Introducing a new series to Overbuff, we’re going to take a monthly look at a highlight or two from the competitive meta. We’ll only be doing it monthly because the general player base tends to be much slower at adapting to changes, except in extreme cases like the Omnic Crisis last year when Bastion had a short time in the spotlight, or the most recent Mercy changes, which is our topic this month!

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This biggest change from the beginning of Season 8 up to now is Mercy’s fall from the top, a position she held for the better part of 4 months. It wasn’t an angelic descent either, she fell out of the sky like McCree just locked onto her with Dead-Eye, going from a nearly 16% pick rate to 6.84%. While she took quite a tumble, but Mercy still far from dead as she’s still the second-highest out of the supports.

What caused the drop? At the end of January, Mercy received more changes to her Valkyrie ultimate:

  • No longer makes Resurrect instant,

  • No longer grants a bonus Resurrect charge,

  • The speed bonus Guardian Angel receives when activating Valkyrie has been decreased by 50%,

  • Duration reduced from 20 seconds to 15 seconds.

All of these changes were made in an attempt to both help the enemy team counter her, and to tone her down from the “must pick” status she had due to her powerful Ultimate. Where before she could dodge some ultimates with precise timing or usually ignore the danger of buzzing behind enemy lines to get an instant cast of Resurrect off and fly away, now Mercy players have to be more selective about who they choose to bring back

So far the changes appear to have worked AND have had another affect, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in other healing supports’ use. For many who felt they had to play Mercy, the changes have been welcome as these players they have been able to play other heroes as Moira, Zenyatta, and Lucio, whose pick rate all went up about 1.5% in use, and Ana, who’s climbed about 1.25%.

It’s been a few days since the changes went live and the pick rates have remained fairly constant, but we’ll see if it lasts because after every previous change to Mercy that caused a drop in her use, she slowly rose back up to dominance.

All-in-all, rumors of Mercy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Our Twitter feed was filled with both praise and disappointment about the changes made to her, but she is hardly dead. For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, the split on healer pick rates has been fairly close, but will it last? Moira has been fairly popular because she can dish out a lot of healing and fair amount of damage. Will all eyes be on her next?