Thanks to Doomfist, the Overwatch meta is finally exciting again

Overwatch has been plagued with uninteresting meta shifts dating back to 2016. Remember the tank meta? Rolling out with three or even four tanks was standard practice because of their beefy health pools and Ana’s healing grenade. Or how about the aggressive dive meta that we’ve seen over the last few months? It almost seemed like a meme tactic in competitive queue because of how much the concept was thrown around, regardless of the actual composition. 

Things these days are much more refreshing, thanks in large part to the addition of Doomfist to the character roster. Let’s see what’s been happening since he joined the fray, and what Brady "Agilities" Girardi from Immortals has to say about Talon’s new melee DPS specialist.

Synergy with Zarya and the ability to counter 

Zarya’s been a much more popular pick since the buff to her Graviton Surge, both at the professional and competitive queue levels. In case you don’t know, players can no longer use abilities to escape Grav's clutches, making it much more lethal and easy to combo off of. Needless to say, a bunch of targets sitting helplessly in a cluster make for some easy kills for a hero like Doomfist, especially considering the AoE damage of his ult, Meteor Strike. Allow Agilities to demonstrate with this play from Overwatch Contenders season one:

Envy gathers up EnVision in a Graviton Surge, setting up the Meteor Strike with ease—a combo the Contenders casters have nicknamed the "Space Jam," for better or worse.

There are couple of things to take note of here. First starters, the composition both teams are running is becoming very popular in professional Overwatch, and it’s easy to emulate in competitive queue. Reinhardt and Zarya have ultimate abilities that either stun or immobilize their enemies, and Ana’s kit combos well with them, making her a very attractive pick once more. She can sleep opponents and set them up, her grenade can be tossed into clusters of stunned enemies, and, of course, Nano Boost can be used in a variety of situations for extra damage.

"Doomfist paired with McCree is being played a lot not just because of how those two work together," Agilities says, "but also because Zarya and Reinhardt have always worked well with McCree because of the combo potential between abilities like Flashbang and Earthshatter or High Noon and Grav. Doomfist and McCree work particularly well together because of the high burst damage between the two heroes, and also because Doomfist can relieve some of the pressure of a McCree getting dived, countering heroes like Genji and Winston."

Doomfist’s ability to counter is the second takeaway. On maps like King’s Row or Hanamura, you have a lot of narrow corridors and enclosed areas to work with. Picking Doomfist on these maps makes a lot of sense because of the extra damage he can inflict by Rocket Punching enemies into a wall. If a tank or DPS is giving your team problems, you can literally knock them out of the way. Look at what Lucas "Leaf" Loison from GamersOrigin is able to do on point A of Hanamura:

He eliminates the enemy D.Va, yes, but what comes next is more telling of Doomfist’s value. His presence alone is enough to make the enemy Genji rethink the situation. He backs out instead of slicing through D.Va, and opts to attempt a new engagement from the side where he has more escape options. Next, look at how far Leaf is able to clear Lucio off the point with that punch. In overtime situations, having that tool in your back pocket can win you the game.

Is Doomfist too powerful? 

At this point, we’ve probably all been on the receiving end of a Rocket Punch. It sucks. Just when you thought you were going to pick up a kill, you end up flying into a wall and back to the spawn room. Yes, Doomfist demands your respect and attention more than most in close quarters situations, but is he too good right now?

"I wouldn't say Doomfist is too strong right now," Agilities says. "The only thing questionable about his kit is the Rocket Punch cooldown. Four seconds is a very short amount of time for a one shot ability that can deal so much damage."

Roadhog’s hook combo used to be a guaranteed kill, but his damage and hook cooldown were tweaked a bit so that it is no longer guaranteed. Now we have a new hero with that same one-shot capability, only this time on a four second cooldown. It does seem questionable, but Doomfist is still very young, so we’ll see what happens with that.

One change that has occurred for Doomfist was a small reduction in the hitbox for Rocket Punch. Players seemed to be landing far too many Rocket Punches within a dubious range of their targets, so that much has been fixed. 

"The hitbox nerf came in and it wasn't too big of a deal because good Doomfist players know how to work around it," Agilities says. "He's great right now in this current meta, and provides a lot of options for heroes that can be played alongside him."

Overwatch analyst JT Harlan has been keeping his eye on the meta since Doomfist’s release.

"I don't think higher competitive play is going to change much with the PTR changes," Harlan says. "The pro players that are already landing shots aren't going to feel the hitbox patch as much as the lower tier players. It will bring up the entry level skill required to be proficient for sure."

With so many free agents in professional Overwatch, many DPS players are bringing Doomfist out to expand their hero pools in order to catch the eyes of Overwatch League scouts. Likewise, players on established teams are also taking advantage of Doomfist’s kit to change things up. If you’re trying to beef up your Doomfist game, now is the time to see what’s been happening at Overwatch Contenders. Players like Agilities, Leaf, Kevyn "TviQ" Lindström, and George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha have all been enjoying a tremendous amount of success with Doomfist, so watching some of their games or replays could be beneficial.