What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present the Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report: A Patch from the Past. That’s right, this week’s meta report comes to you from the land before time, live from a realm that is different than our own. Of course, I’m referring to the tournament realm, where all of the pros playing in Overwatch Contenders, the Overwatch Premier Series, and Apex Season 4 played their matches last weekend. This realm was set up by Blizzard to provide stability should the live servers ever go down, but it also has the ability to roll back patches in case of severe balance changes. By now, even if you don’t read the patch notes, you probably noticed a lot more Junkrat being played and a lot of this is due to the significant buffs he received between this report and last. Since the data of this report comes from the pro scene only, there was not all that much I could do on the analysis front with regard to Junkrat, but luckily my slave-drivers lovely bosses at Overbuff had me covered. Before we get into this week’s Tournament-Realm-Pro-Overwatch Tiers, let’s quickly look at huge surge in Junkrat’s popularity on the live servers:


Much Ado about Junkrat

While the pros battled each other on the pre-patch tournament servers, something amazing was going on with Junkrat on the live servers. Some of you took note, a popular reddit thread was posted, and an insane winrate at GM was documented:

1.jpg

You’ll note that after the initial spike in winrate, Junkrat’s winrate and pickrate has dropped off significantly, due to the players becoming more accustomed to their new, Junkrat-infested matches and learning how to counter him. However, he still sits at 58% winrate, which places him higher than GM staple DPSes like Genji and Tracer. Junkrat received two huge changes that contributed to his ascension, one of which is already being nerfed in the next balance patch. You can read them below:

https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/game/patch-notes/pc/

Per some excellent reddit sleuthing, it was discovered that the Rip-Tire speed buff has already been decreased relative to Live as an undocumented change on the PTR. Overwatch Contenders will continue to play on this pre-Junkrat patch for at least another weekend, so it is somewhat likely that the pro scene will skip the patch entirely before moving to the next patch where the D.Va, Mercy, and now Junkrat changes go live, whenever that may be. Taimou in particular has already pulled his Junkrat out of his pocket in his pre-nerfed state, and the combination of these major hero balance changes (and rework, in Mercy’s case) is certain to fully disrupt the Dive-y meta we still find ourselves in. Speaking of dive, looks like the Tiers were still dominated by it. Let’s discuss:


The Tiers

new tier template.jpg

Tiers

S Tier (>=95% Usage Rate): Lucio (98%)

Tier 1 (>80% Usage Rate): Winston (86%), D.Va (84%)

Tier 2 (>50% Usage Rate): Tracer (75%), Zenyatta (50%)

Tier 3 (>20% Usage Rate): Doomfist (37%), Ana (31%), Genji (28%), Soldier 76 (28%)

Tier 4 (>5% Usage Rate): Reinhardt (13%), Zarya (13%), Pharah (13%), McCree (11%), Sombra (11%), Mercy (10%)

Tier 5 (<5% Usage Rate): Widowmaker (4%), Reaper (3%), Mei (1%), Roadhog (1%), Junkrat (1%), Orisa (1%), Symmetra (1%), Torbjorn (1%), Hanzo (0%), Bastion (0%)


Tier Discussion

Last week I noticed some readers lamenting that the top five heroes used in pro Overwatch were still “Dive Comp” core heroes: Lucio, Winston, D.Va, Tracer, and Zenyatta. This week, not much has changed. Are the pros still stuck in a Dive meta? While these “dive heroes” were certainly used more than any others, there was more variety in team compositions that included these heroes than the tiers let on:

p98bb7V.jpg

Direct Link to Chart

If we examine the top team compositions from the past week, we see that a lot of these hero’s usage is tied up in the Chinese Pharah-Mercy comp. In the Overwatch Premier Series, many Chinese teams played significant amounts of this Pharah-Mercy lineups for a couple of reasons. First, some teams were just straight up Pharah-Mercy teams. Take Lucky Future for example, whose Pharah-Mercy composition usage added up to over 80% of their play time:

lf1.jpg

The star of these lineups is the Pharah-Mercy combo, but most of them include multiple of the core “dive heroes”. The other factor contributing to the dive core + Pharah-Mercy comps was Overwatch Premier Series’ rule-set, which required that teams play their first map on a specific control map, which was rotated each week, as a best of 5. This (and last) week’s control map was Lijiang Tower, which meant lots of Pharah-Mercy dive thanks to its popularity on Gardens in particular:

