Overwatch Hero Meta Report #9: it's High noon!

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Look at this Infographic, isn't it pretty? If you don't think so, let me know exactly why in the comments of the Reddit thread

Opening Thoughts

What’s up guys and gals, CaptainPlanet here to present Overwatch Hero Meta Report #9: It’s High Noon! Those of you that have been keeping track of Hero rankings over the past few weeks may have begun to notice a trend: McCree has been on the come-up. Can you guess all of the reasons that everyone's favorite gunslinger reached S-Tier this week? Was it because of Blizzard’s recent Flashbang change? Have teams realized that he pseudo-counters Tracer? Hey wait a minute: why has Reinhardt dropped in popularity so suddenly? All of these questions lead to one outcome: this week McCree became second damage-dealing Hero ever to reach >100% pick rate. Let’s find out why!


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Week 9's Tiering Results: for the extensive Map-by-map, Offense/Defense/King of the Hill Raw data, Click HERE

It's high noon!

Drawing credit - Francoyovich on Deviant art: http://francoyovich.deviantart.com/art/Overwatch-McCree-533009564

Drawing credit - Francoyovich on Deviant art: http://francoyovich.deviantart.com/art/Overwatch-McCree-533009564

The Six Gun Killer

Ask any Overwatch Pro who the best dueler is, and they’ll say McCree. This conclusion is strangely appropriate given his character design -- but this accolade is earned for much more than just his background. McCree can deal more damage than any other hitscan character, can reload instantly to full with his dive-roll, and fire at a rapid rate with his alt-fire -- and those are just his Offensive stats. When we consider his crowd-controlling, Tank-melting Flashbang grenade McCree begins to stand out among his damage-dealing peers. Other high-damage Heroes like Hanzo or Widowmaker are balanced around their lack of counter-play: if a Tracer or Genji gets the jump on you, you’re screwed. That's all well and good: that's the job of Flankers -- to take out entrenched Snipers and Healers after sneaking to the back line. McCree, however, defies this idea: if he gets jumped by a flanker he can simply toss a Flashbang, Right-Click, and melt them. These aspects of McCrees’s Hero design add up to make him one of the most well-rounded DPS characters in the game (Soldier 76 is close -- less damage but more sustainability), but McCree’s general strength as a Duelist doesn’t tell the entire story of his rise in usage as of late.

The Reinhardt Phenomenon

Take a look above at the Meta Report Historical Tracking Graphic -- notice anything strange? Up until this week, McCree and Reinhardt have been moving in sync in Hero Ranking. What suddenly changed? A major reason for Reinhardt’s decline -- and McCree’s surge -- is the interaction between these two Heroes: namely with how Pros utilize McCree to neuter the effectiveness of Reinhardt’s massive Shield. By now, most Overwatch fans know the usual way McCree deals with Reinhardt: toss a Flashbang just over the top of his Shield, stun him to drop the Shield, then Right-Click him to death. But what most non-Reinhardt or McCree mains don’t know -- which the Pros have been abusing -- is how McCree’s Ultimate functions when faced with Reinhardt’s Shield. I’m hesitant to call this a bug -- but the evidence is pretty clear. Watch these two GIFs of the same play below, one from a Reinhardt’s perspective, one from McCree’s perspective:

Click to enlarge (credit to Papasmurf)

These gifs demonstrate what Pros have been using McCree’s Deadeye to do: break through Reinhardt’s Shield. Deadeye charges up to lethal range based on its targets’ health -- whether they’re behind a Reinhardt Shield or not. As it turns out, this can be quite a lot of damage! So much damage, that there may be something buggy going on. Reinhardt’s Shield only has 2000 health, and if you charge up Deadeye until right before it fires, it appears that you can exceed the total health of the Heroes behind the shield with each bullet that it fires.

From the Reinhardt’s perspective (left), his shield has 1800 health and it gets popped from the Deadeye (you can see the Shield health drop to 0 on his HUD, so we know he didn’t just put it down). From the McCree’s perspective (right), he picks off the Reaper to his right and Zarya when she hops above the Shield -- leaving just the Mercy and Reinhardt hiding behind the barrier. Even at full health, Mercy plus Reinhardt’s combined health adds up to significantly less than 1800, yet the Deadeye pops Reinhardt’s Shield anyway! Something fishy is definitely going on here -- and the Pros know how to exploit it.

