The GOATS meta has had the Overwatch community divided for the last few months. On one hand, it can be incredibly dull to watch Overwatch League matches that rarely deviate from three tanks and three support. On the other, the teamwork and precise timing needed to be successful with 3/3 can sometimes create intense fights that get people talking. What really gets the crowd going, however, is actually seeing DPS heroes and Wrecking Ball in play. Here are a few off-meta hero picks that have been making a difference in professional Overwatch.
Probably the most impactful niche pick of this first stage has been Sombra. On top of the general disruption her presence instantly causes, Sombra can take down the shields and buffs that make the GOATS meta so powerful. A well-timed EMP typically leads to an instant team fight win, much like it did for the Guangzhou Charge against the Los Angeles Valiant in the clip below.
Though certain teams such as NYXL and the Houston Outlaws have used quite a bit of Sombra with great success, her kit can be lacking against teams that have truly mastered 3/3. It’s for this reason that we haven’t seen more of her lately even though she can often be the key to the GOATS puzzle. Look for Sombra to make the biggest impact on Assault and Hybrid maps.
It used to be that we usually only saw Mei used as a stall tactic on point B of Temple of Anubis and Volskaya Industries. These days, we have seen some teams get creative with utilising her defensive kit. In a recent match against the Toronto Defiant, the Atlanta Reign went for an interesting high-ground defense centred around Bastion and Mei.
A big reason for Atlanta’s success is due to Daniel “dafran” Francesca’s ability to play multiple heroes, such as Bastion, at such a high level. He’s a big reason why that Mei defense was able to work. The Florida Mayhem also used Mei against the Chengdu Hunters on King’s Row to disrupt their defense with ice walls.
Everyone’s favourite hamster has largely been relegated to emergency overtime situations at the start of Season Two. However, the Chengdu Hunters have used Wrecking Ball about 67% more than the league average according to an OWL infographic. Menghan “ameng” Ding has given us some very entertaining plays such as the one against the Florida Mayhem in the clip below.
Wrecking Ball’s highly situational ultimate and lack of a big shield don’t make him a great fit in this meta, but the Hunters have stuck with him. We’ll see if some of the upcoming hero changes make him a more attractive pick.
The end of GOATS?
One huge change is hitting the PTR soon that may lead to a long-awaited meta shift. Junkrat, a hero synonymous with breaking shields, could be receiving a buff that might blast him back onto the big stage:
– Frag Launcher: Impact damage increased from 40 to 60
If this change goes live, it’s pretty much guaranteed that we will see less reliance on heavy tank compositions going forward. Junkrat will make it so that deathballs are significantly more difficult to use across the board, perhaps unlocking other DPS picks such as Widowmaker once again.
Could we actually see DPS players be relieved from tanking duties in the near future? Here’s hoping.