written by SleepyBeyond
When it was announced this week on Twitter by Overwatch League commissioner Nat Nanzer that Stage 4 would be played on patch v1.22, a patch that was live for only a few days, fans and players were not exactly ecstatic. They had good reason to be unsure about this announcement. Nanzer stated the decision was due to a possible bug on the latest patch involving resuming an escort match after a pause or disconnect which they were unable to fix in time for Stage 4. While some fans thought this wasn’t the strongest reason, the decision went through anyway. So, on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Gladiators faced the San Francisco Shock, they battled on the older v1.22 patch.
It should be noted that up until the announcement players were playing on the live patch. They were used to the Brigitte and Hanzo changes that were shown to have a significant effect on gameplay. Brigitte in the new patch took a slight nerf to her shield bash, but as she was already such a strong hero, many fans felt she’d be a must pick making the games less diverse. The Hanzo changes in the new v1.23 patch were huge. He no longer had his scatter arrow ability and instead had the new storm arrows which allowed players to fire much more rapidly.
During the gameplay displayed before the beginning of Stage 4 of the Overwatch League, fans were pleasantly surprised. Instead of seeing team compositions that fed into Brigitte’s abilities and sought to build around her, there have instead been a wide variety of interesting and engaging compositions shown. Brigitte did not become a must pick hero as was predicted by many. The adjustment for Hanzo players did prove difficult as the stage began at the Blizzard Arena, giving viewers a good chuckle as the pro players had to unlearn what they had learned in playing the newest patch.
Now it’s time for some lower level speculation. I’m not a pro player, but in every game I had played on the v1.22 patch, Brigitte compositions reigned supreme. So, why didn’t this occur at the professional level? According to my own research into the matter, the lack of those massive changes to Hanzo are really what’s driving the diversity in team compositions at the pro level right now. I’m not the only one that feel this way either. Popular Overwatch League analyst Brennon Hook agrees that the Hanzo changes not making in to Stage 4 has contributed to the mixture of team compositions we are seeing. It appears the fan’s fears were misdirected. Instead of fearing the supreme reign of Brigitte, it’s Hanzo that runs the Season 10 competitive scene. For the professionals, Brigitte can be dealt with and played around while the new Hanzo has proven to be a more difficult challenge.
Seeing the differences in team compositions that were played during the first few days of Stage 4, I look forward to watching future games and seeing if this pattern continues. Perhaps even the professional players will fall into the meta that captured many of us in the beginning. So far so good, I’m sure it’ll be an exciting season for everyone involved!