Overwatch released a new patch to their public test servers this Tuesday. The patch included a vast amount of hero changes and needed bug fixes. Many of the changes are directed at addressing community outcry against the current double barrier meta.
Shield meta damaged, but not broken:
Adding Sigma to high-level play has resulted in the dominance of the double shield meta. Orisa brings massive shield uptime to the table. Add Sigma’s 1500 health shield that he can rotate to any angle, and you get a composition that feels like a moving fortress.
The latest PTR patch attempts to remedy this, bringing nerfs to both tanks. Orisa’s shield cooldown will now be 10 seconds instead of 9. Sigma now has a one-second cooldown after recalling his shield before he can place it again. In addition, Sigma’s shield now recovers damage at a rate of 150 health per second down from its prior 175.
These changes reduce the amount of shield uptime a team will have. Not only that, it is now harder for Sigma to reposition his shield and punish placement mistakes. This makes snipers like Hanzo and Widowmaker slightly more effective. Despite the nerfs, early damage testing shows signs that shield break compositions are still unable to out-sustain double shields.
This PTR patch also nerfed Doomfist’s Rocket Punch and shield gathering abilities. It will now take 1.4 seconds for Doomfist to reach the max charge on his punch, and he only gains 30 shields per hit instead of 35. These changes hurt Doomfist’s survivability and offensive power. This weakens one of Overwatch’s only DPS counters to the meta, resulting in a bolstering of Orisa and Sigma.
The return of dive?
Winston and D.Va received buffs in an attempt to buff dive compositions as a potential counter to Sigma and Orisa. Winston’s barrier will now have 700 health instead of 600 and lasts 9 seconds if left unbroken. D.Va’s defense matrix regenerates 3.5% faster and begins regeneration 25% faster than before
Other dive heroes such as Lucio and Tracer saw buffs as well. Tracer’s effective range is now 13 meters instead of 10 meters. Now, she can poke and deal damage while drawing less attention away from her tanks. Lucio received the biggest buff of all. His speed boost now amplifies speed at a 25% rate instead of 20% and Amp It Up has been increased to 60% from 50%.
Dive compositions suffer the longer they have to sit in a long-range poke phase. The speed changes allow for much faster dives onto targets, bypassing the poke phase. Additionally, the Defense Matrix and Barrier Projector now have greater uptime, resulting in greater protection for dive DPS during an engagement. Whether or not these changes effectively help break through the double shield meta remains to be seen.
How the pros feel:
Most of Overwatch’s professional scene and a great deal of the community criticize this patch. Many claim it does not do enough to change the meta and are pushing for heavier nerfs focused on Orisa and Sigma specifically. Houston Outlaw’s player Jake summed up the professional consensus perfectly.
Hoping to be wrong, but I don’t anticipate this PTR patch changing much beyond making bastion/mei more attractive than doom/reaper. Can’t imagine another tank line competing yet, and the nerf to DF just shuts down the only dps counter.
— Jake (@jakeow) September 25, 2019
Full patch notes can be read here:
Written by Jash Rai