Sombra has always been one of Overwatch's more niche picks in professional play. We saw some experimental strategies at big tournaments in the months following her release, but she was eventually relegated to Volskaya and Anubis duties thanks to the near proximity of mega health packs. That's changed quite a bit now in Overwatch League thanks to a couple of significant changes to her abilities. Though she doesn't gain ultimate charge nearly as fast, she's able to deal more damage and has a faster, more punishing hack.
Let's take a look at some of the specifics and see what the pros have to say about Talon's hacker.
When you can expect to see Sombra
Since Sombra can be used so fluidly in this meta, you really shouldn't be surprised when teams bring her out on any map. Volskaya is still a very Sombra-friendly map because of its setup with mega health packs, but we've also seen her quite a bit on Blizzard World as well. Dae-min "Daemin" Kim from the Shanghai Dragons says that apart from maps that favor Pharmercy play, the Sombra pick is always on the table.
Since her buffs, even teams that rarely used Sombra have brought her out quite a bit. According to data shared on the Overwatch League stream, the Boston Uprising went from 8 percent Sombra usage last stage to almost 25 percent in stage three. She has a lot of utility now, and the Tracer-Sombra battery is stronger than ever before.
She does quite a bit more damage
When it comes to damage output, Sombra was never one of the heavy hitters. Though she still isn't exactly on Tracer's level, her DPS has seen a boost thanks to reduced spread on her primary attack. According to the Overwatch League site, the difference in Sombra's offensive output between stages two and three has been significant. Across the board, she has gone from 3.99 to 4.99 final blows per 10 minutes, and from 4,770 to 5,689 hero damage per 10 minutes.
The best way to think about this is that Sombra is more efficient at initiating fights and countering enemy dives. Winston and D.Va need to be a bit more cautious now that Sombra can put a dent in them after engaging. She can also pick off supports who find themselves out of position more easily.
Though her damage is more scary, it isn't what's giving so many Overwatch League pros issues.
Her new hack is incredibly strong
The most significant change to Sombra's hack is that it's down to .65 seconds from .8 seconds. It also interacts differently with a few heroes, but the speed at which she can disable someone is brutal. Again, divers and tanks tend to be on the receiving end of Sombra's wrath more than others.
"Whenever there is Sombra in the game, there is not much that tanks can do," says Chan-hyung "Fissure" Baek, main tank for the Los Angeles Gladiators. "The only thing I can do is try to dodge bullets as much as possible. It's mostly the team that has to do something else while I'm hacked, because I can't do anything."
As Fissure points out, the only thing tanks can really do against Sombra is try to stay alive. Breaking line of sight something you might also see pro players attempt, but it's much more difficult than it sounds. Coming up with solutions to Sombra can be tricky, but it isn't impossible.
Counters to Sombra
One of Sombra's other recent changes gives a two-second delay on her hack if it's interrupted by damage. Though hard counters to Sombra might be slim, some Overwatch League players think this is one weakness to exploit if you want to get her out of your hair.
"You want the entire team to be on their toes and ready to interrupt her hack so she is forced to recall back," says Lucas "NotE" Meissner, flex tank for the Boston Uprising. "Then the whole team pushes forward and punishes Sombra's team since she can't help them at that point.”
Junjie "Xushu" Liu from the Shanghai Dragons has a more traditional approach.
"Start the team fight after Sombra farms energy and translocates back," says Xushu."Or go for Sombra if you can find which health pack she is translocating back to."
Joona "Fragi" Laine, main tank for the Philadelphia Fusion, has been one of the most popular tank players in the professional Overwatch scene since his days with Ninjas in Pyjamas. He says that you "need to play more tightly against Sombra because of her ultimate and her hack." Fragi elaborated that this goes for both your front and backlines since Sombra can go after either.
Some casters have suggested that Junkrat traps and left-click spam can also be effective if your guessing game is on point.
Is Sombra overpowered in the current meta?
Usually the term "OP" is subjective at both the casual and professional levels of competitive games. Whenever it's a topic of discussion for heroes in Overwatch, feelings are usually very mixed.
"Yes, Sombra is too powerful in this meta," says Daemin from the Dragons. "D.Va and Zenyatta are must picks of this meta, but Sombra's right-click and ultimate are great counters to these two."
NotE, on the other hand, just feels that she's more annoying now, but not overpowered, a feeling echoed by Fragi. Yeong-jun "ArK" Hong, support for the New York Excelsior, actually thinks her attack upgrade is more troubling than her improved hack, which is "just a very little change."
No matter how you look at her, Sombra is a much more viable pick these days. She's great at initiating dives, she's great at countering dives, and she can scare people off with her newly improved weapon. As pro players get more comfortable with using and dealing with Sombra, we'll definitely continue seeing strategies and compositions evolve through the next couple of stages of Overwatch League