No matches

A new patch has hit PTR servers and another one has been announced on the PTR forums already. On top of introducing a new support hero in Baptiste, the intention seems to be to nerf the popular meta archetype “GOATS” or “3-3” which is made up of a combination of three tanks and three supports. Reinhardt, Zarya, D.Va, Lucio, Zenyatta and Brigitte are the most commonly played heroes in GOATS but Sombra and Winston often peppered in with some teams having their own flavor of the comp. It had been the dominant meta composition across contenders regions for over six months and has caught on in the Overwatch League too.

The community at large welcomed the PTR changes because they assumed it would kill GOATS dead. However, in response to Slasher’s potentially premature celebration of the comp’s demise, British Hurricane head coach KnOxXx commented on Twitter that he didn’t think it was quite enough yet.

In an effort to inject expert opinion on the PTR changes into common discourse and help get the patch we want for stage 2, I asked pundits for their opinions from a strictly theoretical standpoint. The question was simple: Is this patch a GOATS killer?

Harsha, coach of Vancouver Titans:

It’s early to say anything definitively, but I think the new patch has likely made GOATS ineffective. Combo plays can easily be countered by Baptiste and those are big win conditions for GOATS teams. Additionally, the Lucio changes mean that GOATS won’t be able to provide the same pressure as it did before, so newly-buffed Junkrat can provide more pressure by rotating constantly and continuing to spam projectiles at GOATS. Overall, it might still be effective in some specific places, but I think the new balance patch has at worst made GOATS more counterable and at best destroyed the composition entirely.

Sideshow, OWL broadcast analyst:

The changes to speed boost and discord orb seem to make this patch a GOATS-killer. Without the ability to speed around the map from cover to cover and engage quickly on a single target and burst them, GOATS should really suffer against anti-GOATS compositions like the Sombra Pharah.

If balanced anti-GOATs comps become a viable way of breaking the comp (rather than heavily unbalanced anti-GOATS comps like quad DPS which themselves are open to quick counters) then we cease to be in a rock-paper-scissors situation where rock is the most versatile of the three.

However it does seem likely to me that GOATS is still going to be viable on certain maps. King’s Row for example could still see a lot of it due to the snowball potential and tight corridors, or we may just shift into full-time Sombra GOATSs instead as teams become unable to play aggressively enough with normal GOATS to counter the EMP.

ioStux, head coach of Boston Academy:

It’s not immediate, but it might be. This patch is very dramatic, the amount of changes will lead to a lot of confusion and experimentation. When the patch comes out some teams will continue playing GOATS (maybe with slight variations like adding Baptiste) while others will experiment with new comps. Teams will have a lot of practice and experience on GOATS, while those experimenting will have to relearn certain characters and playstyles while jumping from one new comp and strategy to the next. The question is not if it kills GOATs, but if it’s enough motivation for teams to play other comps once GOATS is dead.

Good GOATS teams like Paris will keep playing at least some variations of GOATS. Teams like London who were very bad at GOATS will change back to comps they were good at. Meta doesn’t matter, but comfort and quick results will. It will take some time for a meta to establish once the patch comes out, and only then will we know whether GOATS is dead.

Peak, former coach of Dallas Fuel:

With the current patch on PTR (February 26th 2019), it wouldn’t change anything to be honest because Ana heal reduction is not that significant due to the amount of healing in general in GOATS. Other heroes doesn’t counter GOATS enough with the changes either.

With the PTR patch about to come I’m still a bit split because it rewards high skill with the nerfed heroes rather than flat out deleting the potential:

  • Lucio speed effect decreased by 10% is a huge kick in the gut to Lucio comps but doesn’t hurt Lucio himself since he receives a bump from 20% to 40% speed gained when wall riding. Speed amp at 50% is still strong around corners, you’d just not be able to do long speed amps. Strong and strict positioning will be rewarded while non-strict will most likely be punished.
  • Lucio nerf might cause more variety in comps where Lucio would not be needed anymore but it’s too early to say. If it does then you cannot counter speed with speed anymore. However, Lucio players that go for boops a lot will be stronger and can compensate for lacking speed.
  • Symmetra will shred shields with the 20% increased ramp dmg. 2/2/2 with Symmetra will be strong vs Reinhardt.
  • Zarya right click nerf doesn’t hurt you if you rely on left clicking, i.e it will hurt Sinatraa but not aKm or Carpe.
  • Zenyatta discord nerf is fair in my opinion because it allows teams a chance to recover from Brig stun discord combo but also punishes teams that don’t have the coordination to burst down targets in under a second with discord if stunned (i.e Philly without Boombox because of late discord applications). Jjonak will still frag out on Zen because the base damage is increased by 2 so now you get less reward for going Zen GOATS just because it’s meta even if you don’t play Zen normally w/ the team.

The new patch will destroy uncoordinated GOATS but I would say that a team such as Vancouver will most likely still play it because of how skilled each player is at their heroes and also well coordinated they are together (whether it is Rein or Winston GOATS).

If you think about it, the heroes that are changed are heroes that typically don’t work well in pro play such as Mei, Junkrat, Symmetra, Reaper or Doomfist (because of the set plays they need to get the same value as meta picks) but in ranked it’s a whole other story. Maybe this was a patch to bring a stop to weak GOATS with teams that will never play together again (i.e ranked) and get players back in because it’s practically a new fashion season for OW with this.

Féfé, coach of Paris Eternal and former coach for Eagle Gaming:

To be honest, I try to not think too much about next patch and focus on the actual patch and how to improve things for this stage. Of course Lucio and Zarya nerfs will affect tank compositions (not only GOATs comp), Zenyatta nerfs will only affect the game style of Tank vs Tank matchups as most of the time it’s better to play with Moira in Tank vs DPS matchup. The new hero could actually fit in both DPS and Tank oriented compositions depending of the map.

But before coming to any conclusions about something, I think it is mandatory to try things in scrims against competitive teams to see what comps could have some potential and if tanks comps are still playable.

Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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