Using Data Analysis to Understand Competitive Overwatch
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September 10, 2018
Overwatch Hero Meta Report: PC (June 25, 2018)
Season 10 comes to an end, with some changes to the meta as players have adapted to new heroes (Brigitte) and reworked heroes (Hanzo). While the meta is still very much centered around Rein and Mercy, what would be a meta report without a curveball? The DPS hero meta has opened up in the last few weeks - as has the support meta. As always I
enjoy this report!
Big Movers this Meta Report
above infographic presents the top two heroes gaining the most usage
since the last report. As Season 10 comes to a close, some familiar faces are coming back into the meta - including one that is surprising. Ana has been struggling for quite a few seasons now. Her low effective healing output and low winrates have been well documented, and even her recent buffs have not really affected her viability on ladder. Nonetheless, more players are playing her recently - her usage is consistently up +7% across the tiers. Similarly, Soldier has somewhat found his way back in the meta at the low and middle tiers. Soldier has been a DPS staple for a long time, and with slower Reinhardt-based team compositions popular currently it may have been inevitable for him to seem more play. He still is a great hero to play at range, and his ultimate doesn't require as much synergy to be productive (as Hanzo/Zarya combo does). He's up +8% on average across the tiers. It's worth a special mention that Tracer (+7% usage in high tiers) and Genji (+8% usage in high tiers) are coming back into the meta at the higher tiers - and especially at Grandmaster. Rounding out the honorable mentions are Zenyatta (+5% usage), and Lucio (+4%).
Two faces are features nearly exclusively in the list of biggest losers: Moira and Hanzo. We have seen a significant drop in Moira play (-9%) as Ana play has increase. Long and slow team fights don't match well with her limited healing pool - weakening her position as a main healer in the Reinhardt/Zarya (and Triple tank) meta. Moira simply can run out of healing resources quickly in prolonged fights, and then has to figure out a way to deal damage quickly to recharge those resources - a daunting task when the enemy team has barriers. Hanzo (-11%) remains a top DPS hero in the game, where his job is to break barriers and get kills using his high burst damage. However, Hanzo has competition in these categories as there are plenty of other heroes that accomplish similar jobs (e.g. Soldier, Junkrat, Pharah, etc). In cases where there is no Zarya on the team to combo ultimates with, Hanzo's utility drops a lot - and statistically that happens frequently. Other heroes with high value solo ultimates can be exceptionally valuable. Dishonorable mentions are Reinhardt (-7%) and Mercy (-4%) - both heroes remain top meta picks, though their decline may be an indication that more that players are looking for more hero diversity on ladder.
Current Hero Meta Trends in Overwatch
above chart breaks down average hero usage by tier, grouped by category
(Offense, Defense, Tank, Support). There has been a lot of talk during Season 10 that only 7 heroes were meta at the highest tiers, but in the last few weeks that has changed. For those feeling like the meta had become stale, there is a lot of evidence across the hero categories that diversity is starting to open up. The biggest example of this has been the change to DPS and Support heroes. That said, looking at the data one thing remains true: dive team compositions are still not meta as D.Va and Winston remain lightly played at the highest tiers.
Starting with Support heroes, Ana,
Lucio, and Zenyatta are seeing more play as Mercy and Moira fall. Mercy remains the most popular Support in competitive Overwatch right now, with Moira (-9%) and Ana (+7%) filling out the rest of the main healer slot. As mentioned before, Moira's limited healing resources is a glass jaw in long teamfights, though Ana's winrates are equally troubling (and below 50% in every tier of play). With an effective healing output of 75% of Mercy and Moira, the bottom line is that Ana is still very situational right now. For off-support, Brigitte, Lucio, and Zenyatta still fill the slot, with Lucio being more popular at the lowest tiers, and Zenyatta the highest tiers. The biggest takeaway from these heroes are their winrates: each hero has some of the highest winrates at their given tiers. Brigitte's winrates continue to be (impossibly) high - averaging 56% winrate across all tiers of play. I'll echo my advice from past articles: if you are a lower tier player looking to find an off-support to play: Brigitte is a good one to consider.
Tank play has shifted a bit over the course of the season, though Reinhardt/Dva and Reinhardt/Zarya remain most popular tanks at the lowest and highest tiers, respectively. While there has been very little usage change at the lower tiers, there has been a general shift towards more diversity at the higher tiers. D.Va, Roadhog, and Winston have each gone up roughly (+4% usage across Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster - as Reinhardt and Zarya has fallen. From that perspective, while dive team compositions have not been completely squashed out, those three heroes are relatively unpopular at 20% usage and below.
DPS heroes remain the most diverse hero category in the game at the end of Season 10. Hanzo (high tiers) and Junkrat (low tiers) retain their status as the most picked heroes, mostly due to their high burst damage and valuable ultimates - both useful in the current shield-heavy meta. However, Soldier, Tracer, and Genji have regained some lost popularity towards
the end of this season. Tracer and Genji especially are a bright spot as many players had fears that Brigitte would remove the ability of flankers to contribute. Instead, players have adapted this season and now know to play around Brigitte by keeping track of her cooldowns. For DPS heroes, the main goal remains dealing with shields throughout the different DPS hero pairings: either providing burst damage to remove shields (Hanzo/Junkrat/Pharah), flanking around shields (Tracer/Genji), or getting verticality and range to shoot over shields (Widowmaker/Soldier).
Hero Meta by Competitive Tier
Let's take a deeper look at each
competitive tier, and what heroes make up the current meta. The charts
below rank each hero by category, according to their popularity.