Let’s briefly discuss the state of the Overwatch meta at the pro level. If you watched Overwatch League Stage 2 playoffs, it’s obvious Overwatch GOATs is still the comp of choice for high level players. Despite Lucio’s speed nerf and multiple DPS character’s buffs back in March, the sustainability GOATs generates essentially negates any effectiveness of trying to run even one DPS character.
However, I do hope the latest patch released on the PTR has the potential to break the key components of GOATs.
Taking a look at this infographic provided by Lasnax on Reddit shows the only DPS character even worth mentioning is Sombra and this isn’t due to her damage output, but her ability to negate some of the healing abilities of the enemy team. Now, the main strength of Overwatch GOATs comes from AoE healing effects from Lucio and Brigitte (coupled with a timely Zenyatta ult) that can keep an entire team alive for huge durations of time.
The reason we see D.Va listed as the most played tank is because of the massive utility of her kit. With her thrusters, she can be almost anywhere on the map in the blink of an eye, and with her defense matrix she can swallow a bunch of damage as well as enemy ultimates which assists the already extremely potent AoE healing from this comp.
The newest patch offers two massive nerfs to these strengths. The first, which I believe is the biggest, is the decrease of D.va defense matrix from 15 meters to 10 meters. The matrix was already nerfed back in March with a higher cooldown rate, now D.Va players have to be even more precise with their matrix use as they cannot protect their teammates from as far away. This opens up a lot more room for enemy teams to slip ultimates by her, but the biggest winner of this nerf has got to be Ana.
Ana undoubtedly has the best anti-goats kit in the game with her biotic grenade which can deny enemy units to heal, especially when the whole team is grouped up around a Lucio and Brigitte. The problem in the past was that a D.Va defense matrix could swallow her grenade easily. Now, while the matrix can still swallow Ana’s grenades, it becomes much harder for D.Va to protect her team from it and the matrix becomes a more personal defensive mechanism for D.Va. Seagull stated a long time ago that soft counters are what this game is lacking.
I believe this is the perfect balance for D.Va’s ability to protect her entire team. This newest update ensures that D.Va will have to be near perfectly positioned to still get the maximum utility out of her matrix, because when she is not there is now plenty of room for Ana nades, as well as many other powerful abilities, to wreak havoc on her team.
The second biggest nerf to GOATs comes in with the increased fire rate for McCree.
— calvin (@aimbotcalvin) May 24, 2019
This little clip from aimbotcalvin is a testament to how quickly McCree can pick off squishy characters now. As I just mentioned there are many more gaps now for characters to get shots by a D.Va matrix. McCree gets a double buff in this way as he has one less defensive ability to worry about (as much). Sure, in the heat of battle McCree will still have to shoot at moving targets, around enemy Reinhardt shields and other obstacles; but we can see just how quickly a talented McCree can expose enemies and punish them for being out of position.
Now, whether or not any of these updates actually kill Overwatch GOATs will remain to be seen. It’s more likely that GOATs will remain the dominant comp but there will be more availability for counter-comps. We also know that pros have been playing GOATs for a while now and have essentially perfected the playstyle.
However, I am hopeful that the nerf to D.Va’s defense matrix begins to create openings for other characters to punish exposed enemies, especially when they’re all grouped up around a Lucio/Brig comp. Only time will tell, but let me know what you think! Will GOATs finally see gaps in it’s armor? Or is the sustainability that GOATs offers as it’s main strength still going to be the best playstyle in the game?