The Overwatch League teams had a bit of fun with Echo over the weekend, streaming friendly matches on YouTube for fans in lieu of homestand matches. While it was a chance for fans to get to see their favorite players as they await the season to start back up, it also gave some competitive insight into new DPS hero Echo.
Seoul Dynasty started out the stream using Wrecking Ball and Ana to accompany Joon-yeong “Profit” Park on Echo. San Francischo Shock also seemed fond of the Ana and Echo comp. Both teams also experimented with Roadhog and Mercy. Later on in the best-of-three, San Francisco Shock paired Echo with Tracer and D.Va, as did the Dynasty.
Los Angeles Valiant and the Los Angeles Gladiators both came out of the gate with Torbjorns. They both chose Lucio and Ana as their support.
Memes aside, the friendly matches opened up some serious discussions on how Echo will shake up the meta once the OWL is back in action. What new team comps will we see in competitive?
Echo is similar to Pharah in the sense that she has the ability to fly and glide, giving her not just mobility but also an easy way to disengage from her opponents. This is the perfect formula for Mercy, who relies on her teammates to keep her safe from danger using Guardian Angel. With Echo now being toted as a better and stronger Pharah, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mercy mains pocket healing Echo to keep the aerial DPS alive.
But Mercy’s Caduceus Staff also offers damage amplification. This would really benefit Echo, since once a hero is at half health she can deal an immense amount of damage with her Focusing Beam ability. This becomes even deadlier with a boost from Mercy. Having that damage boost will also speed up her ultimate build up while utilizing Duplicate, allowing her to use another hero’s ultimate even more quickly.
This will most likely become a duo that the opposing team dreads seeing.
Mercy isn’t the only one who can amplify Echo’s already oppressive damage. Ana’s Nano Boost would allow Echo to deal 50% more damage while also taking 50% less damage. This will not only melt enemy shield’s at an increased rate, but also makes Echo’s ultimate load up her enemy’s ultimates even faster.
Ana is also able to remain safely on the backline while healing Echo from afar, even when she is airborn.
When the double barrier meta came to the Overwatch League a lot of frontline DPS heroes found themselves useless. It was hard for Widowmaker to find an angle that allowed her to get easy headshots once Sigma and Orisa put their shields up, and their barriers easily absorbed damage from McCree and other hitscan heroes like Soldier: 76 and Ashe.
But Echo has quickly become known for her ability to melt shields at an alarming rate. Tanks are rendered useless with Focusing Beam, which deals an incredible 200 damage against targets under 50% of their maximum health, including shields. With their shields depleted, a barrage of bullets becomes quite oppressive, as are headshots from everyone’s favorite sniping hero.
That’s right, dive is back! Although Overwatch players began to dread dive after a while, they realized it wasn’t all too bad once they had to sit through an entire season of GOATS.
Echo’s ability to fly into the backlines while still remaining out of damaging distance from tanks makes her a perfect flanker. That, paired with the ease with which she renders shields useless, makes her the perfect partner for a dive composition. With tanks running for cover, it’s easy for D.Va, Tracer, Genji, and other highly mobile heroes to rush forward and take down a team that was once grouped up and ready to hold their ground behind their barriers.
This means that support like Zenyatta and Lucio will most likely become popular once again. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise after OWL teams insisted on using the speed boosting DJ in the friendly Echo matches this weekend.
You saw it over the weekend’s matches and you’re most likely going to see it again. Wrecking Ball has amazing synergy with Echo thanks to their disruptive abilities.
Use Hammond’s Pile Driver to not just damage enemies, but to launch them upward. The predictable path and short paralysis will allow Echo to severely damage enemies who just took 100 damage from Hammond. More than one might even be automatically eliminated.
This is just the kind of disruption and chaos that Wrecking Ball players strive for. Barging in and setting everyone up to be annihilated by an OP aerial DPS hero is the dream, and no opposing composition is safe.
While there will undoubtedly be fun compositions to witness and utilize throughout the next few months, many Overwatch fans are frustrated that Echo is a DPS. A lot of players were hoping for a support or tank and are now in fear of DPS queues growing even longer. Others are worried that she will go live being overpowered. Even Jay “sinatraa” Won told Jeff Kaplan predicted her being picked 95% of the time in the OWL if she was released as is.
In fact, a lot of comps might end up being more focused on countering the opponent’s Echo rather than synergizing with their own. This could include DPS like McCree and Doomfist, who can quickly rush in and stop Echo before she has the chance to deal massive damage. Teams might also avoid heroes like Roadhog and Tracer, who sinatraa feels would give the enemy Echo strong ultimate abilities to copy.
Having comps that revolve around dealing with one overpowered hero is not ideal for competitive play, especially at high levels. This is reminiscent of when Brigitte was first released and comps were created solely with the idea of beating down the enemy Brig. This is what led to GOATS, which saw both teams utilizing the exact same hero compositions over and over again. Teams that didn’t stick to the same six heroes would be at a disadvantage, resulting in a stale meta.
According to Kaplan, the goal is to release Echo onto public servers in the next few weeks. Echo already saw two big changes in a recent PTR update, nerfing her before the official release. This will most likely not be the only one as Blizzard’s developers continue to work towards a more balanced hero.