Overwatch League Season 6 Scrimbux: The most diverse meta yet?

Overwatch League Season 6 Scrimbux: The most diverse meta yet?
Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


26th Apr 2023 18:01

You’d love to ignore them, you love to say they don’t matter, and yet here you are. Scrimbux are back and are as volatile as ever. Behind the scenes, things have been changing rapidly and with the new patch introduced just recently, Overwatch League teams have been struggling to find the golden formula. 

Just this Monday, some experts called this “the most diverse meta yet”. Others claimed shenanigans just today, saying that it isn’t as colourful. Overall, everyone agreed that we are unlikely to see everyone play just one and the same composition in week 1 of season 6. Team flavours are back on the menu.

Historically, the best teams have dictated how the meta would develop with the mid-tier trodding along. From season to season, more brave teams in the mid and lower tiers are trying to find their own paths. It’s an admirable decision against the pressures of game balance and being less desired as scrim opponents by those they could learn most from. Those who prevail in that approach will outperform expectations.

Teams who play each other, do not practice against each other. This has once again resulted in scrim bubbles. Each formation of teams appears to have slightly different impressions of the meta and the strength of each respective team. Due to the natural barrier of latency, the APAC and NA meta have started to develop in different ways.

The Pro-Am has been a solid performance indicator for many teams. That said some surprising winners have emerged from the changes. 

It should be said that for some teams, scrim performances simply translate differently to game-day performance than for other teams.

Some meticulously track their scrim win rates, while others care less about wins and losses and look at incremental improvements. Both of those philosophies have proven track records.

Historically, the Fuel have been impossible to predict based on their scrim performances while most other teams show relative consistency.

We asked over 20 experts from inside the Overwatch League with insight on scrim performances about their impressions.

Meta - We are at least starting with high diversity

Overwatch meta
Click to enlarge

Based on the expert inputs, the meta at the start of Overwatch League Season 6 appears to be quite diverse and flexible, with various compositions being viable depending on the teams' strengths and the maps being played. However, some common trends can be identified:

  • Winston-centric compositions are popular, with Winston being the most played tank across most maps. Ramattra and Sigma can also be found on Hybrid and Escort maps.
  • Sombra and Tracer are frequently used DPS heroes, with some teams favouring hitscan heroes like Ashe or Hanzo, depending on their strengths.
  • Zarya has seen some increase in play, especially in APAC.
  • Various supports are being played depending on the map, with Zenyatta being a surprising omission in some situations. Lifeweaver is deemed completely unusable due to his lack of through-put and hitbox size
  • Brigitte/Ana compositions are being used by teams with hitscan preferences. Brigitte’s recent changes are perceived by some teams to be nerfs which saw her drop play time after Pro-Am.
  • Brawl-oriented teams may opt for Sombra-Reaper compositions.
  • Mei is often seen in indoor maps.

Some experts have noted that the observed meta-diversity has allowed various teams to take games off each other. While we do see tier categories emerge, some mid-tier teams that perform averagely against the field can be observed to play well into certain top-tier teams because their chosen comfort picks work well against the strategy of the top-tier ones.

This has resulted in sometimes widely different performance evaluations of particular teams, adding to the uncertainty our experts had about teams they hadn’t scrimmed in a while.

North American Power Rankings through the grapevine

Weighing expert opinion and their respective blindspots and compositional biases against each other, the following power ranking tier list was aggregated.

Top Tier

Atlanta Reign - The Reign continue to dominate scrims to the point that teams wonder if it’s worth mirroring LIP on Sombra or if another route should be looked at. They appear still eager to experiment and are almost in an arms race against themselves.

Strong Contenders

Los Angeles Gladiators - The Gladiators are seen by some teams as a top-tier team, by others as slightly inconsistent. They’ve lost a bit of steam as the meta progressed but not immensely so. Their first-week matches against the Defiant and especially Outlaws are expected to be close.

Houston Outlaws - The meta has been playing in their favour for the most part, giving them the potential to beat everyone on match day according to the experts.

Florida Mayhem - The Mayhem discovered their Brigitte variation during the Pro-Am and took their advantage to the bank. She’s now expected to be nerfed but the team remains on course.

San Francisco Shock - The Shock are still playing catch up with their form after travel and are currently not seen as one of the top-tier teams though most insiders agree that it’s only a matter of time before they actualise their potential.

Toronto Defiant - Whether or not the Defiant should be counted as one of the strong contenders was a highly debated topic among experts. Some of those belonging to higher-ranking teams deemed them as equals.

Lower Middle

Boston Uprising - Varying reasons for an alleged internal issue have been shared. The bottom line is that most experts expect the Uprising to start slow but because they appear to have the weakest strength of schedule in their first five games, it might just be what they need to get going. 

Washington Justice - AlphaYi keeps doing it in scrims but Flora has also continued to perform. Experts praised the Justice’s team cohesion for a mixed roster and only see the collective mechanical ceiling of this team to be an issue. 

Vancouver Titans - Question marks around Sugarfree have largely dispersed for the experts. Most agree that they can strike up significantly if the meta sways in their favour.

London Spitfire - Because there isn’t a clear meta drawn out, the Spitfire are said to be struggling to find a niche that’s advantageous for them. Most experts think they are unlikely to repeat their miracle performance level from last year.

New York Excelsior - The Excelsior definitely belong in the lower middle tier and are a clear step up from the bottom two. 

Lower Tier

Vegas Eternal & Los Angeles Valiant - Both teams are not doing well at all in scrims to the point that not even the matches against lower middle teams are expected to be close. In a head-to-head, the Eternal are more likely to take it.

Rumours from the APAC region

According to APAC insiders, the meta in the region is noticeably different from their North American counterparts.

While Sombra was rather popular in the first week after the patch, it now seems to be decreasing much more so than in NA. Control maps are seeing a lot of Rush with Zarya but also Reinhardt compositions. Winston is not the staple that it is in North America and it’s mostly seen on Push.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like APAC has found a way to make Lifeweaver playable either and Ramattra has also fallen out of favour in the East. Otherwise, there are a lot of options in the support and DPS role.

While we can’t confidently share a tier list for the region, there are outlier observations we’ve heard from several folks in the region.

Surprisingly, the Seoul Infernal might just be the best team in the APAC region at the moment. They’ve been a tough cookie for the top teams and especially Zest & MN3 are showing their star power. As expected, the Fuel and the Spark are competing with them for the top spots.

On the other side of the bracket, the Dragons are on the struggle bus with a lot of scrim performance issues. They are expected to be the worst of the Overwatch League teams and several of the Contenders teams such as O2 are expected to be stronger rosters.

The forecasting power of scrimbux for the APAC region is expected to be worth even less than those in North America, as some offline play and general regional volatility add further uncertainty.

For my money, the decline of the APAC region might have been greatly exaggerated with at least the top likely having a say in the outcome of the mid-season invitational and the season playoffs.

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