lj1.jpg

Direct Link to Chart

But enough about Pharah-Mercy. There were some “legitimate” dive comps being played this week as well, like the Genji/Tracer dive that dominated Season 5. This lineup was utilized mostly by Western teams, with FaZe and Immortals leading the way:

dive1.jpg

FaZe and Immortals are still getting the most out of their exceptional Genji players, and with players like Agilities and Shadowburn, it’s hard to question that decision. FaZe seemed to stay away from Doomfist for the most part, but there were absolutely teams that wanted to give Doomfist a spin in their dive, as evidenced by the third most used team comp: the D.Va/Doomfist/Lucio/Tracer/Winston/Zenyatta lineup:

dive2.jpg

It looks like Immortals split their time almost equally between the traditional dive and the Doomfist dive. It was Agilities who was making these swaps between Genji and Doomfist, sticking to the common idea that Genji players make good Doomfist players.

ag1.jpg

Direct Link to Chart

Or maybe pro teams believe Doomfist and Genji fulfill a similar role. Either way, I guess we will not be seeing many Genji/Doomfist pairings any time soon. This particular Doomfist dive lineup was played most by NC Foxes in their win against Kongdoo Uncia on Hanamura and King’s Row. NC Foxes lost Hanamura, but their commitment to the Doomfist dive made it the second-most used lineup on that map:

comp1.jpg

Looking back at King’s Row however, it’s hard not to notice that the most used composition was a decidedly non-dive team comp: the McCree/Zarya/Reinhardt/Ana/Lucio lineup popularized by EnVyUs and GamersOrigin shortly after Doomfist’s release:

kr1.jpg

Dive may still rule the pro scene in an aggregate sense, but there’s definitely room for non-dive lineups on specific maps like King’s Row above. This week, we even saw some extremely niche comps, and I’m going to talk about one of them in a segment I’m calling…


You gon’ learn today

Orisa. Symmetra. Torbjorn. These heroes had one thing in common in this week of pro Overwatch play: they had more than 0 play time. This play time occurred in one specific scenario, and its one that caught my eye because it involved a common “cheese” lineup that plagues the ladder. Let’s first define what I’m talking about though:

cheese1.png

If you’re an average Overwatch player like me, your nightmare is rolling up to the first point of a Hybrid or Assault map and seeing a Torbjorn turret behind an Orisa barrier and hearing Symmetra orbs lazily fly by. But at the pro level, this is seen as a “cheese” strategy – one that rarely ever works. This past weekend Renegades – who have been completely outmatched throughout Contenders Season 1 – were desperate. After FaZe held off Renegades’ assault on the second point, Renegades found themselves needing to full-hold the first point to win the match. They needed a high risk, high reward team composition, so Primodulce queued up Orisa, Mangachu clicked on Torbjorn, Jer selected Symmetra and off they went. And it worked!

cheese2.jpg

No it didn’t, but it very nearly held off a superior FaZe squad from capturing the single tick that they needed to win the match. For bad casual players like you and me, this is a learning opportunity. From Renegades’ failure near success, we can learn how the pros execute their cheese strats. But from FaZe’s success, we can learn how to beat it. Let’s learn today:


*note, to follow along you can click on this link which will take you to the beginning of the assault.

Watching from FaZe’s point of view, we see that FaZe may have predicted that Renegades would try this. Renegades had employed this exact same strategy last week against Envision in a similar situation, so FaZe came prepared with a potential counter-comp with Shadowburn on Hanzo and Carpe on Widowmaker – presumably to out-range Torbjorn’s turret and spam him down. However, Renegades had set up in a location that afforded a view of the point, a view of the area in front of the point, and most importantly an area well-guarded from long distance sight lights that prevented Carpe and Shadowburn putting in any significant long-range spam:

cheese3.jpg

Renegades placed their turret just outside the left-side room and you can see Carpe halfheartedly take a few shots at it and give up, stymied by the Orisa shield and lack of angles. Other common Torbjorn turret spots include on the stairs on the point hidden by the window, on the catwalk to the left of the point, outside the room to the left of the point, and on the platform to the right of the point:

cheese4.jpg

However, I believe that Renegades found this particular spot maximized the area the Turret could cover while also being easily defensible. You can only approach this turret from three directions, two of which it can shoot at you the whole way. FaZe tried to go the long way around, but ran into Zachareee’s Tracer guarding the route, leading to Carpe and Shadowburn’s deaths.

