Overwatch's newest hero, Doomfist, rocket punches his way onto the game's live servers today. To help me analyze his strengths, weaknesses, and potential place in the meta, I chatted with four top Overwatch pros: and from Immortals, one of the world's biggest teams; , a DPS specialist from the team Arc 6; and , a free agent formerly part of Selfless Gaming's squad.
Doomfist can put out a lot of damage with his Rocket Punch, which is bound to right click. You hold down the button to charge it up, and let go to launch forward and pummel an enemy in the face. It does huge damage—up to 250 if you knock the enemy you're punching into a wall—so it can one-shot a lot of heroes and put a big dent in tanks.
Rocket Punch is versatile, too. It's good for tracking down retreating foes, and its knockback can send enemies flying off the map to their death.
But Doomfist is about more than just his rocket-powered fist. His ability kit makes him a highly mobile character, able to quickly close gaps and attain verticality. "Being a melee hero in a FPS game seems overly ambitious at first," Hyped said, "but after trying him out it's amazing how fluid and natural he feels to play."
"He has an easy time accessing the high ground," Agilities added, "so I'm sure we will see him used as a tool to remove enemies from such positions."
Personally, I've found he's good at harassing snipers—even if you can't get the kill on them, using Rising Uppercut (Shift) to fly into the air, followed by Seismic Slam (E) to leap forward onto ledges can force dangerous heroes to change spots.
Weaknesses and counters
If Doomfist's abilities are on cooldown, he's a sitting duck with a massive hitbox. I found my first few hours with him difficult, whiffing my abilities and finding myself exposed, out in the open with no means of escape. Even the extra shields you get from dealing ability damage didn't stop me dying constantly.
Danteh tells me he had issues too. "I didn't really know what to do for a couple of hours until I got the hang of it. He's really punishing if you don't use his abilities correctly—if you randomly go in you'll just die. There's no getaway ability."
Also, some heroes can counter Doomfist with ease. "I feel like he rolls the non-mobile heroes, but the mobile heroes are pretty strong against him," Danteh explained. "Pharah can just go up in the air and avoid him completely. If Tracer can dodge his abilities it's a really easy kill for her."
Hyped agrees, noting that Doomfist has a lot of one-sided matchups. "We'll see a lot of Pharah and Mercy used to counter him. Sombra seems like a nightmare for him, as does any hero that can punish his giant hitbox such as Reaper, Roadhog, or even Ana with her sleep dart."
How should you use Doomfist's combos?
Doomfist is all about combos. His primary attack, which fires projectiles from his fist, only holds four shots and has a very slow reload. So you'll need to chain it into combos with his abilities, which are built to work in flurries.
One strategy is to use Seismic Slam to leap forward and hit the ground, which pulls enemies towards you. Then, immediately uppercut to send enemies into the air and start charging your Rocket Punch, catching them on the way down. In the clip below I'm not able to kill the Reaper but I force him to retreat (and I would've probably killed him if not for a Zenyatta orb healing him up).
You can also use Shift to leap into the air and then pick your spot to Seismic Slam, again pulling enemies towards you. Then, Rocket Punch them in the face.
Agilities says that he's found success by combo-ing Seismic Slam with a primary fire attack, then immediately upper-cutting and Rocket Punching. "I honestly love the idea of having combos in a first-person game because I've always loved fighting games and practicing combos," he said. "I think it's such a cool concept that adds a lot to the skill ceiling of characters."
"I haven't tinkered with his combos too much," Hyped added, "but I can tell you following an uppercut up with a mid-air charge is very satisfying." He's right, it really is:
What's the ideal play style for Doomfist? And where will he sit in the meta?
Doomfist's ability to deal high damage in a very short period suits an aggressive play style. He plays best towards the flanks, where he can pick off isolated heroes or supports that are out of position. "Flanking works well with him. You can surprise people with a one-hit kill," Danteh says.
Currently the 'dive comp' strategy is particularly strong in Overwatch—basically teams pick aggressive heroes like Genji and Winston that can get in the face of the enemy and quickly dish out a lot of pain. The pros I spoke to believe that Doomfist will slot into that composition well because of his high burst damage.
They also think he could be a good counter to the dive comp because of his one-shot potential. "He has the ability to counter dive very well," Emongg said. "When teams dive in he could in theory use his Seismic Slam to pull them towards him, then either charge or uppercut one of them out of the fight, or make it easier for his team to do a massive amount of damage."
If players can learn to deal with his weaknesses and counters, the pros think Doomfist will work in a variety of situations.
"He seems like he'll be a beast on the majority of maps," Hyped said. "Smaller, enclosed maps like King's Row or Illios could see him just pummelling people in small hallways, as well as being able to land easy pins. You'll probably want him as a bruiser for most King of the Hill maps."
Does he need any changes? Any buffs or nerfs?
Blizzard has done a sterling job delivering a character that feels balanced out of the box, and with a few minor tweaks he could be ready to dive into Overwatch proper.
"He's definitely very strong at the moment," Hyped said. "But I think that it's a good thing to have very strong but counterable heroes, rather than what we're seeing now with the most versatile and uncounterable heroes being the strongest in the meta, like Tracer, Soldier and D.Va."
"I think Doomfist is pretty balanced besides his right click," Agilities said. "In my opinion, it needs a higher cooldown considering it's a very powerful one-shot ability." Blizzard already reduced the distance Doomfist travels with Rocket Punch, but having a mere four-second cooldown on an ability that can potentially one-shot every non-tank hero does seem a little excessive. Five or six seconds would do the trick.
The only other change I'd like to see is with his 'E' ability, Seismic Slam. I've found it very difficult to aim, and if you're not up in the air then it's hard to judge where you'll end up when you trigger it. It feels clumsy, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.
"I'm a pretty good player and it's really hard for me to use it," Danteh said, "so I just rely on the shift and the right click. It takes a while to hit and people move around by the time you aim it. It's hard to predict, and easy to overshoot."
If Danteh is having trouble, you can bet millions of others will too. One possible fix, I think, would be to have a constant visual marker for where you'll end up if you Seismic Slam. When you're in the air it appears as a cone on the ground, and having the same when your feet are planted would help out a lot.
Doomfist has a high skill cap and relies heavily on his abilities, but if you get the hang of him he'll be a very useful hero to have as part of your arsenal. If nothing else, he'll prove popular because punching people in the face with a rocket-powered fist is every bit as fun as it sounds.