D.Va, Mercy, and Widow have dominated OWL — but come the final, all bets are off
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D.Va, Mercy, and Widow have dominated OWL — but come the final, all bets are off

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Over the two weeks of Overwatch League playoffs, the competing teams have formed the meta in which Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire are going to battle for the title of the first season’s champion. Heroes like D.Va and Mercy are still a must-pick, but both finalists have a few of their own unorthodox hero choices. Let’s take a look at the most popular picks and the players who’ve been willing to opt for something else.

Overwatch League’s deciding matches are being played on Patch 1.25, which hasn’t really affected the heroes that dominated the second half of the regular season. Symmetra is a hero that could've shaken up the meta: her old version was in play for a total of two minutes throughout the season, but the rework has the second-best win rate in matchmade games. However, OWL disabled her in the playoffs, citing insufficient time in competitive play for the teams to have practised the hero. This was also the reason Brigitte was unavailable in Stage 3 of the league.

Tanks normally go for the D.Va/Winston combo, ending with heroes that can quickly get across the front line and reach the supports or the objectives with ease. The two heroes go well together with the dive strategy, which is still ever prevalent in Overwatch.

Zarya/Reinhardt are an interesting but much less popular tank duo for teams who prefer to rely on team-wide and personalized protection.

Snipers have become a big part of the meta. Every team in the playoffs except Los Angeles Gladiators have used Widowmaker for over 46 percent of their total playing time. For Philadelphia Fusion, the figure is 64%, and  the finalists are also big fans of Hanzo, at 49 percent. The update he got ahead of the OWL playoffs enables him to spam even more arrows and dash in mid-air. though he's already getting snipped in 1.26.

Close-range DPS heroes are currently on the wane: only Tracer has made it to the top 5 most popular heroes across all roles. She was picked over 50 percent of the time, except in the hands of Philadelphia Fusion and Boston Uprising with their double-sniper comps. Some teams have continued to use Genji, but even with them, he didn’t stick around for more than 24 percent of playing time.

Another second-DPS option (besides the almost obligatory Widowmaker) is not to pick one at all. Instead, Brigitte is often used as a third tank. Added in 1.21, she turned out to be a very powerful hero who heals, shields, and pushes enemies away. It’s precisely Brigitte who’s left no space for close-range DPS. Even the nerfs to her armor and shield haven’t been able to stop her.

Overwatch League has one staple support combo: Mercy/Zenyatta. Still the fastest healer, Mercy can also resurrect an ally every 30 seconds. Zenyatta can heal too, and he also increases the damage taken by an enemy. The hero used to struggle against close-range DPS, but those are barely ever picked anymore.

Why everything may change in the final

Park "DayFly" Jeong-hwan virtually never uses any of the main support heroes. He has appeared on Roadhog, Bastion and Lúcio — the latter was a much rarer pick than Mercy in the playoffs. He’s the team’s bench player whose unorthodox hero pool will come in handy if the customary heroes don’t do the trick.

Isaac "Boombox" Charles keeps using Moira. Biotic Grasp no longer penetrating barriers in 1.25 has not deterred the team’s main support. He’s always enjoyed the hero’s great healing; she also allows Alberto "neptuNo" González Molinillo to go for Lúcio instead of Mercy.

Kim "SADO" Su-min and Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee play Orisa a lot, tough they’ve been using her somewhat less often than Winston, who’s usually mandatory with D.Va. Orisa is valued for her utility and control; she pulls enemies, slows them down, reduces their armor, and shields her teammates.

Choi "Bdosin" Seung-tae regularly picks DPS heroes instead of supports. He was fielded in three playoff matches out of five, and spent some time playing Tracer in each. In the first quarterfinal set again Los Angeles Gladiators, he even picked Reaper. Granted, Bdosin got no kills, but the majority of supports would never experiment like that in the first place.

Ahead of the Overwatch League final, the meta has become static, but there are one or two alternate hero picks for each role. Those are mostly used by bench players; both teams’ reliance on their expanded rosters has paid off. Unorthodox set pieces are likely to decide the outcome of the final — provided, of course, that Gael "Poko" Gouzerch doesn’t pull off another 100 executions / 7 deaths performance.

Winston’s Lab data was used in this article
original article by: Denis "Ethrealin" Matusovskiy

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