Overwatch Tier list and Hero Meta Report #14: Where did all of the maps go?
Whats up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present The Overwatch Hero Tier List and Meta Report #14: Where did all of the Maps Go? This Report marks the second week of the experimental Eggplant Format (Banning 2CP Maps, 1 Hero Limit, Stopwatch Scoring) and new patterns are beginning to emerge. Last week’s Report noted that distinct Hero Tiers have begun to coalesce -- this week these Tiers have become even more explicit. Teams have had another full week to familiarize themselves within the constraints of 1 Hero Limit and they have begun to branch out a bit more in their Hero Swaps. This has had the effect of increasing the size of the "Negotiable Core" Heroes as more Teams experiment with Winston and Zarya in their lineups -- demoting Reinhardt by an entire Tier. Reinhardt's downward movement can also be partly explained by a slight increase in King of the Hill Map usage compared to last week -- one of many Butterfly Effects beginning to emerge as a result of the new Format. It's not just King of the Hill -- something funky is happening with the entire Map Ban system in Competitive Overwatch. Before we get to that though, let’s dive into the Hero Tiers for this week.
As always, Raw Data for this and subsequent charts can be found HERE. REMINDER: This Data was collected from the GosuGamers weekly NA and EU tourneys, where they used 1 Hero Limit, no 2CP Maps, and True Stopwatch format
S Tier (>=100% Usage Rate*): No one!
A Tier (>80% Usage Rate): Mercy, McCree,
B Tier (>40% Usage Rate): Widowmaker, Winston, Lucio, Reinhardt
C Tier (>20% Usage Rate): Zarya, Genji, Reaper, Junkrat, Soldier 76, Pharah, Symmetra,
D Tier (>5% Usage Rate): Tracer, Roadhog
F Tier (<5 % Usage Rate): Hanzo, Torbjorn, Mei, Bastion, Zenyatta, D.Va
*What is Usage Rate? It is NOT the percent chance of seeing a particular Hero in a Match, it’s actually a little different than that! Please see this glossary page explaining the term.
The Tier Ranges I’ve chosen** reflect different states of “Balance” in the Meta. This week, the Meta that is being analyzed is the Meta of 1 Hero Limit, 2 CP Maps Banned, Stopwatch Scoring.
Just like last week, the beauty of 1 Hero Limits is that its actually impossible for any Hero to reach the S Tier, unless they’re literally used on every map by every team on Offense, Defense, and King of the Hill. As you may have guessed, this didn’t happen. In “Mercy-Usage Watch” news: Mercy hit 91% this week, losing 5% over last week’s Usage Rate.
The A Tier -- the “Non-Negotiable” Core Heroes -- lost a member this week: Reinhardt. Don’t get me wrong: Reinhardt is still without question the Tank you need for Payload-pushing, but factors like increased Zarya and Winston Usage, increased King of the Hill Map picks, and a large influx of “Amateur” teams*** into the Dataset due to GosuGamers opening the Tournament to 128 slots were enough to drive Reinhardt down into the Negotiable Core range. That said, even Amateur Teams know that Mercy and McCree are completely Non-Negotiable, and both of these Heroes also had high usage on King of the Hill Maps as well. It doesn’t matter what situation you're in: you need a little M&M in your Overwatch Lineup.
The B Tier -- the “Negotiable” Core Heroes -- stayed the same besides the inclusion of Reinhardt. This week, it is worth noting a few observations about Widowmaker in particular. First, the Competitive Scene complains about her dominance almost as much as or even more than they do about McCree. This could be because she’s really that Overpowered -- or because McCree getting a tap from the Nerf-bat is already a foregone conclusion at this point -- but Widowmaker would actually be an A Tier Hero if more Teams had a player in their Lineup skilled enough to be their Widow Ace. Seriously: while compiling Map Data there were several Maps that had 100% Usage Rate on Widowmaker until Amateur Team Data started to trickle in.
The C Tier -- the “Balanced” Heroes -- saw little movement this week as well, losing Tracer to the D Tier and nearly losing Zarya to the B Tier. Zarya was used in a large amount of Attacking lineups as Teams have begun to experiment running her and a Reaper for shielded, "shotguns-in-your-face" action. It was partly for this reason that Tracer fell to the D Tier despite an increase in King of the Hill Maps played: one of the two main Lineups Teams brought to King of the Hill included the deadly Reaper-Zarya duo instead of what would historically be a Tracer spot.
