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Overwatch: In-Depth Breakdown of Game-Changing Halloween Patch

Overwatch

Another day, another Overwatch patch. Blizzard just released Overwatch’s 2019 Halloween update. Of course, there’s the usual abundance of new skins but that’s not the focus of today’s discussion. Instead, I’m going to run you through all of the balance changes and breakdown exactly what they mean for each hero.

D.Va

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The core issue that’s caused Double Shield was its lack of competition. Rather than Orisa and Sigma being particularly strong, it’s more accurate to say no other tank combination is any good. To tackle this issue Blizzard has made buffing dive a priority.

D.Va gets a nice quality of life buff to her Defense Matrix. It now charges quicker and has a smaller cooldown before its regen triggers. This might not seem a big deal but remember, D.Va’s strength lies in her Defense Matrix. The ability to absorb most cooldowns and ultimates is extremely powerful.

However, this won’t bring her back to either her GOATs or Dive meta state. D.Va still suffers from that 2-second cooldown between Matrix usage. It’s relatively easy to play around if you know what you’re doing. At the very least, this buff should help D.Va be a strong pick within dive compositions but likely won’t impact her elsewhere.

Orisa

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Orisa is undoubtedly Overwatch’s most overtuned tank. She has access to anti-CC, incredible sustainability, and a 900 health deployable shield. Her shield cooldown actually got increased from 8 to 9 seconds not too long ago. It appears Blizzard underestimated just how good her shield is. Another second nerf brings it up to 10 seconds between each deployment.

This change should make shield break compositions more viable versus Orisa centric compositions. Bunker gets a huge nerf and is likely to suffer even more so than Double Shield. As for the double shield set up, it’s certainly weaker. However, it’s difficult to say if this alone is enough. After all, players still have to find a way to burn through two barriers every fight.

Roadhog

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A fairly self-explanatory buff. More ammo equals more effective damage and more shield break potential. Given the meta’s desperate need for some better shield break, this is a good buff.

Roadhog actually gets another buff listed under Sigma’s section too. His hook ability is no longer blocked by Kinectic Grasp. With better shield break, more effective damage and a way to punish Sigma’s mistakes, Roadhog could be fairly strong.

Sigma

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Mr. Oppressive himself gets some much needed nerfs across the board. As just mentioned, Kinetic Grasp no longer blocks Roadhog’s hook. Brigitte can now Whip Shot through it too. This gives Brigitte a new way to trigger Inspire although it won’t do much to help her overall state. Unfortunately, the Role Queue patch wasn’t kind to her and she still lacks a practical niche in any composition.

The most oppressive part of Sigma’s kit was his ability to shove his shield in your face. It made life very difficult for ranged hitscan who could be isolated out of the game. Having his barrier regen slower and having a forced cooldown between deploys is a nice change. It should make Sigma players have to think more about how they use his shield. Previously, Sigma was impossible to push. Now punishing Sigma’s positional mistakes should be far easier, as it should be in Overwatch.

Winston

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It’s easy to forget Winston still exists. Outside of niche dive GOATs compositions, he hasn’t seen meta play in a long time. In double shield especially, Winston is a practical throw pick. Whilst he deals well with Sigma and Orisa, he gets wrecked by both meta DPS (Reaper and Doomfist).

The barrier health increase won’t help in diving a team but should help him punish individual errors. Divable targets like Ana or Zenyatta should be very scared of this buff. Winston’s buff also couples well with D.Va’s quality of life improvement. It’s hard to say if Dive is back but it’s certainly in a better state than we’ve seen in a long time.

Baptiste

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I’d argue this is an unnecessary nerf but I get the idea behind it. Immortality Field can be considered a little oppressive for flankers and heroes that are ultimate dependent. Having what boils down to a second life on cooldown can easily be considered overkill. Baptiste’s Field should still remain a very good ability but this nerf will make the timing of deployment more important.