If I had to guess, McCree’s Deadeye may be charging above the maximum health of Heroes behind Reinhardt’s Shield -- perhaps taking the health of the Shield itself into account -- allowing him to fire off shots of >900 damage a piece. Alternatively, Deadeye may actually be charging to some 1000+ Health number to ensure a “lethal” shot, instead of charging to the exact number equivalent to the target’s health. Whatever the reason, the end result is that McCree is being abused to break through Reinhardt Shields. This is causing strategic contradictions to occur; the choice of hiding behind Reinhardt’s shield in the case of Deadeye should be the "correct" choice -- but instead it's causing all sorts of problems. The situation looks even worse if you have enough Heroes hiding behind the Shield, as Deadeye can break the shield in only a few shots, and then kill the remaining Heroes with subsequent shots. While McCree is an extremely strong and well-rounded Hero, this interaction with his Ultimate seems to be pushing him above fair usage and must be looked at. 



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First off, a little Announcement going forward with this week’s Offense/Defense Bias Report: I’m going to start ignoring Heroes which don’t reach five total picks as their Percentage data does not have enough significance. Now that that's out of the way, this Week’s Offense/Defense Bias paints a story of Map usage. The two standouts on Offense, Zarya and Pharah, owe their positions primarily to the popularity of King’s Row in the Competitive Scene: week  after week it is consistently the most- picked Map by far. These two Heroes are extremely strong for securing the first point of the Map on Offense -- Pharah for her ability to jump buildings and walls for an angle advantage and Zarya for her fight-defining Ultimate. Genji saw a similar Map-based boost, but his bias was due to his usage on the first vertically-challenging point of Numbani instead of King's Row. 

Compared to Offense, Hero Defensive Bias was a more varied story. Symmetra, like the above Offensive Heroes, was an important lineup addition on the first points of many maps with long respawn runs like Numbani, King’s Row, Dorado, and Route 66. Tracer on the other hand owes her Defensive leaning to less Map-based origins. She’s now filled in the role formerly held by D.Va: the last point panic-swap to stall the final push. This week, Junkrat was the most universally-utilized Hero on Defense, primarily because of his Steel Trap’s ability to make attacking Tracers think twice about running around corners. Despite all of my talk of McCree, the Meta is still very aware of the problems Tracer embodies and Junkrat is one of her few psuedo-counters. 

No Map Breakdown this Week, as I was too busy playing Overwatch during the Test Weekend :)

Things I like and Dislike

1. Gosugamers OverkillGG Tournament's Bo5 Round Robin preliminaries: This is a bit of a double-edged sword for me. Best of 5’s give me TONS of data, making the conclusions of the Meta Report more….conclusive -- but damn it is a lot of data to collect. Lost a lot of sleep this week, and that's without the Map Breakdown!

2. Pros have stopped picking King of the Hill Maps: If you want any more evidence that Tracer is busted and that Ranked Mode is unfairly balanced towards attacking teams, look no further than the Map bans in Pro tournaments. Pros are fed up with King of the Hill overtime matches in Ranked Mode, and they’re tired of 2x Tracer vs. 2x Tracer cancer comps dominating -- so they just refuse to pick the Maps that favor them.

3. MyDong is on Fire!!  If there’s anything that can be proven from Team MyDong’s recent win over Reunited, it’s that the Tvique + Mendokusaii pairing is one of, if not the strongest duos in Overwatch at the moment. I’ll be quite interested to see how quickly MyDong can grow in their dominance of the Closed Beta. 

4. Overwatchers Interview with Geoff Goodman: This week we saw another Developer Interview that may have flown under the radar for some of you -- The Overwatchers podcast got a hold of Overwatch’s Principal Designer, Geoff Goodman, to talk Hero Design, the Meta, and the weeks leading up to the Open Beta. You can check out the VOD here: https://www.twitch.tv/amovetv/v/61487739

Icarus's corner

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! This week, he finished early!


Check it out, you'll love it :)

Final Thoughts

This week's shoutout goes to Blizzard itself for hosting yet another Test Weekend and giving OnlyWatchers like myself a chance to experience the game one more time before Open Beta hits. I was able to learn a lot more about Maps I'd never played before (look for a Route 66 Map Breakdown in the future!), and improve my mechanics a player in general. Hopefully Blizz got plenty of good data from the Test Weekend, and the rumors I've been hearing about the Test Weekend only existing because  of massive returns of Amazon pre-orders of the game aren't true (: 

Until next time,



Report Changelog

-Updated Color Scheme of Hero Tier Historical Infographic

-Discounted Heroes with <5 picks in Offense/Defense Bias

-No Map Breakdown this week

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