Hero 32 sets its eyes on Overwatch League midseason

19:00, 30 Apr 2020

Echo has finally arrived in the Overwatch League and with Week 13 on the horizon, this begs the question; will Echo enter the Overwatch League’s metagame or will Hero 32 just become some flavour of the month and be another hero only accessible through the Hero Pool system? And, more importantly, how will she impact the recently announced tournament set to take place at the end of May? 

Many pundits and analysts will point towards Echo’s kit as being overloaded and incredibly strong. Echo features high mobility, incredible damage output, and, thanks to her ultimate she is difficult to remove. With that in mind, I tend to agree with the overall sentiment around Hero 32. Right at the surface level, her kit is very strong which bodes well for the newest entry into Overwatch roster.

We also have to consider the Hero Pool for Week 13, which as Wrecking Ball, McCree, Widowmaker, and Mercy disabled. The removal of Mercy could hinder Echo has she attempts to play more open maps with high verticality. However, from watching the Echo Showdown tournament, it didn’t seem to limit her all that much. 

That said, that was not the most thought through and competitive setting so obviously the information is a bit skewed, but it’s what we have to work with. Widowmaker and McCree being removed should eliminate most pressure on extremely long maps like Route 66 or Volskaya Industries.

Overwatch League Echo

This leaves open many of the Rush composition staples that have been run from the last two to three weeks. Reinhardt, Sigma, Mei, Lucio, and Moira are all available for Week 13--all of which synergize incredibly well together. And if the Echo Showdown tournament is anything to go off of, Echo could very well fit within this composition. 

However, Overwatch League teams like the Toronto Defiant, the Houston Outlaws, and the Chengdu Hunters should be hot on the pulse and are my vote for the teams to most likely feature Echo. Contrasting that a team like the Atlanta Reign that is very keen on their slower, more methodical playstyle wouldn’t strike me as a team that is going to pick Echo all that much. Again, it’s not a personnel question, so much as it is a style question.

With such a strong composition available and with the possibility of Echo being retrofitted to work within the archetype, I believe the standard composition for Week 13 will be lead by Reinhardt with occasional D.Va sightings at flex tank rotating with Sigma on the map. As for DPS Mei feels strong on more enclosed maps. 

She deals with the Reinhardt and the slower compositions incredibly well, but there could be a Dive contingent that looks to feature more Tracer along with Brigitte open. Ashe could circle back into the Overwatch League meta as well to keep Echo from roaming completely unchecked as one of the few hitscan heroes open.

However, the support column feels very open to interpretation. Any duo from Moira and Brigitte to Lucio Baptiste feels like it could be very strong on the given map. Brigitte feels like a strong shout due to how she tends to be able to enable more mobile heroes like Tracer and Sombra to be able to flank aggressively and harass the enemy backline. These attributes could also be applied to Echo for instance. Both points also colour a very Dive heavy meta for Week 13, but with how much Rush has been played, I doubt teams are going to be inclined to swap archetypes this late into the game.

From that rant alone, you can start to see how open this week could be with the metagame. It really depends on what scrim bubbles pop up which could mean Week 13 is very region-specific.

Overwatch League Echo

Echo will fair a lot better on maps that are more open, but with points like Lijiang Tower Control Center, Eichenwalde Point C, and Oasis University, she is forced to change her playstyle due to the map geometry and what other heroes benefit from that geometry. 

With the more open maps with wider sightlines, the Echo has the opportunity to play much more aggressively whereas if Echo is even seen on more enclosed maps shes hamfisted into playing to break the enemy’s shields. That said, I do wonder if teams will have enough time to prepare how difficult it might be to play Echo in close quarters. My guess is that she will be sidelined for more standard Rush compositions that feature Reaper, Mei, and Torbjorn.

The verdict on Echo in Overwatch League is that I do think she will see play but I don’t think she is a must pick on every map. Her kit does feature some very strong mechanics, but with how little practice and how novel she is at the moment Echo’s perceived strength will ramp up over time. 

Now when it comes to the end of May when the “May Madness” monthly tournament starts to kick-off, that’s when I think Echo really starts to shine and becomes a meta staple. With all the heroes unlocked and with teams given more preparation, that’s when we’ll see Hero 32 really ramp up in terms of pick rate.

Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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