What round one of groups at Overwatch Apex can teach us about the new meta

As season 4 looms, it's time to get up to speed.

As February comes to an end, so too does round one of group play at Apex Season 2. Teams have performed as expected for the most part, with KongDoo Pathera, KongDoo Uncia, Lunatic-Hai and Meta Athena leading their respective groups. Foreign invitees have had a tougher go of it, though returning Apex champions EnVyUs are doing well thus far. All eyes will be on their match against Meta Athena this Friday, as the two teams will fight for the top spot of group A. Apart from the exquisite Overwatch action coming out of Apex, spectators have also been treated to some rather interesting meta gaming over the last couple of weeks. Let’s take a look at some trends and lessons we can all learn from that have come out of OGN Overwatch Apex Season 2 to this point. 

Get. On. The. Point.

We’ve all been there. A match is headed to overtime and all you had to do was keep a toe on the point to give reinforcements a few seconds of breathing room. Alas, that Genji with low HP was just too tempting a target, and you took the bait. Your stomach turned to ice as “Defeat” popped up on your screen and curses littered the chat box. Would it make you feel better if you knew it even happens at the pro level? Cloud9 found themselves in this situation not once, not twice, but three times in their match against AF Blue. There is no excuse for ignoring something as fundamental as staying on the point. Well, perhaps there is one excuse: the good ol’ D.Va bomb. 

One could argue that you should take your chances and die on the point, or that you should have switched out to Reinhardt knowing that D.Va was on the field, but this is an instance where pointing fingers doesn’t really help. AF Blue played their counters, and it worked out for them. Whenever you’re in a position to force the other team’s hand, do it.  

Don’t charge through doorways as Reinhardt

Other than landing sweet hooks with Roadhog, getting charge kills is one of the most satisfying things in Overwatch. That is, of course, unless you fly off a ledge or otherwise end up out of position in the process. Reinhardt requires perfect positioning in order to be effective. He’s the prototypical tank of the game after all, and if you’re not tanking, what exactly are you doing? Think of all the times you’ve seen a perfectly good defense go down the drain on Hanamura because of an over-eager Reinhardt charging all over the place and ending up dead.

It’s a safe bet to say that most of those charges were probably through the gateway on point A, or through either entrance of the pagoda on point B; void zones where healing and cover fire don’t exist. The same is true about the garden stage of Lijiang Tower. If you’re on the point and licking your chops over a potential pin, make sure you charge toward the center post or opposite wall. Otherwise the results can be very embarrassing, like in the following clip:

What does Adam do? He charges through an entry point. What happens to Adam? He falls off the map and dies. Probably not his best effort. 

For your consideration…

With Season 4 of the competitive ladder coming up, it might be useful to take a look at some numbers and trends from Apex. For starters, the aggressive composition patterns we saw coming out of the last patch continue to dominate the pro scene. In a 23 round sample, a 2/2/2 comp was chosen 34 times overall, even drawing 10 picks from teams who were on defense. Cloud9 took it a step further and went with a triple DPS build over four rounds on Volskaya. This meta shift has, without a doubt, provided us with a much higher-quality esports experience. It’ll be interesting to see how the changes to Bastion will factor into the pro and ladder scenes once they go live.

Although Pharah is still a little bit niche, teams are starting to be a little bit more willing to use her on certain maps. She was only chosen 10 times in the previous sample, but players were able to fully unlock her potential almost every time. One trend that’s starting to develop is utilizing Pharah on maps with long avenues of attack. The traditional hitscan counters have a harder time bringing her down when she’s far away, especially if she has a pocket Mercy. Look at the relative ease with which Surefour is able to bombard enemy defenses on Numbani: 

Another thing you’ll notice there is that both teams are using Winston. With how effective quick dive compositions have been lately, more and more teams are starting to see the value of having a Winston on defense to help mitigate some of the carnage. We should start seeing him used more liberally going forward after his critical hit volume is decreased

The last point we’ll discuss is how McCree has continued to enjoy success now that Tracer and Genji have been running marathons across every map under the sun. It’s useful to ignore the “delete Ana” crowd for this point. Ana is versatile to boot, but she can’t remove impending doom with one shot or directly clear a room with an ultimate. McCree can. Watch Buds have at it: 

If you find aiming with McCree to be difficult, try strafing instead of moving your mouse so much. You just wait for your target to enter your aiming reticle instead of seeking them out, like Recry does here: 

Now that you have a few days of downtime before season 4 starts, see if you can’t take some of what’s happening at Apex and implement it in your own game. Remember, there are many viable options out there, and the pro scene is continuing to drive that point home. 

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