How 5v5 is transforming the Overwatch 2 public beta metagame

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Tanking is an even lonelier job since Overwatch 2 cut teams down to 5v5.

Arguably the biggest gameplay change in Overwatch 2 is team size. In the original game, teams played 6v6 with two supports, DPS, and tanks apiece per side. Overwatch 2 shifts team composition to 5v5 with just one tank in an attempt to shake up the metagame. Combined with other factors like fewer shields and higher damage, Overwatch 2 is a much faster-paced game. Here’s how 5v5 affects the metagame in Overwatch 2, especially for tanks.

The early Overwatch metagame was often criticized for heavy poking and low aggression driven by abundant healing and shields. 6v6 greatly contributed to the problem, as losing one player wasn’t a very big deal for many engagements. Now teams with a numbers advantage can take ground much more often in the public beta test.

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The single tank on both teams also changes the game for everyone else. Supports, especially healers, are less tied to the frontline. DPS characters can focus less on grinding down shields and instead roam to find picks. Heroes with anti-tanking tools like Symmetra and Bastion have been adjusted to compensate for the lack of targets. As for the tanks themselves, the Overwatch 2 5v5 metagame is completely new.

What does 5v5 mean for the tank meta in Overwatch 2?

With the removal of a second tank, players who prefer soaking and preventing damage have a lot more responsibility. In the original Overwatch, it wasn’t uncommon for a main tank like Reinhardt or D.Va to stick with the team while a Roadhog or Winston roamed around. The main tank position is mostly the same, but roaming tanks will have to greatly change their play style.

This massive change is reflected in several balance changes and reworks. Winston’s secondary fire gives him a long-range option to provide more offense. Zarya can send out two bubble shields instead of just one. Doomfist, who was swapped from DPS to tank, received almost a complete rework to fit the role. All tanks also have a passive for taking less knockback and building less enemy ultimate charge.

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For Overwatch 2 tank players, that means changing some habits to fit the 5v5 metagame. There’s no secondary tank to lean on, so a death is much more impactful. It also means that the single tank functions as a headquarters of sorts for the team. Fortunately, it also means that the enemy also has one tank to worry about. If they’re dead, the living tank can play much more proactively.