Something different is happening in Overwatch League as off-tank players are stepping into the spotlight in a totally new way.
Consider the statistics for the winners of Player of the Match in the latter half of the recent Summer Showdown, weeks 21 and 22. These are the most recent block of matches played without hero pools that we have data for.
As you would expect, damage players make up the majority of the Players of the Match across these matches, at 61% of award winners. What is surprising is that in about a third of the matches, 31%, the Player of the Match was an off-tank. In week 21, off-tanks were named Player of the Match more often than Damage players.
These stats are even more remarkable when you consider that there are two Damage players per team and only one off-tank. There are several reasons that help to explain this new trend.
The heroes being played
One reason why could be that the heroes being played are to make game-changing plays. The kind of plays that make someone Player of the Match material.
Sigma has been the most talked about for the players earning the award, and it is not hard to understand why. With his high damage output combined with a versatile kit, enabling him to cancel or even absorb enemy ultimates. Sigma’s Gravitic Flux ultimate can be combined with damage ultimates like Dragonblade and Deadeye to create hugely impactful combos.
After seeing almost constant play in the Season 2 GOATs meta, the use of Zarya had dropped off recently. Shifts in the meta have brought the hero back into fashion, leading to Damage player’s like LA Gladiator’s Gia Huy “Chris” “MirroR” Trịnh and London Spitfire’s Joon-yeong “Profit” Park temporarily moving over to the tank position to reprise their role as their team’s Zarya player.
These heroes are given their chance to shine in a meta that suits them well. Double shield compositions built around Sigma have been consistently strong throughout this season. The new brawling style of play helps both Zarya and Sigma to play where they are best, in the middle of the action dealing huge damage and scoring crucial kills.
So why is this important?
This trend was most noticeable during the weeks with no hero pools, there were much fewer off-tanks earning Player of the Match in the hero pools weeks of the Countdown Cup.
We are likely to see a similar meta in the final weeks of the Countdown Cup. Once hero pools are removed for the next matches, expect double shield and Zarya compositions to get played a lot. This is a meta that will give talented off-tank players lots of opportunities to make game-altering plays.
Keep an eye on the off-tanks as you watch the next few weeks of Overwatch League. They are sure to make an impact.