Lucio

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Less of a buff and more of a rework to a previous state. Lucio has had his speed boost for both Amp and Crossfade increased. Lucio players will probably notice this is fairly similar to his pre-GOATs kit. Wall Ride has been slowed down to counteract buffs to his other abilities.

Bringing back the team-oriented style Lucio should help Rein-Zarya tank compositions a lot. They struggled with engaging onto enemies but that extra bit of speed could make the difference. It also helps them be less vulnerable to shield break and spam characters like Junkrat and Bastion.

Mercy

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Most people probably didn’t even realize this wasn’t already a thing. I certainly didn’t. It brings into question the value of Valkyrie in Double Shield if it genuinely never healed through barriers. Mercy wasn’t a meta support but she was regarded as an okay pick. At the very least, she coped better than Ana and Zenyatta ever did. Overall, a minor quality of life tweak that makes her ultimate that slight bit more impactful.

Moira

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At last, the best main support in Overwatch gets a long-overdue nerf. Moira’s lack of utility may hold her back but her sheer damage and healing output are more than enough. Rather than directly nerfing her damage, Blizzard has chosen to weaken her self healing from Biotic Grasp. This decrease in sustain should make dueling certain DPS characters very difficult.

Characters that rely on overtime damage rather than burst damage will benefit most from this change. Think Soldier 76, Tracer and Sombra. This shouldn’t affect her ability to brawl burst DPS much at all. She already struggled against the likes of Hanzo, McCree, and Reaper.

Doomfist

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If Sigma is Mr. Oppression, Doomfist is the Deity of Oppression. His ability to kill quickly and escape with his crowd control centric makes for a horrible match up. Slam, upper-cut, bang-bang, punch out. I see that combo in my nightmares. If there’s a character I am thrilled to see nerfed, it’s this dude.

Increasing Rocket Punch’s charge time makes it far harder to chain mid-fight. It also gives Overwatch’s lower mobility heroes more time to reposition to a safer spot before he unleashes it. This won’t affect his ability to engage or disengage since he doesn’t need to charge up for that.

Lowering Doomfist’s shields gained is a common-sense nerf. If he landed any big combos on just about anything, he became near impossible to kill. Most frustratingly, even a point-blank McCree flash right-click wasn’t guaranteed to kill him. Lowering his shield should make it easier to punish overly aggressive Doom players.

Sombra

At first glance, this looks like a nerf but it’s actually a nice little buff. At the cost of a longer cooldown, Sombra’s Translocator is now always on cooldown. This means that if you have a Translocator deployed, the timer to use another one will be constantly ticking down.

In practice, this helps Sombra’s playstyle flow far better. There’s now little to no downtime waiting for cooldowns before getting into the fight. She now has access to a double jump of sorts too. By teleporting to your Translocator as it comes off cooldown, you can throw another one straight away. Obviously, any kind of mobility buff is huge in Overwatch.

Symmetra

It might be controversial for me to say but I think this was unnecessary. Of course, Symmetra is very strong but I’d argue only as a result of the meta. If double shield gets weaker, Symmetra does too. She relied on the abundance of shields to charge up her beam. Not only is her beam now weaker, but there’s likely to be fewer shields in active play.

The nerf to her ultimate feels empty at best. I’m not sure how big of a difference it will make in the long run. I will agree that her turrets felt too strong given their lock-on nature. As far as I’m concerned, this patch leaves Symmetra in a poor spot. I’d be surprised to see her played much outside of Hanamura and Ilios, Lighthouse going forward.

Tracer

It’s amazing how a single change can make such a big difference. Tracer getting her damage falloff increased is a bigger deal than many realize. Her highly consistent, fast-firing weapons really only had one hard weakness. Their general lack of effective range.

This buff amends this to make her a solid mid-range DPS rather than a close range mobility specialist. Of course, her fragile nature remains a key part of keeping her in check. This change might just be enough to get Overwatch players back on the Tracer train. Especially if Dive comes back into the meta like many analytics are predicting.