The D Tier -- The “Almost Viable” Heroes -- was more a story of Roadhog’s near miss with the C Tier than anything. Roadhog’s 19.59% Usage Rate just barely fell short of the 20% cutoff for joining his pals in the Balanced Tier as Pros seem to be warming up to using him as an Initiator/Assassin, sharing a similar Lineup role as Winston. Tracer’s fall is, as stated, a bit due to the rise of the Zarya-Reaper duo -- but may see a rebound if McCree and Widowmaker Nerfs come through this week as hinted by Blizzard.
The F Tier -- The “We Exist, Barely” Heroes -- These Heroes very rarely saw any serious usage this week, as usual. GaleForce used a “serious” Offensive D.Va on Numbani once, and Torbjorn was used “seriously” on Defense a few times on Hollywood as well. Unfortunately, the rest of the Heroes in this Tier were used only as jokes by Teams who knew they were going to win (Envyus/Reunited in the opening rounds against Amateur teams) or Teams who didn’t know any better (the aforementioned Amateur teams).
** I do not chose the placement of Heroes in a Tier, only the Range which defines the Tier. By determining Usage Rate directly from Hero Picks in Tournament Matches, my data is Objectively determined, and not subjective at all.
***By Amateur Teams I mean Teams that didn’t include any Closed Beta players, or Teams that didn’t have a trackable GosuGamers Ranking -- for the most just part Teams who simply hadn’t competed in any Tournaments yet.
Where did all of the maps go?
Let's talk emergent phenomena
Overwatch is the kind of game where small changes have ripple effects all throughout the Player-base, the Competitive Scene, and thus the Meta. Give tiny buff to McCree’s Stun Grenade and suddenly there’s a lot less Tracers running around. Make a tiny change to Widowmaker’s Scope field of view and suddenly she’s a monster in the right hands. Heck, even Mei had a week during the Closed Beta where her Right-Click was even deadlier than McCree’s because of a small change to her ammo consumption. It should come as no surprise then, that a huge change such as...let’s say a Ruleset that only allows players to choose from one Hero at any given time...would induce a Butterfly Effect to propagate throughout the entire Competitive Scene. Last week I covered how 1 Hero Limit altered the Hero pool and Team compositions -- refreshing one while stagnating the other. This week I’ve caught on to a different emergent phenomenon: extreme Map disparity.
What's the Problem here?
Examining this week’s 1 Hero Limit Map Breakdown (see above Infographic), the Map disparity makes itself clear immediately: King’s Row and Hollywood were chosen exactly twice as often as all of the other Maps combined. At first, this at least makes a little bit of sense for King of the Hill Maps. The GosuGamers Weekly Tournaments from which I pull my Data have grown to an enormous size in the Post-Beta World -- amassing 128 Team open brackets with many more Teams ready to go on Standby. King of the Hill Maps are much more variable by nature, and so teams vying to reach the later rounds of the Tournament will often ban Nepal, Lijiang Tower, and Ilios first to secure Maps that they can more readily plan out strategies to defeat their Opponents instead of hoping for lucky kill-streaks.
This week, however, saw a slight increase in King of the Hill Maps relative to the first week of One Hero Limit, and nothing seems to to explain the mounting bias against the other Escort Maps in the pool. Dorado, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Numbani, and Route 66 are all Escort Maps just like King’s Row and Hollywood -- Numbani is even the same sub-class (Hybrid-Escort). So what makes these two Maps so much more desirable? The answer lies in the Ruleset.
Maps, verticality, and you
Dorado, Numbani, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar all share a common characteristic that King’s Row and Hollywood lack: easily reachable Vertical Defense Points. Let me step back and explain what I mean by that first. All of these Maps have a location or locations that are
A. Overlooking the main route of Attack and
B. Easily accessible by the entire Defense at once.
On Dorado, for example, this could range from the platforms/archway overlooking the first leg to the second archway and balconies overlooking the Second Point. On Watchpoint Gibraltar, you can set up your long-range Hitscan characters in areas above and around the Shuttle following the Second Point. Numbani and Route 66 are both basically a series of long hallways with upper-level Sniper spots on either side. On all of these Maps, this enables your team to set up two long-range “Assassins” -- usually a Widow and a Soldier 76 or other DPS -- up above the action overlooking the escort path. As soon as the enemy Team approaches, the other four members of your Team drop down from their perch above to cause enough trouble on the ground to prevent the enemy Team from reaching the after the real threat -- who picks them off one-by-one from above.
