Can Kiriko Usher In The Most Explosive Overwatch League Meta?
It's no surprise that Kiriko is on the lips of Overwatch 2 fans all across the globe. Equipped with an assassin's kit in the support role, Kiriko not only seems incredibly dynamic but also wildly potent. The bell has rung, class is in order, and Professor Kiriko is going to school you in the rules of dive. This is how Overwatch 2's newest hero could usher in the most aggressive metagame in Overwatch League history.
Even a glossary viewing of her kit is enough to piece together just how Kiriko fits and even could enforce a dive metagame towards the tail end of the 2022 Overwatch League season. Wall Climb gives her vertical mobility. Protection Suzu cleanses any potentially harmful effects that could slow its engages down. However, the most impactful parts of her kit come in the most overlooked areas.
It's not her healing throughput or her ability to cleanse debuffs or her ultimate that lends itself to explosivity, it's her potential for damage output and unprecedented mobility that opens the doors for some incredible plays.
While public testing has not been released, private reports mark Kiriko as the owner of the new highest critical hit multiplier in the game. Throw out your sniper rifles and lever action carbines, Kiriko's Kunai deals a staggering three times their normal damage on a headshot. This results in a 120 damage headshot hailing from a support character before any damage amplification.
Now pair that lethality with the ability to ignore map terrain and teleport to a nearby ally and you begin to see how explosive Kiriko can potentially be. Overwatch cast members like Doomfist, Sombra, Tracer, Genji, and Wrecking Ball are usually in positions to harass the backlines of most compositions, so just by being picked they also now serve as potential candidates to carry.
If Kiriko can feasibly teleport and assist with a dive nearly instantaneously, what is stopping her?
Some of Overwatch 2's fundamental changes have opened the door for more individual impact.
Gone are the dash of Flash Bangs and Sheild Bashes and constant stuns and hooks.
Even in the composition she looks the most suited towards, Kiriko looks too good to be true.
"Good" dive engagements are usually set up in such a way that damage is mitigated pre-fight by the geometry of the map. Once certain conditions are met, it's only then that you have heroes like Winston and a Tracer syncing up and engaging on a specific target together. Continuing on that hypothetical team fight, this game script dampens the need for sustained healing from an Ana or Baptiste, as the team fights tend to be shorter and decided within the first couple of seconds. This means that while Kiriko does seem to have low healing output, it doesn't matter in the composition that she'll become a staple fixture of.
On top of that Kiriko covers the weaknesses of some more fringe DPS picks when it comes to the dive archetype.
While we've openly criticised the Overwatch League's usage of Sombra this season, she also seems to have gotten a buff to her Hack duration ahead of the Countdown Cup. This doesn't mean she's become a more lethal version of Tracer, but with a longer silence duration on Hack and the ability to "deliver" Kiriko to the backline to aid in Sombra in assassinating a support or DPS?
This also ignores the fact that Kiriko's ultimate, Kitsune Rush, also increases the movement speed, attack speed, and cooldowns of her allies—Lucio eat your heart out. Teams will quickly find themselves envious of their opponents running such a potent engage tool with high playmaking upside, both of which point toward a law we've seen reiterated time and time again.
There are a few lessons we've learned throughout Overwatch's competitive run thus far that lends themselves to catalyzing Kiriko's entry into the competitive consciousness, one of which was actually on display during the Summer Showdown.
Aggression is good!
Unless your name rhymes with the 2018 Bew Bork Excnelsior, don't attempt to play too slow and methodical. The vast majority of teams that have been successful throughout Overwatch history have been fairly aggressive. Not convinced? Rewatch some of the Dallas Fuel's from the Summer Showdown and count who is the first to act in the majority of cases. We'll also cite the 2019 San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans.
If we agree that proactivity usually put you ahead, then, given enough time and practice, the best players in the world will become excellent at using Overwatch 2's newest support to assassinate the enemy along with her teammates.
Yes, this will be on the test.
When it comes to the Overwatch League, it would not shock us if mechanical madmen like the Los Angeles Gladiators' Kim "Shu" Jin-seo, the San Francisco Shock's Park "Viol2t" Min-ki, or the Toronto Defiant's Lee "Twilight" Joo-seok quickly establish a name for themselves. These are players that not only thrive in the clutch, but have written the syllabus on playmaking from the support position. When you give these legendary flex supports a character like Kiriko they're going to take over and win games on their own.
Kiriko also is a hero that solves problems we didn't even realise we had until recently. The greater Overwatch community will be forever scarred by the 2019 GOATS metagame where area of effect healing and overall tankiness reigned supreme. Having support that aid their team in other ways outside of just how much healing they can do is a step toward a more healthy and fun Overwatch.
Most are in agreeance that Overwatch is at its most entertaining when dive archetypes are the staple composition being featured in any given metagame. Across the board from the APEX Era breaching up the timeline all the way until now with Doomfist as a tank within Overwatch 2, the game is the most alive when high mobile heroes are at the forefront—and Kiriko only serves to amplify that rule.
And if we end 2022 on a dive patch, at the height of Overwatch 2's release, with the greater esports world watching, we've got it made. Not only could this be a signal for strength for the future of Overwatch esports but it also results in what should be an incredibly fun viewing experience.
We've rarely had opportunities for one support to consistently make plays. Yes, there are your Lucio metagames, but those impactful moments are tied to maps with environmental hazards. You've got Ana and Zenyatta but they are rarely—throughout Overwatch history, it has been rare—seen together. With Kiriko, we're now on the cusp of having both support equipped with the ability to individual impact the flow of the game outside of traditional healing means.
An aggressive dive metagame could be on the menu, the likes we've never seen.
Pushing a pace unprecedented, allowing for skilled flex supports to defend their superstar status.
Kiriko is going to make a splash and we're not talking about a Biotic Grenade.