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The new season is live and the PTR patch has been deployed to live servers. With it come significant balance changes, many seemingly targeting the imposing nature of the composition we know as GOATS. With many changes directly buffing theoretical counters of GOATS as well some of its crucial abilities like speed boost, we may soon be welcoming a new meta.

I set out to ask experts what they expect the next meta to be. It’s important to remember that the amount of scrims played on the current patch is not substantial enough to have hard reads on the new meta, but it might be indicative to the direction the teams will be researching towards. It’s also worth noting that it would be foolish for any of the coaches to go into real depths and reveal their detailed thoughts. A lot of the experts speculate on map dependency of new and old compositions and that GOATS will still bring strong situationally.

Since the audience craves novelty, the question I set out to answer was to the point:

What comes after GOATs and which strategies or meta archetypes do you think will be strong?

Reinforce, former player and analyst

I think following the triple tank, triple support meta, we now need to find new consistent and all-around great heroes to start building the new predominant compositions from. I’m primarily looking at Sombra, given her strength against all types of compositions. People murmur about the continuation of GOATS, or Orisa bunker compositions featuring Baptiste and Junkrat, but with Sombra already starting to see play in the Overwatch League and GOATS receiving a nerf, we might see even more of her, and ultimately, establish a new meta building compositions around her.

Sombra’s high fight win percentage when using EMP, and her ability to disable crucial heroes in all kinds of compositions, while herself fitting into most, will make for a great brick to start building from. I’m hoping to see more high tempo, dive gameplay with Sombra, but whether she’ll ultimately have the highest pick rate I can’t tell, but in my mind she’s the greatest obstacle for any potential new compositions.

Andante, analyst for Vancouver Titans

If we think about it simply in terms of the nerfs to Lucio and Zayra, we might expect Mercy-Zenyatta, which is chosen with Widowmaker or McCree. In addition, there is a positive aspect that we may consider the revival of the rush comp. With the rush comp at the center, we will also see Junkrat or McCree playing on a particular map. After people heard that Brigitte’s Shield Bash would be nerfed, people said Brigitte and GOATS would be hard to see anymore. But since pros have flexibly to deal with it and have improved the completeness of GOATS, we will have to watch it more clearly after the patch is complete. With the fall of GOATS, many experiments are sure to be done with the addition of a new hero named Baptiste. It’s time to welcome ‘rock, paper, scissors’ back about the comps.

CWoosH, coach for Eternal Academy

I have a feeling GOATS will still be viable on certain maps, where you can turtle. Moira GOATS will still be strong, especially with the buffed Moira heal just to sustain against a DPS comp. There is no need for Zen if there is no shield to spam. I think in general though we might see more DPS, I have a feeling triple dps could creep back into the meta

Curryshot, strategic coach for Mayhem Academy

Sombra plus Soldier seem good right now. Orisa comps feel very nice as well. Monkey also feels insanely strong after the armor changes. I’m not too sure on the meta as a whole, since we don’t play on live patch until playoffs end of April but snipers can also be strong on Junkertown etc. So hopefully there will be more variety in terms of DPS but realistically will be completely map dependent.

Obasill, coach for the Washington Justice

I expect ‘Bunker’ to be the next dominant comp. When I first saw Baptiste’s kit I thought of him being a good fit in bunker comps because of his strong AOE healing and long range potential. The Invulnerability Field is able to counter the old way of dealing with the bunker comps which was hard Dive. On top of that Hanzo, Soldier 76, Junkrat, Mcree, Orisa, Widow, and Zenyatta all received significant buffs. Some buffs being added utility but the amount of raw damage increases means we’re going to see a lot more of those heroes.

I see the meta settling into what we saw last season of OWL, dive on attack and bunker on defense wherever applicable. The difference from last season being the heroes in those compositions. And while I agree GOATS will be weaker it still has its place on certain maps or phases. However I anticipate for the community to overreact to the nerfs and people be generally unwilling to make GOATS work in this new meta.

Peak, former coach of Dallas Fuel:

It’s hard to say what will come after GOATS because it’ll not only be map dependent but also dependent on team preference. I don’t think that GOATS will die because the healing will still be strong enough to play it on maps with narrow LoS around sharp corners (i.e King’s Row). We’ll still see more diversity in the sense that teams have more freedom to play to their strengths. Here’s just a few of the archetypes I think we’ll see:

A punishing composition with Mercy buffing projectiles from heroes such as Ashe, Ana and Junkrat. The archetype would rely on set plays by arming chokes/points of interest for the attacking team and would have a lot of flexibility on DPS slots while tanks depend on the map itself.

As I understood the Mercy change, damage amplified projectiles will remain amplified once they’ve been fired, meaning that you can arm locations with pre-buffed mines and add set nades as well as dynamites. This would be strong to defend with since you can actually prepare the set plays compared to when you’re attacking.

More Wreckingball mobility compositions with Sombra hacking health packs. Sombra will be hacking minis around points of interests and it’ll be easy to keep all heroes alive. Suitable for maps with wide LoS angles and flanks around big corners (think Hollywood, Eichenwalde, Gibraltar etc).

Double sniper for open and flat maps like Junkertown. GOATS won’t work on maps like those because of how easy it is to flank and due to speed boost being nerfed. Less GOATS also means less barriers to block the snipers.

We won’t see as much Phara Mercy and bunker comps as people may think because Lucio won’t be able to survive with less speed vs Tracers (which in turn kills your Winston) and Baptiste’s ultimate completely counters bunker comps.

Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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