“But wait a minute Captain -- isn’t the second leg of Hollywood also a Sniper’s dream?” you’re probably wondering. Yes, and no. While the second leg of Hollywood is a great place for a Defending Widowmaker to hide, Attacking Teams usually carry a lot of momentum from the First Point capture through to the streets phase. Combine this, slow Elevators, and Hollywood’s large change in spawn run-back distance when this Point gets capped, and you almost never have time to set up a full Verticality-based Team Defense. All legs of King’s Row suffer from a similar problem: while there’s a few nice places for a single Widowmaker to hide there’s no vertical areas for a Team to set up an entrenched Defense.
The 1 Hero limit butterfly effect
Wait a minute, what does 1 Hero Limit have to do with any of this? How could a simple rule change affect how Teams choose Maps? You’ll note that the strategy used by many teams in the “Forbidden Four” Escort Maps -- the Dropdown Defense -- falls apart if the the Attackers utilize some form of aggressive counter-play that targets two DPS who remain perched high above the action. The problem is, 1 Hero limit removed the best Verticality-based counter-play of all: Double Winston. Just like last week, another Emergent Phenomenon has occurred due to the disappearance of everyone’s Double-Monkey nightmare -- but this time it’s a negative outcome. This week, instead of increasing Hero diversity by making Junkrat and Symmetra Defenses more viable (another strategy countered by Double-Winston), it has instead promoted a Map-Specific Defense so effective that Teams would rather just Map-Ban around it than bang their heads into it. Pretty crazy!
The Return of the Offense/Defense Bias Report
This week had some crazy fluctuations on Offense / Defense Usage, and the Offense / Defense Bias Report is here to tell you how they all shook out. Under 1 Hero Limit, many Heroes’ Bias -- or lack thereof -- becomes magnified. Look no further than Symmetra and Junkrat: two Heroes who were used immensely more on Defense than Offense. Symmetra actually saw Zero usage on Offense whatsoever, but her Defense-only usage was enough to vault her into the Balanced Tier in the Tier Rankings. Symmetra is a prime example of what Blizzard should strive to achieve with their other Turret/Builder Heroes -- Torbjorn and Bastion -- who sadly are not picked enough to even register in the Bias Report.
In the Middle section of this Graphic where the least-Biased Heroes appear we also see the six most-picked Heroes this week: Reinhardt, Lucio, Mercy, McCree, Winston and Widowmaker. Heroes as strong as these naturally should be getting picked for both Offense and Defensive strategies, so this was not really all that surprising.
On the left, we see our Offensive specialists, headed by the two Ladies of Attack: Pharah and Zarya. Pharah’s rockets are essential to provide long-range, precise pressure and her Knockback can be used in a pinch to break up the Drop-Down Defenses I described above. Zarya is amazing on Offense to pair with Hero you may expect to take damage, and becomes a monster when she becomes fully charged. Combine this with her game-changing Ultimate, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for Point-Capping.
Learn a little bit more about McCree: How to make your right clicks more deadly
Check out my Video Guide below! This Guide features McCree Mechanics I learned from one of the best McCree players in the world: IDDQD (formerly of Team Rogue).
This week, as always, I partnered with Icarus to compile the data necessary for both of our Meta Reports. If you'd prefer your Meta Reports in audio/video form, head over to his YouTube channel, or check back here around every Wednesday of the week! Icarus was travelling this week sadly, so no video T_T
Final Thoughts and Shout-Outs
As always, none of this Data could exist without the help of the Competitive Overwatch Community -- so remember to check out my Competitive Overwatch Beta Twitch Directory! This Directory features all of the Twitch Streams and Social Media of as many of the people who helped make the Beta Competitive Scene great as I could find. Get out there and give these people a Follow -- without them there would be no Competitive Scene and no Overwatch Hero Meta Report. I'd also like to thank the admins of the GosuGamer Weekly Tournaments for having the cojones to actually test out the 1 Hero Limit Format which has given me quite a bit of stuff to write about. Finally, huge shoutouts to a great many of my friends who just got signed by Professional Overwatch Teams -- Sicarri, B1am and his boys and their acquisition by Selfless Gaming and Flame, PapaSmurf, Steel, Clock, and all the rest and their acquisition by Splyce. The future is bright for Competitive Overwatch, and I'm just happy to be here.
Until next time,
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