Overwatch League Stage 2: New Stage, New Patch, New Meta?

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Overwatch League Stage 2: New Stage, New Patch, New Meta?

Aidan Fort

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With Stage 1 behind us, we turn our sights to Stage 2 and what it may bring. As with every stage/season change before, with another stage comes another meta and we all are hoping and praying that those dastardly GOATS fall off the face of the planet.

Stage 2 will be played on patch 1.34, one that sees changes come to well over half the roster of heroes as well as the introduction of newcomer Baptiste. The question now is: what will all these changes cause in the meta?

Taking every change in mind, we’ll go through various possible major players in the composition battle that will certainly take place in the first weeks of Stage 2.

GOATS: Not that Dead? (85% Chance)

Hate to be the bringer of bad news, but GOATS may not be as dead as we all may think. Though many of the new changes were made with the intention of kicking the composition to the curb, enough may not have been done and it will probably still be played.

While nerfs to several of its attributed parts did come in the form of Speed amp being decreased, Discord Orb doing less, and Zarya overall dealing less damage, the comp is still viable in many places. With no major nerf coming at Brig, who in many people’s eyes is the one hero that makes the comp so strong, the overall strength of 3-3 is still up there in contention with other possible strong compositions.

In addition, a change that has gone under the radar of some is the change to how knockback abilities interact with other heroes in that now it’s consistent across the board in terms of distance and elevation regardless of the hero receiving the “boop”. Now, why would this change matter much in GOATS? Well, funnily enough, the two foundational characters in the comp, Brig and Lucio, actively disrupt positioning with their flail/soundwave abilities. It is now easier to knock Rheins into the other team, yes, but it also allows them to keep other more divey comps off of them, meaning 3-3 is less susceptible to heroes such as Wrecking Ball and Doomfist.

And don’t think we’ve forgotten about Baptiste, as he can easily be put into the comp as his immortality field helps bolster an already brawly comp and give them massive amounts of sustain with that ability active. Although, it may not be recommended.

All in all, though we may want these farm animals to just leave us alone, it probably will not be the case in Stage 2 and expect it to still be readily run.

BUNKER: Hold Down the Fort! (70% Chance)

The comp that will see the biggest boost in playtime due to this patch is most certainly going to be Bunker comps. With buffs coming to its major players in Orisa, Junkrat, and various range-based heroes expect teams to start running the stationary poke comp more frequently. With overall more damage coming out of the Rat and Orisa being less immobile, Bunker comps will be able to more easily hold their ground and pump out the damage needed to contest any GOATS that are run.

Baptiste’s introduction to the game also helps make these compositions more viable as his immortality field helps defend against rush downs and ult-combos from aggressing teams. While before a GOATS comp could just run over an Orisa-based hold, Baptiste’s field now can help sustain the team long enough to get out the necessary damage to fend off any form of a rush.

The knockback change, as well, can help the comp fend off diving opponents as Junkat’s mines are also a part of the change and with his increased damage can really dissuade any smaller health pool targets from running in.

Overall, the viability of Bunker comps will see a jump and will most likely be a common lineup ran by teams.

DIVE: To the Backline! (50% Chance)

Dive comps are in an interesting place coming into Stage 2 as though they are often seen as counters to any form of Bunker comps and are often the default fallback for many teams, the changes that have come through do not do much to encourage their play.

Many of the changes buff sustainability, long-range poke, or knockback, all things that Dive comps do not want to deal with. Immortality field, in particular, helps heavily combat any dive as it can be used to prevent a backline from being instantly melted down and allow them to escape or brawl their way out. While slightly more effective against a GOATS composition, Dive comps will struggle to crack a Bunker comp, something that is was often used for in the past.

With this in mind, it will definitely see extensive playtime as many teams in the League are most comfortable playing with that style, however, it will most likely not be the top comp in use as it is not as strong as it was in the past.

QUAD DPS: That’s a lot of Damage (20% Chance)

A Quad-DPS composition is really just an attempt at a countermeasure to GOATS, therefore if GOATS isn’t run then its reasonable to believe that Quad-DPS will not be run much either. If attempted against a Bunker comp it would quickly find that it is outclassed even if it has high amounts of sheer damage. If GOATS truly dies as many hope, then the assumption that Quad-DPS dies with it is a safe one to make.

DOUBLE SNIPER: Twice the Range, Double the Poke (15% Chance)

Its short stint towards the end of Season 1 proved it to be a viable comp to run in certain situations. However, if run now it will quickly find that it lacks the poke damage necessary to break a GOATS comp or even out-damage a Bunker as though Widow and Hanzo are great in their own right, they will never be able to spam harder than a Junkrat and whatever his DPs partner may be.

The one leg up they will always have, though, is one of range as if the opposing team incorrectly plays sight-lines, the snipers could find some value. Double-sniper is unlikely to have extensive playtime but could be busted out if extremely long sight-lines are concerned and GOATS is not the team comp it’s being played into.

2-2-2: Comp 6-Stacks (10% Chance)

While technically most comps that aren’t GOATS at this point in time are essentially just 2-2-2, this category title is focused specifically on any composition that fits under the umbrella but does not already find itself as a part of a previous “meta”. Talking the death-ball comps that involve comps one would typically find when playing on the competitive ladder. Things such as Soldier and Reaper alongside Rhein, Zarya, Lucio, and Ana or a Rhein D.va with Pharah and McCree, just anything that appears “standard“ to the community but cannot be defined as “Bunker”, “Dive”, etc.

Truthfully, compositions like these will likely find little playtime as they are never really specialized and are easily beat out by other established “meta” comps. Unless the League finds itself in a place where anything can work, “Ladder Comps” if ever picked, will have difficulty getting much done in most situations.

CHEESE: Finely Aged Dairy (15% Chance)

Understand that several “cheese” compositions can actually fall under the “Bunker” category, but because of their limited use and viability, giving them their own section felt right. Compositions that involve heroes like Torb, Bastion, and Sym are really the ones included under this blanket of dairy comps. Torb and Bastion specifically could see some use as they can both be used in tandem with Junkrat.

Torbjorn can be good against GOATS when built around and when put alongside the Australian grenadier, you end up with a very non-divable comp is played correctly. A comp with Bastion at its core can also be effective as now with Immortality Field it’s much easier to keep the glass-cannon that is Bastion up and running when a major dive/rush comes your way.

Due to their limitation in mobility and counters galore, it’s unlikely comps like these will see much use, but they can certainly be used in niche situations slightly more than before.

Were all the common possible Stage 2 compositions covered? No, of course not. But what was are the most likely candidates to be seen often during it. While things like Beyblade and Solo-Queue comps are fun to think about, it’s highly unlikely those ever see much play in Stage 2, hence their exclusion from extensive analysis.

The top three candidates for playtime are Bunker, GOATS, and Dive and it’s very likely that they are cycled during matches in a rock-paper-scissorsesque style and will be based upon the composition of the opposing team. Only time will tell if the patch change will heavily impact the League meta allowing a wide variety of comps or if the farm animal will continue to reign supreme.

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