Using Data Analysis to Understand Competitive Overwatch
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July 17, 2017
Overwatch Hero Meta Report: PC (S5 W7)
Welcome to a new and improved OmnicMeta Hero Meta Report. The biggest change is that there is now a hero meta report for each tier. My hope is to give you the players better information on what the current hero meta is for you. Please let me know what you think, either on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
above chart breaks down average hero usage by tier, grouped by category
(Offense, Defense, Tank, Support). Broadly speaking, across all tiers
of play we see the vast influence of the fall Patch 1.12, which has
brought about the meta "death" of Roadhog, and the surge of Winston and
D.Va. After months of being one of the most diverse classes in terms of
hero play, Tanks in general have started to settle into 2-3 prominent
heroes per tier. For offensive heroes, Soldier continues to be the most
popular pick on average, though his popularity continues to wane as
other heroes like Genji have become popular. The biggest surprise this
week? Sombra. After 8 months of not being played very much at all, she
now has found a minor place in the meta - probably due to her use in
the professional scene and Overwatch World Cup. Sombra is up 3% usage on
average across the tiers this week, with a 4% increase at Grandmaster
and Master, putting her at 15% usage in Grandmaster. Defense heroes
continue to not be popular in general, but Bronze tier is continuing to
see increased play of those heroes. Finally, supports continue to be an
expected story: meta staples Mercy and Lucio, rising star Zenyatta, and
declining old meta pick Ana. Zenyatta in particular is experiencing a
steady increase each week across most of the tiers.
Big Movers this Meta Report
The infographic above presents the top 2 usage gainers for the competitive tiers. The trend towards dive heroes continues, as Winston, D.Va, and Zenyatta are the biggest gainers this week. In Grandmaster and Master in particular, there is a quick movement towards playing a lot more Winston. For the rest of the tiers, the hero usage changes appear to be slowing from last report as the meta starts to settle more. However, the one big surprise that didn't make top 2 - Sombra. She is up 3% across the tiers, and is the #4 gainer overall. Whether that rise will continue in future is unknown, but it is possible she will become a part of the meta. Bronze continues to be a tier of ups and downs, as Hanzo is the biggest gainer this week - putting him squarely as a part of the meta at that tier.
As far as the top 2 biggest usage losers this report, we see more variation which represents some broad trends. Reinhardt continues to drop quickly in popularity, partially due to his gameplay bugs and partially due to the rise of Winston and D.Va. With a very big patch currently on PTR which fixes some of the bugs and gives his hammer a buff - we very well may see more Rein in the future. Roadhog continues his decline after his huge nerf, while Ana continues her popularity free fall in some of the last two tiers she is popular in (Master and Grandmaster). Mercy's decline at Master tier is somewhat surprising, but reflects the continued rise of Zenyatta. Pharah's drop in Silver is a common trend across most of the tiers - she is falling out of favor among all players as heroes like Genji and even Sombra are played more. Finally, a suprise drop from Reaper at Bronze, which reflects the ever-changing meta at that tier.
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.
Grandmaster Hero Meta
The meta continues to tighten to a select number of heroes in Grandmaster. Tracer and Genji has established themselves as the "go-to" DPS heroes in the current meta, followed closely by Soldier. Sombra has seen a big boost this week as well - she is becoming a small part of the meta. Some may say that she still is very nice, but regardless the Sombra influence can be seen through recent weeks of professional play and in the esports scene in general. McCree's and Pharah's popularity continue to wane (down 4% and 5% this week) as the meta has settled. Echoing the professional scene, Tanks have become a selection of two options: Winston and D.Va, who both have gained considerable play this week (Winston +10% usage, D.Va +4%). Winston is a noteworthy hero, as he is now the #1 most popular hero in Grandmaster. The support category still remains diverse, as all four "pure" supports (excluding Symmetra) are significant parts of the meta. Zenyatta has seen big usage gains in the past several weeks, approaching 50% usage. Lucio is up +5% in usage, while Ana continues to fall sharply, down another -8% this week. The Lucio-Zenyatta combination is certainly becoming more popular as the season has progressed.
Master tier hero meta has significant diversity in several categories, as the DPS slots remain mostly wide open. Dive heroes such as Genji and Tracer remain fairly popular, while Soldier, McCree, Pharah, and Reaper as also part of the meta. Pharah's popularity is somewhat tied to Mercy's popularity, while Reapers boost in usage last report due to the self-healing buff remains this week. Popular tanks have been mostly decided now, as Winston and D.Va top the list by a large margin and continue to grow in popularity. Similar to Grandmaster, Winston is the most popular hero in the tier, followed closely by D.Va. Zarya is also in the meta (though in a small capacity), and slowly declining as the dive meta takes over. Similar to Grandmaster, Supports are a choice of four heroes close in popularity: Mercy, Lucio, Ana, and Zenyatta. However, there is significant movement. Mercy and Ana's popularity is on the decline, while Zenyatta (+2%) and Lucio (+1%) popularity is on a slow rise. This trend may simply be the influence of Grandmaster trickling down, and a trend to keep watch of.
