving us a preview of what the meta might look like when the brand-new, Junkrat-buffing patch goes live on the Contenders and Apex tournament realms. Regardless, there was a lot of hero usage movement relative to last week’s return to regular pro Overwatch play, and rather than write about it I made a quick and easy chart to reference:
Last week I predicted that Doomfist’s usage would continue to climb as Western teams shook off their World Cup rust and took the time to master the hero and it looks like I was on point: his playtime has increased by 20% over last week. However, Korea’s affinity for Doomfist has the rest of the world playing catch-up:
If we look at my “Who played Doomfist” chart, it looks like this was largely due to Korean Doomfists playing more Doomfist time as a group, relative to the NA/EU/CN regions where some outliers played much more Doomfist than their peers:
The Korean region must have all come to a similar conclusion: Doomfist is absolutely a hero worth building around. There seems to still be an inequality in Doomfist skill in the West and China between the top Doomfist players (like Jaru and Leaf) and their peers, that their respective teams have used to dominate their Contenders Groups, to the surprise of many. As of the end of Season 5, Doomfist holds a 58% winrate at the GM level, so Leaf and Jaru are definitely on to something.
Looking back to the Hero Gain/Loss sheet, you’ll notice that Mercy and Pharah jumped significantly in usage relative to last week. If we also look at the Offense/Defense/KotH breakout chart, something else also looks fishy:
The answer lies with China. This past week, the Overwatch Premier Series Summer finally made its way to Twitch via the PlayOverwatch channel casted by Jason Kaplan, Hexagrams, and Jamerson! This meant I finally had an excuse to pay attention to the China region. Turns out the Chinese region really loves Pharah-Mercy…almost as much as the EU region loves Genji:
It’s worth noting that the OWPS tournament was using Bo5s for its KotH maps, contrary to Apex and Contenders which helped contribute to the insanely high KotH Pharah-Mercy usage you see in that region. However, this might also make you wonder what Pharah lineups all of these Chinese teams were running. It could make you curious about what maps were they running them on. Or maybe you’re curious which teams played which Pharah comps? I have good news for everyone seeking answers to these questions:
Introducing the Team Composition Search Chart
I had been getting a lot of questions about what team compositions teams were running and this week I was finally able to create a dynamic chart to display the many team lineups that pro Overwatch players utilized over the past week. This chart is still in its infancy, so it only encompasses matches from 8⁄21 onwards – I hope to build out a more robust solution that will encompass all of my dataset moving forwards. Enough about my troubles though, let’s look at how the chart works with this demonstration gif:
As the gif hopefully demonstrates, you can do the following things with this chart:
- Search all lineups containing a specific Hero
- Search all lineups used by a particular team
- Search all lineups played on a particular map
- Combine any of the above to drill deeper into your analysis
- See % of time played on team comp displayed
- Mouse over % time played to see how much total time played
This chart is a tool designed to help you do your own analysis and come to your own conclusions about team comps in Overwatch. By fully utilizing its filters, you can answer most questions you might have about team compositions! As a demonstration, let’s use our previous example with the Chinese Pharah-Mercy usage to see what we can find. Searching by Pharah, we get the following results:
After searching Pharah, the tool spits out all the lineups that contained Pharah to show that one particular Pharah composition accounted for 67% of all Pharah lineups! This lineup, D.Va/Lucio/Mercy/Pharah/Tracer/Winston, was the favorite of most of the Chinese teams, except for Vici Gaming:
Vici Gaming, with their star DPS player Diya, preferred fit Doomfist into their Pharah lineup to create a dual threat, ground + air assault similar to how the more popular Tracer variant plays. If we wanted to know more about where Vici Gaming played this composition, we simply click on the usage number:
This reveals that Vici Gaming played this Doomfist/Pharah-Mercy lineup on Horizon Lunar Colony, Numbani, and Oasis – all great maps for Pharah and Doomfist alike. We can repeat this exercise for any hero, or hero lineup. For example, did you know Hanzo got some serious play this week?
Five different teams played six different lineups that featured Hanzo on two maps: Kings Row and Hanamura.
However, I know things can get confusing with some many options and combinations of filters. Just in case you don’t care for this much freedom in your Overwatch charts, I made a simpler, cleaner chart demonstrating Team Compositions broken out by Map as well:
Lately, I’ve been noticing an increase in McCree’s usage, and it seems like I’m not alone. The stats agree, McCree has steadily climbed in usage over the past month:
What could be causing this? Last week I theorized that McCree was an obvious choice to fit in alongside Zarya and Reinhardt, who were being played to support Doomfist. But, we can go deeper. To shed some light on McCree’s rise to prominence, I reached out to an expert on both heroes: Kungarna’s Babybay.
CP: So people are starting to wonder why McCree is “back.” I have some statistics that show that it’s primarily due to his usage in the mccree/zarya doomfist comp (see below), but that isn’t the only lineup he’s being used in. Do you have a general reason why he’s starting to move back into the pro meta?
