1. Return of Dive 1.0 Equals More Enjoyable Viewing
The nerfing of Mercy leads to the return of the classic 2/2/2 composition that relies heavily on aggressive, quick burst team fights. This will lead to more decisive team fight wins as well as faster completion of maps. We aren’t saying the team fights during the first stage were boring; it’s just that no thanks to the Mercy Valkyrie + Double Res strat, skirmishes tend to be long-drawn battles of attrition that relies more on timing and coordination than raw skill. While folks who understand the game appreciates this highly complex approach, those who are new to Overwatch may be turned-off. The impactful, Dive 1.0 will be more casual-viewer-friendly leading to increased viewership for the league.
2. Resurgent Seoul back in the Mix
We saw Seoul struggle with Mercy towards the latter stages of Stage 1 as both their main supports, Ryujehong and Tobi were more adept with Lucio, Zenyatta and Ana. Not to say that they aren’t competent on Mercy, but the prolonged fights during the Mercy meta does not work in Seoul’s favor tactically. The compulsory Mercy pick also robbed them off the opportunity to operate at optimum level in terms of team composition as Tobi and Ryujehong, both known as the Boop & Ana Gods respectively weren’t able to fully utilize their skillset. We’ve seen the Seoul Dynasty boys (back then as Lunatic-Hai) most dominant during Dive 1.0 meta, with Ryujehong on Ana popping off with clutch moves and the rest of his team outplaying their opponents with a variety of trick plays so expect them to return to dominance during Stage 2 which as mentioned in Point 1, reverts back to the 2/2/2 composition.
3. Shanghai Dragons nets Two Wins
We’ve seen drastic improvements from the Dragons heading into Weeks 4 and 5 of Stage 1 and with the inclusion of four new team members, the team is now stronger. While there are doubts as whether communication will become an issue, the improvement of overall mechanical skill will bring at least two wins for the Dragons in Stage 2. Against which teams you ask? Well if we have to put our money on it, it’s gonna be the Mayhem and Gladiators. Both teams while are stronger on paper, are the least consistent and most predictable due to their smaller rosters.
4. The Return of Zarya
With resurrection going out of style, teams will focus more on not getting eliminated, resulting in players using characters who are able to sustain longer during fights. Roadhog’s breather ability will make him a staple pick on most control maps while Orisa’s shield is useful on escort maps. However it’s Zarya’s ability to shield-bubble herself and her teammates make her a must pick come Stage 2. The current meta which sees tons of Junkrate picks will also favor Zarya as it serves as a quick farming avenue. Expect to see a combination of her and Winston bubble shields, perhaps supported with an Orisa barrier which primarily serve to nullify burst damage make waves during Stage 2. D.Va’s inability to block Zarya’s primary fire (Particle Cannon Beam) may also affect her pick rate resulting in lesser D.Va Bombs, and replaced with Graviton Surges.
5. Moira Meta
The drop in Mercy picks coupled with the reintroduction of Dive 1.0 and its potential corresponding counter, the Quad Tank approach will result in the rise in stock for Moira. Known for her burst healing potential as well as high mobility, Moira will be highly used by teams who are tank-heavy in their picks to nullify the burst damage threat from the 2/2/2 comp. We’ve seen glimpses of her usage during Stage 1 in tank-heavy, overtime pushes and when shielded by a huge meat wall in front of her, is a pain to deal with. The rise in Ana picks will also fuel to the Moira meta as she gets more freedom to operate aggressively in a barrier-ridden meta.
6. Welcome to the Junkrat Jungle
Despite his minor nerf, Junkrat will remain very relevant in Stage 2 thanks to the combination of his mobility, burst damage and the slower, tankier picks in the meta. On the defensive side, his grenades and mines will play a pivotal role in whittling down the enemies’ shields and barriers while when on offense, focuses on the squishier targets such as the backline or the flanking Genjis and Tracers.
Of course all the points listed above are just speculations and educated guesses based what we’ve learned during Stage 1 as well as taking into account the latest update to the game. Changes in Overwatch always carry a ripple effect that affects the game in so many ways so we may be well off the mark once Stage 2 gets underway.
Stage 2 kicks off next week, 23rd February 2018 and with the transfer window now open, you can keep track of the players movements here.