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Overbuffs Season 2 Tier List

LoanWolf

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S Tier
(>=95% Usage Rate*): No one!

A Tier (>80% Usage Rate): No one!

B Tier (>50% Usage Rate): Zenyatta, Lucio, Zarya, McCree, Reinhardt, Winston

C Tier (>20% Usage Rate): Mercy(!), Genji, Tracer, Reaper

D Tier (>5% Usage Rate): Pharah, Roadhog, Mei, Ana, D.Va, Hanzo, Soldier 76

F Tier (<5 % Usage Rate): Junkrat, Widowmaker, Bastion, Torbjorn, Symmetra

*What is Usage Rate? For every match, I record the time spent on each hero and divide it by that match’s total time duration. Each of these Data points (a number from 0-1) are then summed across all sides of all matches, then divided by the total number of sides and converted to a percentage to produce a hero’s overall Usage Rate.

The Tier Ranges I’ve chosen** reflect different states of “Balance” in the Meta. This week, the Meta that is being analyzed is the Meta of 1 hero Limit, and Stopwatch Scoring for successful attacks on Payload Maps.

S TIER “THE OVERPOWERED HEROES”
Ding dong, the Lucio/Zenyatta-dominated Meta is dead – for a little while at least. Buffs to Mercy and nerfs to Lucio and Zenyatta have opened up room for the two other Healing supports in the opening weeks of Season 2, and understandably more Mercy and Ana means less Lucio and Zenyatta.

A TIER “THE CORE HEROES”
Surprisingly, there were no Heroes that fell into the 80-95% usage range this week, indicating that the Meta is in a state of heavy flux. Teams are in “high experimentation mode”, trying out many new strategies to feel out the impact of the buffs and nerfs that accompanied Season 2’s release. And they should – the Eleague tourney is just around the corner and $300,000 USD is up for grabs.

B TIER “THE FAVORITES”
Finally we reach the meat of the current Meta. These are the Heroes that just “make sense”, either due to their prior dominance or their superior mechanics and abilities. Pros gravitate to these Heroes when there are lots of unknowns, preferring to have a set “control group” of known Heroes to provide a base to experiment from. This allows them to control as many variables as possible to determine the absolute strength of the newly buffed or nerfed Heroes. Many times, one would see Lucio or Zenyatta paired with an Ana or a Mercy, but not with each other. McCree, with his flashbang, is always going to be a known quantity in his ability to set up kills or pick off flankers. Reinhardt, Zarya, and Winston all fit the mold as strong Tanks with game-changing ultimates – staples of lineups regardless of the current Meta.

C TIER “THE BALANCED HEROES”
Reports of Genji’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Despite the outcry of Genji mains upon seeing the drastic nerfs he received with Season 2’s release, Genji actually GAINED ground this week in usage relative to the Meta at the Atlantic Showdown LAN. Did Genji get a strong enough nerf? Or were his detractors correct in their assessment that his Deflect or Dash reset were the true source of his “OP” status? Tracer and Reaper held down their spots in the C Tier after receiving no nerfs or buffs, and everyone’s favorite maligned healer, Mercy, made her grand return to relevance this week, clocking in at a 43% overall usage rate. Welcome back, Doctor Ziegler.

D TIER “THE META DEPENDENT HEROES”
The D Tier was quite crowded this week, hinting further at the volatility of the current Meta. Notable appearances include Pharah, Soldier 76, Hanzo, and Mei following buffs to all of their kits. Out of this cohort, I personally expect to see much more of Mei and Ana in the future – the former for her insane capture point denial through her newly embiggened ultimate and the latter for her pivotal role in the “NiP” strategy, otherwise known as the “3x3” or Triple Support Triple Tank lineup. As for the rest, Pharah is weak to Soldier 76, Hanzo, and McCree up above in the B Tier, so only time will tell if Mercy’s boost in usage and Zenyatta’s Discord Orb nerf is enough to sustain her present usage rate.

F TIER “THE ‘EVEN SEASON 2 CANNOT SAVE YOU’ HEROES”
I don’t want to beat a dead horse with the “Defense” Heroes, but with Season 1 coming to a close and the first week of Season 2 behind us, they once again sit squarely at the bottom of the barrel. It’s no surprise either, none of the Heroes you see here received any sort of balancing as the seasons changed. One slight tweak to Mei’s kit was enough to save her – what’s stopping Blizzard from turning a couple knobs on Junkrat, Widowmaker, Bastion, Torbjorn? Poor Symmetra even had zero picks out of 101 sides, and over 18 hours of play time!

** I do not chose the placement of heroes in a Tier, only the Range which defines the Tier. By determining Usage Rate directly from hero Time Played in Tournament Matches, my data is Objectively determined, and not subjective at all.


SEASON 2: META BOOGALOO
NEW STRATEGIES
Long, long ago in a country far, far away (Finland), a team called Ninjas in Pyjamas had an idea. A crazy idea, an idea based on the release of Overwatch’s 22nd Hero, Ana. “What if,” an unnamed member of NiP said suddenly, in their secret ninja hideout, “What if we ran three Supports?”.

“No way, that’s crazy!!” the rest of the team exclaimed. “I mean Ana is great and all – her ultimate charge rate is through the roof, and Nano-boost is completely nutty, but one pick and you’re dead!”

“But wait, that’s only half of the plan”, said the unnamed player. “We run three Supports….and three Tanks!”

Thus, the NiP strat was born. The NiP strat, the 3x3 strat, the Triple Support Triple Tank strat – however you want to call it – consists of Ana, Zenyatta, and Lucio on Support and Reinhardt, Zarya, and Winston/Roadhog on Tank. The strategy revolves around Ana’s ability to generate Nano-boost extremely quickly by spamming heals on targets beefy enough to stand up to opposing team’s poke damage. Once she’s reached full charge – often far earlier than any other Hero – she cashes in her ultimate on Reinhardt or Winston to get early pick-offs and charge the rest of the team’s ultimates in turn. Each team fight then cycles back and forth – either the Tanks drop their ultimates or Ana has a Nano-boost ready to go. It’s greedy, it’s weird, and with the nerf to Zenyatta’s Discord Orb in Season 2 it has become strangely effective. Notably, Reason Gaming used the NiP strat to knock FaZe into the losers bracket in the Gosugamers EU weekly, and LuxuryWatch Red – a Korean team – used it to great success on their way to winning the Gosugamers NA weekly.

Pros don’t really know what to make of it. It’s such a strange lineup that simply by practicing its execution gimps your team in running traditional strategies – the ultimate charge generation timings and the general playstyle is simply too different to translate to “traditional” play. That’s part of the reason NiP’s name became attached to the lineup – they were known for playing the NiP lineup and only the NiP lineup; if they ever reverted to a traditional team composition their level of play significantly decreased. That said, the teams that have mastered it seem to enjoy the lineup – even if it’s only because it’s fresh, new, and most importantly: winning. The teams which have had to face it and lost are understandably upset*, and quick to label it as “The New Cancer”. It certainly does have echoes of the old 2xReaper/2xWinston/2xLucio “Cancer Comp” of old, but one cannot fault the flashy-ness of Ana-based multikills. Time will tell if the NiP strat will become the new “new”, or if NiP-specific counters will arise.
 
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