BB: Honestly the only reason [in my opinion] is because of Doomfist. He’s able to relieve a lot of the pressure dive used to have against McCree [thanks to] being able to right click any target to a wall for an instant kill. Which is why EnVy destroyed Immortals…Doomfist counters Korean dive, [although] not 100% obviously. It’s a lot harder to run Korean dive and dominate like you could before.
CP: So Doomfist was the true anti-dive hero, and it’s opened up space for McCree again?
BB: Yeah. The ability to 1shot Genji and Tracer and un-mech D.Va…I mean he can actually 1shot pretty much anyone. Or get the tanks low enough that you have to disengage before fight even starts. Korean dive was all about getting positioning and choking your opponent. Doomfist stops the other team from gaining the positional advantage they want if he lands his abilities.
CP: So now that you have space to fit a McCree in your lineup, what is making teams choose him over Soldier 76?
BB: I think it could be personal preference, to be honest.
CP: You think they’re pretty equal?
BB: McCree does pack a bigger punch if you’re hitting your shots. And the Flash Bang used when there is no D.Va pressure is juicy…
CP: Do you think the Reinhardt and Zarya changes (and now McCree Flashbang for that matter) have also helped McCree? Or are we just seeing more Reinhardt and Zarya because Doomfist wards off the Dive comps that were good against them?
BB: I think Doomfist paired with Zarya and Reinhardt further counters Dive, but it’s really map specific. Like King’s Row. On maps were Reinhardt is very vulnerable from the high ground, Dive still succeeds. You could argue that Reinhardt is great on first point Eichenwalde, but he’s really bad on the streets phase. He can get surrounded.
CP: Last question: Do you think the changes that just dropped (Orisa, Widowmaker, Junkrat, Roadhog) will help or hurt Dooomfist and McCree?
BB: We’ll definitely see more Junkrat and Widowmaker. The cooldown on Grapple is really good. Though, I feel like the whole meta will change when D.Va is nerfed. It will make a lot more characters viable to play, it opens up a lot of things. So many characters will be used, even Hanzo will be used more.
The D.Va changes Babybay is referring to are currently on the PTR along with Overwatch’s newest map, Junkertown and I can’t wait to see how the meta changes from there. Huge thanks to Babybay for talking McCree and Doomfist with me, you can follow him on Twitter or on Twitch.
To add a little bit more spice to the McCree vs. Soldier 76 debate, I did some theorycrafting of my own. In terms of strict damage per second, effective range, mobility, and self-sustaining, Soldier 76 outperforms McCree on all fronts. So why play McCree at all? The answer lies right between your eyes: headshots. Below, I created two different scenarios to demonstrate how important critical hits are for a McCree, and why a good McCree can out-perform a similarly skilled Soldier 76 from time to time:
- Constant Mercy healing at 60hp/s
- 100% accuracy
- Every other shot (50% crit) in the criticals example
- Healing begins after the first shot hits for both heroes
In the criticals example, the McCree crits on his second shot, and by the third shot the target is dead, out-performing the Soldier 76 (who is also hitting headshots with every other bullet) in time-to-kill. Contrast this to the body-shots only example, where the Soldier 76’s higher overall DPS won out.
This is obviously kind of a crazy theoretical situation – what Soldier 76 can hit 50% crits on every other bullet? – but the idea of a McCree hitting three shots in a row, one of which being a headshot, is not too unimaginable. Suffice to say, headshots are extremely more valuable to a McCree than a Soldier 76, and as Babybay said if you’re hitting your shots, you pack a punch that Soldier 76 just can’t compete with without Helix Rocket shenanigans.
Doomfist has created so much space for his fellow teammates to operate that it has muted the weaknesses McCree has relative to Soldier: mobility and self-sustain. Diving Tracers and Genjis have a harder time even reaching the McCree and have a harder time harassing his babysitting Reinhardt and Zarya, due to the threat of a fist around every corner. This has freed up McCree specialists to do what they do best: click on some heads. Combine all these meta changes to the heroes surrounding McCree with the buffs he’s received over time – from the Deadye cast reduction to the more recent Flashbang change – and it’s no surprise he’s back from the dead. Ride on cowboy!
Final Thoughts and Shoutouts
Shoutout again to Babybay for lending me a pro’s voice to add to the McCree meta discussion, and to our Around the Watch discord for putting up with my inane theorycrafting ideas. Also shoutout to all the casters and production at Carbon Entertainment who are running Contenders, they’ve improved markedly over the first week’s broadcast and I expect them to continue doing so. Finally, shoutout to Team USA Overwatch for not being the least bit scared after drawing South Korea for their Overwatch World Cup matchup at BlizzCon. Every other nation celebrated dodging Korea, but our boys are taking the threat head on. Ryujehong, Fl0w3r, and the rest of South Korea’s team – we got our eyes on you. You better watch out, America’s comin’ for you.
Until next time,