Overwatch League hero tier list going into Stage 3 of the OWL
Olivia R. May 24, 2019
Going in Stage 3 of the Overwatch League's second season, fans are still holding out hope that come June 7 GOATS won't still be dominating the pro scene. Comprised of three tanks and three supports, the dominant meta composition has all but taken over the Overwatch League, which many people speculate is the main reason that the league's viewership continues to decline.
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Overwatch League teams that thrive off of their DPS stars, such as Seoul Dynasty, have come to the conclusion that Stage 3 will just be more GOATS. They know they won't be playing Widowmaker, Tracer, or Pharah for more than a few minutes on select maps. Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim will most likely spend upcoming matches playing Zarya, despite being known as a "DPS god" by Overwatch fans.
The playstyle of GOATS has continued to stifle alternative team compositions, especially anything favoring DPS. The newest hero, Baptiste, was once a beacon of hope for players and viewers alike. Some felt his kit was made to counter GOATS by punishing a tightly grouped up team. Blizzard's own developers hinted as much. But the 3-3 meta completely steamrolled the new support, making him a niche pick in the pro scene.
Thought to be an anti-tank with his sneaky abilities and strong shotgun blasts, Reaper was another hero that players hoped would make an impact on GOATS. But even with his recent buff, Reaper is still not the winning play in the Overwatch League.
GOATS comps usually consists of Reinhardt, Zarya, D.Va, Brigitte, Zenyatta, and Lucio. These are the six heroes you will most often see in the Overwatch League, although there are some variations here and there depending on the strategy and map. This includes swapping out Reinhardt for Winston, or exchanging Zenyatta for Ana or Moira.
Looking at each hero's abilities and stats, we're going to predict which heroes have the highest chance of disrupting GOATS going into Stage 3.
We saw this a lot in Stage 2. Sombra's ultimate, EMP, is the perfect way to disrupt the GOATS strategy. Without Reinhardt's shield and Zenyatta's healing orbs, the team is left defenseless to incoming attacks. A GOATS team without their ultimate combo, Reinhardt's Earth Shatter and Zarya's Gravitational Surge, is also not very effective, allowing your own team to keep aggressively pushing into them.
Sombra is currently the highest-picked DPS hero in the Overwatch League. The last week of Stage 2, she saw a 16.2% pick rate, compared with the next most picked DPS, Pharah, at just over 6%. This is still nothing compared to Lucio's recent 95.6%, but Sombra continues to make an impact on GOATS when implemented correctly.
With stats like this, it's no wonder Ding "Ameng" Menghan has transcended gigachad status to become the definition for yottachad. The Chengdu Hunters player is best known for dominating the Vancouver Titans' star Reinhardt player, Park "Bumper" Sang-beom, while playing Wrecking Ball.
The Hunters ultimately lost, which most viewers attributed to the team's purposeful picks outside of GOATS, but the team has been gaining fans for their entertaining and intelligent meta-breaking strategies. When in the right hands, Wrecking Ball is a very disruptive tank that uses high mobility to stay one step ahead of the typical GOATS formation. Still, not many pros outside of Ameng have made a huge impact on the hamster, and he remains at a 7.2% pick rate.
Although rarely seen in the Overwatch League, there is a name for the Mei variant of GOATS meta: SNOATS. Since GOATS relies so heavily on sticking together and consistently getting easy heals, a perfectly placed Mei wall can disrupt an entire game. The goal is to isolate enemies, allowing your teammates to more easily pick them off.
In Week 2 of Stage 1, the Los Angeles Valiant faced the Paris Eternal, who surprised viewers and their opponents alike when they picked Mei instead of D.Va on Nepal Village. The two doorways that allow access to the point are the exact same size as Mei's wall, allowing her to really make an impact on the enemy's coordinated point entries. The Paris Eternal took the map, but Mei still hasn't seen a lot of play since. In fact, she had a pick rate of under one percent near the end of Stage 2.
While her wall proved to have quite the impact on GOATS, it's still very situational. On more open maps, pro players can easily find ways to maneuver around her walls, thus avoiding being seperated from the rest of their team.
The second-most picked DPS in Stage 2, Pharah's unique abilities allow her to soar above the enemy team to cause a huge distraction for Reinhardt and D.Va. Since Reinhardt's shield can only face in one direction, he now has to pick between shiedling above or in front of him, where the rest of the opposing team would be pushing. The D.Va can attempt to take out Pharah, but she must leave the safety of her team to do so.
Pharah's disruption continues when you factor in her Concussive Blast. Similar to Lucio, Pharah has great environmental kill potential, as well as the chance to seperate players from the rest of their team with her ability's knockback. Still, during her four hours of play time in Season 2, Pharah remains at a 33.76% win rate, which is quite low when compared to a hero like Winston, who was played for over 21 hours and has a little over 51% win rate.
While we won't be seeing any Widowmaker headshot compilations this season, many Widowmaker mains still have the chance to show off their precision in very niche situations on certain maps. On maps with a lot of high ground options, a Widowmaker can easily pick off squishy heroes like Zenyatta. Unfortunately, tanks such as D.Va and Reinhardt can't be so easily picked off with even the most well-placed shot. While Widowmaker can cause a distraction and take away some healing options from enemy GOATS teams, that's still not enough to make a major impact on teams that thrive off of GOATS strategies.
This DPS suffers from the same problem as Widowmaker in that she doesn't do enough damage to become a deadly threat to big tanks that are getting constant heals. Similar to Reaper, Tracer is able to sneak into the enemy backlines and take out squishies, but she still can't do enough damage to deter a GOATS team from sticking to their original strategy.
Near the end of Stage 2, both Tracer and Widowmaker had a 2.5% pick rate, which is more than double that of either Soldier: 76 or Doomfist. They were also played for a little over six hours each. This proves that DPS that stand on the front lines and do burst damage are not enough to counter the 3-3 meta, but pros still believe that flankers like Widowmaker and Tracer could possibly cause a sufficient distraction in the right hands, opening up holes in the enemy team's formation.
Not the best news for Overwatch fans who hate GOATS
While there are heroes who can disrupt GOATS when used by a skilled pro player, it seems as though the 3-3 composition will remain dominant in Stage 3 of the Overwatch League. Only time will tell if DPS-loving teams like Seoul Dynasty and Chengdu Hunters will pull out some new anti-GOATS strategies, but the current hero roster does not offer many alternates that seem to have the potential to counter the inevitable consistency of GOATS.