The last couple of months have been very exciting for the Overwatch community. There have been enormous meta shifts, a new map, the addition of Sombra, and several action-packed eSports tournaments. What’s even better is that it all happened within the parameters of Overwatch’s third ladder season, giving players a substantial amount of content to study and tinker with on their journey to Grand Master. Or Silver, no judging here.
Oh, there’s that lovely word again. No matter how much you might want to ignore it, the meta game is something that will undergo progressive cultivation in every competitive game. For Overwatch, that means graduating from a tank-centric meta into a much more aggressive, DPS-centric meta. Up until about halfway through season 3, a typical group composition was some variation of a 3/2/1 (three tanks, two support, one DPS), or quad-tank build. That all changed when Blizzard introduced a hefty patch that brought DPS – and fun – back into the spotlight.
To this day, eSports teams are getting more and more adventurous with how liberally they use DPS characters. It’s almost ironic how the pro meta has begun to mirror the ladder meta, but it certainly has yielded more exciting plays like the one above from Flash Lux (props on the sound barrier from Vonethil, though – solid fundamentals).
Control maps are awesome, aren’t they? They always result in epic brawls and nonsensical tactics that make you question what you think you know about team play. When Oasis was first introduced in Season 3, people had a hard time fully utilising its strange gimmicks like the jump pad on City Center, or the tunnel on University. As map knowledge developed, so too did effective dive compositions that Oasis play has become known for. It unfolded quite organically, too, with the emergence of oppressive Tracer and Genji play in the new meta.
Introduced just before the start of Season 3, Sombra entered the scene with a ton of hype, though she flopped rather miserably. Even though we’ve had plenty of time to learn how to utilise her skills, most people would agree that there’s usually a better pick than Sombra in every situation.
She’s certainly not a bad character unto herself, but group synergy tends to take a hit whens Sombra’s on the field because of how calculated you have to be when considering what she brings to the table. Simply put, her hacker tactics are too difficult for most teams to utilise effectively. Think about it for a second; you have to constantly spam your ultimate status, you basically need Zenyatta in order to do any damage, and you need to cross your fingers that your team will be able to build on your EMP.
It’s a lot of babysitting for often little payoff. Complexity Gaming is really the only team using Sombra with any regularity at the pro level. If you want some help with your Sombra game, check out some of TorkTJO’s replays.
MLG Las Vegas was the first major tournament to take place during Season 3. It featured some fan favourite teams such as EnVyUs, Faze, NRG, Fnatic and Cloud9, but it was plagued with dull pre-patch tank play that many consumers were unhappy with. EnVyUs ended up soundly taking the tournament from Faze in the grand finals.
The NGE Winter Premiere was a much more interesting North American tournament in that it featured teams, such as Kungarna and Immortals, that had never played in a LAN tournament before. After the online portion of the tournament had concluded, the finals took place at PAX South, where we saw two established teams in Luminosity and Complexity get taken down by the new blood on the scene.
Immortals went on to take the tournament, thanks in no small part to GrimReality’s stellar DPS. Take note of the positioning on the following play. High ground antics tend to cause a lot of broken Roadhog chains.
Last, but certainly not least, is the prestigious OGN Overwatch Apex tournament currently in its second season in South Korea. It’s still in progress, but of the foreign invitees, reigning Apex champions, EnVyUs, are really the only ones making any waves. Misfits, Cloud9 and Fnatic aren’t doing poorly, but it’s obvious that they’re having a difficult time with communication and adapting to the Korean style of Overwatch.
As we venture forth into Season 4, it’s useful to see where we’ve come from. Some old tools are still viable, such as the 3/2/1 composition, while others are still developing, like the utilization of snipers on certain maps (looking at you, Ilios and King’s Row). Will the buffs to Bastion force yet another meta shift in Overwatch’s young life? We shall see.