The opening weekend of Overwatch League Season 3 gave fans an early taste of the game’s new meta.
According to Overwatch’s Stats Lab, Lucio, Reinhardt, and Mei were the three most-played heroes of the week by far. Lucio was picked 91.9% of the time, followed by Reinhardt at 88.7%. Probably the most surprising is Mei at third with 84.1%.
Mei had niche uses in Season 2, but she has yet to be a consistent pick in the competitive meta. The San Francisco Shock, last year’s champions, were not afraid to utilize Mei in their strategies. Jay “sinatraa” Won spent a significant portion of the weekend playing the scientist, clocking in at 42%. Less shocking was that sinatraa’s second-most used hero was Doomfist.
D.Va and Ana came in fourth and fifth. The New York Excelsior’s Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi was on D.Va for 94.8% of the time. The team’s DPS players spent a lot of time on McCree, including Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park who used him 82.2% of the time.
The Shock’s Minho “Architect” Park is partially responsible for Ana’s placement, since the support main used her 98% of the time on stage. Former Seoul Dynasty favorite Jehong “Ryujehong” Ryu was on the sniper support for 100% of the time.
Almost every other hero barely had a sliver of color to their name, but every hero with the exceptions of Bastion and Roadhog was selected at least once.
Overwatch League pros have three more weeks where they can select any hero they want, giving them almost a month to experiment. A new meta is likely to crop up and some heroes will solidify themselves as the most viable in the game’s current state.
Looming over all this is the fact that hero pools are coming on March 7. The first week’s bans will be Wrecking Ball, Genji, McCree, and Baptiste. From there, one tank, one support, and two DPS heroes will be made unavailable each week. Developers will be selecting banned heroes based on play rate data from the past two weeks.
Hero pools is Blizzard vice president Jeff Kaplan’s response to the stale metas that have plagued competitive Overwatch throughout its existence. From dive, to GOATS, to double barrier, there have been many stubborn team comps over the years. When the 2-2-2 role lock didn’t help, hero pools became the new way to force players to change up their playstyle and selection.