Has the new meta shaken up the competition like Blizzard wanted?
Everyone thought top-seeded teams New York Excelsior and Los Angeles Valiant would take the stage for the Overwatch League Grand Finals. However, the introduction of the new meta before the finals brought a different style of gameplay. The teams who had previously dominated throughout the season couldn’t adapt as well to the changes as London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion. So what happened? Firstly, here’s my take on why Blizzard introduced the meta.
What is the new meta?
If you’re an Overwatch player, you’ve probably been following all the changes through each season. The latest update to the game saw a range of new features. Let’s go over some of the main ones.
Players saw skills being reworked into the game. The biggest skill change was Hanzo. Previously, Hanzo’s scatter arrow could be fired into an open area and arrows would bounce off the walls, dealing a small amount of damage to nearby players. This was never highly effective, and instead Blizzard’s rework of Hanzo introduced rapid fire, known as “Storm Arrow.” This skill gives the player six shots to use in quick succession and has a quick cooldown of 10 seconds. Hanzo has now become a more dangerous player and is able to pick off a wave of enemies.
The second biggest change to the meta was a new hero, Brigitte. The hero from Sweden comes to us as a support player. Unlike the supports of old, she is able to stun enemies and block attacks. These abilities are very handy as the hero is capable of healing a team whilst fending off incoming players.
These two key elements added a new dynamic. Throughout the Overwatch League season, most teams used the same tactic. Attackers would dive behind enemy lines, and teams took a simple 2-2-2 team composition (two support, two tanks, two DPS). Overwatch‘s game designer Geoff Goodman pointed out there are “other potentially viable strategies as well sort of being under-utilized… we want there to be other strategies.” This new meta is exactly what Overwatch needed.
With Hanzo able to pick off a wave of enemies, and Brigitte simultaneously healing her team and defending herself, teams had to opt for a different tactic than the usual “dive.” Having all the teams in Overwatch use the same or similar tactics isn’t healthy for variety. Remember, your audience is very important, and providing your audience with good-quality entertainment is key to keeping them engaged. This altered meta has given us a bunch of new tactics and team compositions. These combined are smart counter-measures to “the dive” and encourage teams to employ different strategies, creating a much more exciting and unpredictable game to watch.
The Overwatch Finals
Before the finals, let’s take a quick look at the semis. Unfortunately, the top two seeded teams weren’t able to adapt to the new changes as easily. JJoNak, the league’s MVP, was unable to remain as big an influence as he had throughout the season. Without the dive attacks being used, JJoNak — playing as Zenyatta — couldn’t help heal his team as much as he previously had. Additionally, DPS hero picks of Tracer and Winston weren’t as effective as they were before the new meta. Instead, we see the Orisa/Roadhog combination being used to great effect.
Okay, onto the finals, where it’s London Spitfire up against Philadelphia Fusion. Due to the adaptability and team cohesion seen in the Spitfires, I think they’ll come out on top. The new meta really lends itself to a more chaotic style of play, and Spitfire seem to do well in this environment. They also have a varied team composition and can adapt to using a range of tactics. It’s going to be very exciting see both Spitfire and Fusion employ these meta tactics once again. Very soon we’ll know who is the best Overwatch team!
When is it?
All the action is on for the first ever Overwatch League Grand Finals this weekend. The event kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. PST. If you’re not lucky enough to attend the matches in person, all the games will be shown on Disney XD and ESPN. It’s fantastic to see esports hitting big mainstream media.
If you’re into watching on the esports platforms and engaging with fellow fans, check out all the action on Twitch or at OverwatchLeague.com. And if you’re tuning into Twitch, don’t forget to link your Battle.net account to enable exclusive in-game drops.
What are your predictions for the win? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll cover them next week. It’s going to be an exciting match-up.
For a full rundown on the Overwatch finals predictions, check out Michael Czar’s post here, or read Lawrence Tyler Esguerra’s post here on the road to finals. Lastly, head over to our Overwatch tab for more exciting news on this grand final.