Photo by Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment
Since the introduction of the 2-2-2 role lock this stage, we’ve seen a big swing in the meta and hero usage. Which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as we come from a three support and three tank meta, you’re already locking out two entirely different classifications of hero. If we look at the end of stage 3 as some teams began to explore alternate team compositions in light of the incoming role lock change, we did see a surge of offensive heroes being used. Sombra, even in the old GOATS composition saw quite a bit of use. Teams like Shanghai was making excellent use of Pharah and Doomfist. Even now, as teams work to find their strengths and exploit the weaknesses of other compositions, we are beginning to see a new meta shake out; the Mei Blade Meta.
What is the Mei-Blade Meta?
The Mei-Blade Meta, aptly named so by BrenCasts during a segment to ask social media what to name the new meta, is reminiscent of an older meta from the early days of Overwatch. Shorly after Ana was first introduced to the game we saw a composition that relied on comboing Ana’s Nano Boost with Reaper’s Death Blossom and aptly named Beyblade. The Mei-Blade meta of course includes Mei and Reaper as the primary forms of damage. Tank picks for the composition are normally limited to Orisa as the main tank with either Roadhog or D.va backing her up. Though the support roles are probably the most flexible parts of the Mei-Blade Meta, Lucio and Moira tend to be staples for their mobility and fast ultimate charge.
How does it work?
Like the 3-3 GOATS meta of stages 1 through 3 the Mei-Blade Comp is actually very technical, which is why certain teams are able to utilize it more effectively than others. Communication and team cohesion will always win out over a single Reaper or Mei just trying to get picks. Don’t get me wrong, both Mei and Reaper have great pick potential on their own. However, knowing how to utilize your cooldowns and ultimates in conjunction with the rest of your teams strengths is the difference between one pick and a team wipe. As Los Angeles Valiant player Shax demonstrates on reaper below.
Your DPS Picks
Mei with her Ice Block has great survivability, but her Ice Wall also offers her a unique tool to counter a lot of what the same composition brings to the table. We saw early on in week 1 when Paris played the Houston that the Orisa\Hog combo was deadly when paired with a sniper. Mei’s Ice Wall helps to protect from Roadhog hooks. When playing against a D.va who can quickly defense matrix away her Blizzard ultimate, Ice Wall is great to protect Snowball as you toss it out. The defense matrix can’t penetrate the Ice Wall and Blizzard when it catches the enemy team can be a fight winner. Ice Wall can also be used to cut off a tank from the rest of the group of they’re pushing ahead a bit too quickly, completely stopping an ensuing team fight in it’s tracks. Reaper, between his wraith form and teleport (especially with it’s latest changes) makes him mobile, gives him survivability (in addition to the Hit Points he gains back dealing damage) and when paired with protection from D.va’s defense matrix can wipe entire teams on the point.
We’ve also seen quite a few Hanzo and Widowmaker picks when the situation calls for it. A good Orisa and Roadhog pair can isolate an enemy hero with a Halt and Hook combo, making them easy to pick off.
Your Tank Picks
When it comes to tank selection, Orisa is the obvious pick for her ability to ignore movement impairing and crowd control effects. When Mei is only of the cornerstones of the offensive attack, you need a way to negate the slow or you’re dead in the water, either from her blaster or from her ultimate. The defense boost also has the chance of allowing you to survive potentially being cut from your team via Ice Wall. The real choice for tanks come via your off tank role, where your best bets are going to be Roadhog or D.va.
Both of these picks are viable for two different reasons, Roadhog tends to be more offensive focused as a good hook and halt combo can effectively end a team fight or at turn it favorably in your direction. Roadhog also has great survivability in his own right. D.va tends to be a better defensive choice with her ability to eat up or completely negate ultimates from both Reaper and Mei. She’s also vital in using her defense matrix to protect an ultimate reaper from being taken down mid ultimate.
Your Support Picks
The final component of the Mei-Blade Meta is the support, which is the most flexible since many of the supports bring something to the game here. Teams seem to be leaning more towards Lucio and Moira at the moment, both have mobility and can be hard to pin down and can heal multiple teammates at once. Moira comes with the added bonus of having the fastest charging ultimate in the game. Baptiste can’t be discounted thanks to his immortality field and his amplification matrix, which can turn Mei’s Ice Wall to tissue paper and allow quick clean-up of anyone who can’t find cover. Ana will always be a strong pick for her ability to cut off healing via her anti-nade and a Nano Boost on a Reaper using Death Blossom is always a win. Zenyatta while limited in his healing potential still has strong usage from Discord Orb and transcendence like many other support tools can stop a team wipe based on the ultimate it’s counteracting.
Mei-Blade has yet to penetrate the League to the extent that 3-3 GOATS did and hopefully it doesn’t become that prevalent. With sniper heroes like Widowmaker and Hanzo still having a place among heroes, there’s always potential for a single player to make big plays off of one or two well placed head clicks. It’ll remain to be seen if more teams start to default to the Mei-Blade or try and play into their own strengths, but one thing is for certain…there will always be a meta.
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