How will Orisa change the Overwatch meta?
Blizzard surprised us all with another hero drop. But what will Orisa bring to Overwatch?
Well, Jeff Kaplan was right. Overwatch hero 24 definitely wasn’t who we expected. Doomfist was the clear frontrunner in list of potential new heroes, but Blizzard had other ideas.
Thankfully Orisa is a welcome substitute. Overwatch’s tank class is filled with high-health heroes who are good at disruption (we’re looking at you D.Va), but only Reinhardt provides a true bulwark for allies to hide behind. “Anchor tanks” is the term used by Jeff Kaplan. From around these protective heroes, the rest of the team makes their plays. Orisa is the game’s second anchor tank, but how does she match up to the German juggernaut? More importantly, what does this mean for the 2 / 2 / 2 meta where offensive heroes were finally making a comeback?
So, what can Orisa do? Her role is similar to that of Reinhardt, but she’s capable of delivering far more consistent, long-range damage and her crowd control is nowhere near as potent.
Her abilities are as follows:
FUSION DRIVER – Orisa’s primary fire which delivers constant barrage of projectiles. As she fires she is slowed.
FORTIFY – Galvanising herself against enemy attacks, Orisa takes reduced enemy attacks and becomes immune to crowd control effects.
HALT! – A.K.A mini-graviton surge. Orisa fires an orb of energy which, when detonated, pulls all nearby enemies toward it.
PROTECTIVE BARRIER – Orisa deploys a curved barrier which intercepts incoming fire and most abilities.
SUPERCHARGER – Orisa deploys a device which enhances the damage of all allies within line of sight.
Tanky, not indestructible.
Orisa is a tank, but also highly dependent on her abilities to keep her going. A powerful strategy for keeping Orisa alive is alternating Fortify with Protective Barrier. The former provides a 50 percent damage reduction whilst the latter provides a 900 value shield which can be refreshed every 12 seconds. It’s a potent combination.
However, Efi’s robot creation has only been graced with 200 health and 200 armour, which less than D.Va (400 health 200 armour) and Reinhardt (300 health 200 armour) and less durable than Zarya (200 health, 200 shield). When drifting beyond her barrier, Orisa is an enormous target, and can’t respond with Fusion Driver if she wishes to escape because firing slows her movement speed.
When caught out of position, she’s a sitting duck unless Protective Barrier is on cooldown.
Please step behind the barrier...
It’s this ability that makes Orisa a true anchor tank. Squishier heroes will seek refuge behind her barrier in order to push forward or hold the line.
However, it differs for Reinhardt’s barrier in some very important ways. Firstly, it’s a fair amount smaller, forcing her allies to cluster closer together for protection. This means that heroes with splash damage like Pharah and Junkrat will maximise their damage if they can flank the formation.
Secondly, Protective Barrier is less than half as strong as Barrier Field, coming in at only 900 points versus Reinhardt’s 2,000. If the opposition focus fires it down, then Orisa’s primary form of protection melts away. Teams will have to make the most of the time the barrier remains active before having to retreat and wait for Orisa’s cooldown to refresh.
Orisa makes up for her barrier’s relative weakness with consistent damage output. Anyone picking her up will notice from the start that it’s easier to deal consistent mid-range, single-target damage with her than any of the other tanks. Fusion Driver packs a punch, and currently sports a ludicrously large clip size (150) which allows her to keep firing for a long, long while.
From our testing, this has several consequences: It makes Orisa a viable threat against mobile heroes and could, in some instances, potentially add some of the missing damage to tank heavy team compositions. It’s worth noting here, however, that Orisa’s primary fire is a projectile which doesn’t instantly hit its target. At medium to long range, tracking targets becomes far more difficult.
Wombo combos galore
With Supercharger, Blizzard have once again provided an answer to breaking sieges. Where enemies have decided to hunker down and hide behind protection, Supercharger will provide a short window in which shields, armour, and health will melt that much faster.
The potential applications of this ultimate with other hero abilities is enormous. For starters, let’s consider the possibility of a triple damage buff from Supercharger, Nano Boost, and Mercy’s alt-fire. Applied to Reinhardt simultaneously, this could be a terrifying trinity.
Tactical Visor, Barrage, Whole Hog – applying Supercharger to any of these ultimates will improve them. If they’re all fired at the same time, then the damage benefit is all the greater.
It’s difficult to know how this particular ultimate will affect the meta. If Supercharger is enormously effective, then the rational response will be to pick Sombra or Tracer in return. These heroes will be able to dive in and assassinate the device the moment it’s deployed.
Barriers barriers barriers
The addition of another barrier to Overwatch (in addition to those of Winston, Reinhardt and Symmetra) has raised a few eyebrows. With the right combination of heroes, it’s now possible to slam protective barrier over protective barrier, which could, in theory, now lead to the rise of a “barrier meta” in which a composition with three barrier generators, one offensive, and two support heroes becomes relevant. The addition of Orisa’s Supercharger makes this an even more realistic prospect, giving teams with fewer offensive heroes the necessary punch to push forward.
If you think this sounds like the old triple-tank meta, you wouldn’t be wrong. Currently, the only hero to prove a substantial disruptive threat to barrier and shield compositions is Sombra, who will have even more chance to shine with the introduction of Orisa.
There’s also the potential introduction of Doomfist, who must surely be on his way soon. Speculation though it may be, it’s quite possible that a tower-toppling gauntlet could also smash its way through barriers and other defenses. This would also fit Blizzard’s pattern of releasing new heroes who provide distinct counters for existing abilities and strategies, like Ana and Sombra.
Whatever happens, we like her
Orisa’s abilities are impactful, and it feels like she fills yet another niche within the Overwatch roster. It’ll be exciting to see which direction she nudges the metagame, and whether Doomfist will prove, as we suspect, a direct answer to her and her barrier loving kin. Orisa will be released on the live servers in the next few days. If you want to try her out before then, head over to the PTR.