While the shift across Overwatch has been towards dive, Diamond tier has some signals that other team compositions remain quite popular. Tank play is mostly Winston and D.Va like the higher tiers, but Zarya
and Reinhardt are also still seeing significantly play. Control team compositions leveraging Reinhardt's shield is also still somewhat popular, which enables quite a few offensive heroes to also be played. While Soldier remains the most popular Offensive hero by a small margin, he is being contested by Genji, who rises 4% in usage this week. In general, nearly all heroes except Sombra are in the meta - though McCree (-2%) and Pharah (-2%) are on a small decline. Reaper in particular is a significant part of the meta, as the diversity in Tank play (and other heroes in general) make him more viable. Hanzo makes the 15% tier list cutoff this week, and he is the only defensive hero in the meta. For Supports, Mercy remains the the dominant meta hero, with the 2nd support slot being left for Ana, Lucio, and Zenyatta. Like the other higher tiers, Ana (-2%) continues her decline, while Zenyatta (+1%) is rising slowly.
The Platinum hero meta represents even more hero diversity than Diamond. Soldier remains the most popular Offense hero, but Reaper has moved up to #2 this week. Reaper's popularity is growing slowly (+2%) after the buff to his self-healing. Dive heroes Pharah, Genji, and Tracer also remain important parts of the DPS hero meta, although there is some movement. Pharah (-2%) is continuing to fall, Genji's popularity rises this week (+2%). Hanzo remains a niche pick, but is the most popular defensive hero by far. Tank hero play is dominated by D.Va and Winston, but Reinhardt and Zarya are also seeing significant play. With major Reinhardt bug fixes and buffs to Zarya's ultimate on the horizon, we can expect the play of these heroes to likely continue, if not rise - though only time will tell. Reinhardt in particular has been hurting greatly (down another 8% this week) as players shift their focus to D.Va and Winston. Mercy continues to be the most popular hero in Platinum - by far. Zenyatta's popularity continues to increase each week as he is up +2% usage. Lucio and Ana (-2%) round out the hero picks to fill the 2nd support slot.
Gold has a more defined meta. The offensive hero meta is much more defined, as three heroes are clearly being played more than the others: Soldier, Pharah, and Reaper and with good reason. Soldier the "all-around" hero continues to be the most popular pick, Pharah pairs incredibly well with the "always-present" Mercy, and Reaper's self healing buff has pushed him into a big role as well. Note that Soldier (-2%), McCree (-2%), and Sombra (+2%) are the only movers in the offense category this week. There isn't any movement for the Defense heroes, as the all remain a small part of the hero meta at Gold. For Tanks, while D.Va (+2%) and Winston's (+5%) popularity continues to rise, Reinhardt (-7%) continues to fall, though he remains a big part of the meta. After weeks of decline, Zarya has stabilized as a significant part of the tank meta in Gold. For supports, Mercy is still the #1 hero in Gold, with Lucio, Zenyatta, and Ana filling the secondary role. The only significant movement this week are slow gains from Zenyatta (+1%) and Mercy (+2%), with Ana (-2%) continuing to decline.
In Silver tier, the four most popular DPS heroes are Soldier, Pharah, Reaper, and Junkrat - with all other offense and defense heroes substantially behind in popularity. Among Offense heroes, Genji's (+3%) popularity is increasing, while Pharah's continues to fall (-4%). The influence of dive team compositions may be to blame here, as otherwise the conditions for Pharah are pretty good (e.g. few hit scan, Mercy is popular). Winston (+4%) is the only big mover for Tanks this week, as D.Va maintains her #1 position. Like some other tiers, Reinhardt is falling in popularity, but he remains an important part of the current meta at Silver. After weeks of falling in popularity, Zarya has stabilized as a small part of the meta. Roadhog's popularity has completely collapsed after the nerf to his hook combo. Mercy continues to be the most popular support by far, with Lucio and Zenyatta the most frequent secondary supports being chosen. All three of those heroes have increased in popularity this week by at least 2% usage. Silver Tier List: Tier 1 (> 75% Usage Rate): Mercy (78%) Tier 2 (> 50% Usage Rate): D.Va (55%) Tier 3 (> 25% Usage Rate): Lucio (46%), Winston (40%), Reinhardt (38%), Soldier76 (36%), Zenyatta (34%), Pharah (33%), Reaper (28%) Tier 4 (> 15% Usage Rate): Junkrat (23%), Ana (23%), Zarya (21%), Symmetra (19%), Genji (17%), Orisa (15%)
Bronze Hero Meta
The Bronze hero meta continues to shift rapidly, though is still roughly following a traditional "2-2-2" team composition. With significant declines in Soldier and Pharah the past several months, Junkrat is now the most popular DPS, gaining another +2% usage this week. Defensive heroes in general are on the rise again, as the whole category is up 10% usage this week, with 6% being Hanzo. Hanzo is now a significant part of the meta, tied with Reaper (-4% this week) for popularity). For Tanks, Reinhardt and Roadhog continue their decline, though Reinhardt is still a very popular tank at Bronze. With the bug fixes coming soon(TM), he may stabilize and remain an important part of the meta. While D.Va dips -2% usage this week, she is still the most popular tank. Winston is growing in popularity similar to the rest of the tiers. For supports, Mercy (+1%), Symmetra (+2%), and Zenyatta (+3%) are all up in usage this week. Note that despite this, there are only two popular supports at the moment - Mercy and Lucio.