Using Data Analysis to Understand Competitive Overwatch
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March 08, 2017
Overwatch Hero Meta Report: PC (Season 4 Week 1)
Welcome to OmnicMeta's report on the state of competitive Overwatch
on PC from week 1 of Season 4. In this report, we look at the meta of hero
usage trends across tiers from Grandmaster through Bronze.
this report is: A report and tier list of Overwatch hero usage and
player trends across competitive ladder tiers (Grandmaster ->
Bronze), covering usage for Week 1 Season 4 (a single week of S4). Players are
divided into tiers by their current SR at time of data capture.We want to answer the question "What are people playing at each tier?".
this report is not: We do not report any data from professional or
Esports tournaments, only competitive ladder within the game of
above chart breaks down average usage of a hero by tier, grouped into
the same categories (Offense, Defense, Tank, Support) as found in the
game. Generally speaking, higher tiers prefer higher skill cap
characters that can reward them for their play, while lower tiers prefer heroes that are easier to learn and be productive with.
For this week, the big changes to Bastion and Mercy have arguably lead to significant changes in team compositions as compared to prior weeks. Let's take a look at each hero category.
heroes got a new buff for the start of Season 4. While Soldier is still solidly picked across tiers, old nerfs to D.Va/Ana and new changes to Bastion and Roadhog's hook have all somewhat lead to Soldier's decline and allowed more usage of other heroes. Genji, Pharah, and Tracer
all see increased usage, as Zarya ult combo remain really strong, as does nano Dragonblade. Note that at higher tiers, players are preferring Genji and Tracer to Pharah, possibly due to better mobility. Sombra and Reaper sink down even further than S3 and are rarely seen, as whispers of kit weakness continues to haunt those heroes. The lack of Reaper is particularly interesting, as Ana and Tank nerfs should allow more play. However, the damage buffs to Roadhog seem to have made Reaper less popular.
Defense heroes reflect the meta changes, as Bastion becomes the most popular Defense hero, stemming from a stronger kit. Recon mode can rival Soldier for accuracy and damage, and sentry mode gets a survivability improvement with the new "Ironclad" passive. One asterisk and note with Bastion usage: I noticed a huge dip in bastion play after the "Ironclad" passive nerf from 35% damage reduction to 20%. Combined with players learning how to play around Bastion, his usage was around 35% for most tiers until around Thursday/Friday of last week, and now has sunk to 20%. While still strong, it is possible that Bastion's usage will continue to become more niche over time. Junkrat is still a favorite hero at Bronze and Silver; anecdotally his "cause chaos" playstyle likely still leads to solid success at those tiers. Widowmaker has also emerged at higher tiers with an big increase in pick rates at Grandmaster in particular. Given the increased prominence of more squishy heroes like Genji, Pharah, and Mercy, Widowmaker is a solid choice in the hands of extremely skilled players. Hanzo, Mei, and Torb continue to be niche picks, strong on some modes such as Assault.
Tanks continue to be a big part of the meta at all tiers of play. Reinhardt continue to be the most popular tank overall, as he continues to be the only real "main" tank in the game and the foundation of most team compositions. With the buffs to Bastion, it has become more common to see Mercy power boosting Bastion behind a Rein Shield. Off tanks continue to vary depending on tier. The nerfs to D.Va seem to continue to cause her to fall out of favor, with Zarya seeing much more play as a direct result. Zarya's ability as a utility tank is similar to D.Va, trading off mobility for potential damage and a strong ult to combo with emerging offensive heroes like Genji and Pharah. Roadhog continues to be quite strong and a solid pick whose skill cap is appreciated even more at higher tiers of play. Despite the nerfs to his hook, we see little change in usage of Roadhog. Winston continues to be the black sheep of the Tank family (though still picked in Dive team compositions), but with buffs to his shield and other hero changes on the PTR, it is entirely possible we will see his use rate increase in the future.
Support usage has changed greatly with the new season. The re-introduction of Bastion into the meta and the buff granting invincibility during ult has lead to a resurgence of Mercy, with a more than 10% increase in usage rate across all tiers. However, Ana remains incredibly strong and is still the most common support at higher tiers. Note that among Grandmaster players, she has a 97% usage rate, with extremely high usage rates at Master and Diamond as well. With nerfs to her rifle damage and grenade coming to PTR, it seems Blizzard may be attempting to remove some of her all-around utility. Time will tell how much those changes (if they make it to live) will affect her usage. The biggest loser in Season 4 so far has been Zenyatta. The increased usage rates for Mercy have nearly directly translated to a decline in Zen's usage from season (10% decrease across the tiers). Lucio is still very popular, as aura healing and speed boost is quite strong. Symmetra remains a niche pick despite the rework of her kit.