cheese5.jpg

On the next attempt, FaZe swapped Shadowburn to Genji and Carpe to Soldier 76, then tried the least exposed route of attack by going through the room to the left of the chokepoint, and then up across the catwalk:

cheese6.jpg

Unfortunately for FaZe, Rawkus got nailed by a Helix direct hit on the way in. Also unfortunately for FaZe, Renegades was prepared for them to try attacking via this route, and moved the turret to the opposite side of the point in response:

cheee7.jpg

However, this position gave them less Turret coverage area. You can see Carpe freely trade potshots with Zachareee’s Tracer without pressure:

cheese8.jpg

Well kind of anyway, the stream quality wasn’t the best. Regardless, something must have broken down with FaZe’s communications shortly after this timestamp. While Carpe and Rawkus were far from the point, the rest of the team dove in on top of the Turret and Renegades’ main force, melting under the damage output of a Molten Core’d Mangachu and his level 3 Turret:

cheese9.jpg

This fully charged Jer’s Symmetra ultimate, which usually means a full-hold is likely – at least in ranked play anyway. From FaZe’s point of view, they forced out an ultimate without using any of theirs, banking them for the next fight. In the meantime, Renegades wisely moved the Turret back to its original location:

cheese10.png

But FaZe wasted no time getting back in, knowing that Molten Core was down and that they only needed to secure one tick on the point. FCTFCTN leaped in on Winston to tank the Turret damage, cleaving it and the main Renegades group

cheese11.jpg

And he was followed shortly after by Spree and a Sound Barrier from Joemeister, charged on the prior fight

cheese12.jpg

Spree quickly destroyed the Turret as D.Va, then turns his attention to absorbing Corey’s NanoVisor, having been spared most of its damage by FCT’s leap knockback and bubble. While all of this was going on, Rawkus on Zenyatta was battling Jer’s Symmetra above the point, preventing him from putting down a Teleporter or contributing any damage.

cheese13.jpg

Also simultaneously, Shadowburn was goomba-stomping Mangachu’s Torbjorn before pulling out his blade, and turning Renegade’s safe room into a box of bloody bits. Even though Jer placed his teleporter and Zachareee able to pick off Joemeister, FaZe easily completed the cap of the point. Had they needed more than a tick to secure it, they probably would have succeeded as well, given the Teleporter’s close proximity to the point.


So how did FaZe do it? By all appearances, they took the most difficult route to the Turret and still managed to smash Renegades’ defense. The key lay in the timing of their assault. It may seem like attacking while the Torbjorn doesn’t have Molten Core is a no-brainer, but the combination and sequence of abilities is a level of coordination you will rarely find on the ranked play ladder. FaZe simultaneously pushed with a Sound Barrier that they charged on the last fight, FCT’s Winston knocked a NanoVisor out of line of sight, dropped a Bubble to protect Spree’s D.Va so he could blow up the Turret, then Spree absorbed that NanoVisor with Defense Matrix after killing the Turret, and all of this before the Jer’s could put down his Teleporter to rejoin the fight. Whew!

So what can we learn from this, as non-pro players? First off, we can realize that it is ok to all-in on the Turret setup and get wiped. Before ultimates have been charged, any push that builds your ultimates or potentially forces out a Molten Core increases the chance of your next push’s success. Once your ultimates have been charged, you need a bit of coordination. FaZe had a plan: the tanks went in first, tanked the turret’s fire, blew up the turret, and disrupted the defense’s position while safeguarded by the Sound Barrier. This first step in the sequence allowed Shadowburn to follow in and do Shadowburn things, but the same two-step strategy can be employed by any group of ranked play misfits and freaks. A simple call of “tanks in first, dps in second, focus the turret, then the Symmetra once it’s done” can be enough. Remember, in ranked play your opponents might be just as uncoordinated as you are, so things don’t have to go perfectly, they just have to go well enough. Good luck out there, heroes.


Final Thoughts and Shoutouts

My thoughts are with iRemix this week and the rest of the Overwatch community that have dealt with Hurricane Harvey or are soon to deal with Hurricane Irma. iRemix lives in Puerto Rico and is in the direct path of Irma – and we all hope he and his family make it through the storm unscathed. Good luck man. Around the Watch has had some terrible luck with hurricanes as well – Harsha is from Houston and is still recovering from the flooding and Pesto will be evacuating from Miami soon. Hopefully they, iRemix, and everyone else get back on their feet as soon as possible.


 

Until next time,

 

CaptainPlanet