Overwatch Ana Meta: Making the Most of Tanks and Nano Boost



Tue 10th Jan 2017 - 10:34am

Tanks are experiencing a golden age in the current build of Overwatch. The recent MLG Vegas competition had a 50% team selection of quad tanks. Half of all teams were running four tanks at once. This staggering statistic shows just how much attention both players and Blizzard are giving to the heavy weight characters. All five tanks showed their face in Vegas at various points but more often than not Winston was left on the bench while Reinhardt, Zarya, Roadhog and D.Va made full of use a supporting Ana. Does Vegas signal a doubling down by pro teams as they see how far this pairing can be pushed? If so, how long will this concentrated deployment of the Ana-boosting-tanks combination remain viable for? In this article, I will assess the tanks as they are in relation to the Ana meta and speculate on the future additions to the tanks.

If tanks are currently basking in the sun of a golden age, then D.Va is in a tanning bed cranked to eleven. D.Va frequently finds herself on the receiving end of four gold medals at the end of the game and can competently take on Reinhardt’s duties as advancing sponge. Defense Matrix is also much more versatile than Reinhardt’s Barrier as timed right it can completely negated any projectile based Ultimate. With most quad tank teams leaving Winston behind, D.Va can also take on the flanking role by hitting the enemy team from exposed angles with the use of her boosters. However, she is unlikely to be the recipient of Ana’s power dart as there is not much she can do with it. Granted, up close the MEKA cannons will shred through most opponents but with the speed boost removed from the list of buffs granted by Ana’s Ult, D.Va can be easily outmaneuvered. Furthermore, Ana’s Ult does not complement D.Va’s. Self-Destruct has been resigned to clearing out areas and scattering teams instead of getting kills itself. Powering up is better used with one of the following characters.

Roadhog has seen the largest change in viability since launch. Initially seen as unusable due to the potential for charging the opposition’s Ultimates, Roadhog was given a new lease of life with Ana joining the game. Now the reason to keep him off the field was the reason to get him on; plenty of healing potential for Ana to gain Ult charge. Together with the Nano Boost, Whole Hog became a devastating sweeper of chokes and points. With a Graviton Surge in tandem the side effect of pushing away possible kills was negated and Roadhog’s Ult has become comparable to Tactical Visor or Rocket Barrage. Even without an Ult ready to go, Roadhog stands as top choice for an Ana boost for being able to close the distance and dominate in close quarters. In a four tank set-up, Roadhog balances a lack of DPS with a hook-prime attack-melee wiping out any character at 250 health or below; perfect for the first pick advantage.

The two less traditional tanks, Winston and Zarya, are the least likely to find themselves boosted. A full charge Zarya can deal hefty damage but this is not as reliable as other character’s means of doing so. A Reinhardt hammer to the chest will always deal the same damage regardless of other variables. Winston likewise creates too much disruption among his targets in Primal Rage to be used effectively with Nano Boost. It’s preferable in fact to have Winston keep hold of the Tesla Cannon if boosted to maximise his damage across targets. The two play different roles from the other tanks. Winston needs to be diving for the back line healers and Zarya as an off-tank should be supporting a D.Va, Roadhog or Winston. Neither are well suited to take a Nano Boost and run with it.

Reinhardt, once the essential tank choice, is trying to carve out a new niche. At the dawn of the Ana meta, Reinhardt was the obvious choice for boosting but following the removal of the speed boost his place was no longer secured. Other tanks began to move in for their improved lethality, particularly Roadhog who can charge his Ult by self-healing if Ana was not immediately available. However, despite some teams using D.Va to soak up damage while moving up Reinhardt still stands at the forefront of most advances. Once within range his unique style of attack can clear a point with the assistance of Ana and a speed-boosting Lucio. Will this style of attack remain wholly his though?

With the release of Sombra, the community begins the search anew for clues of the next hero to be added to Overwatch. With DPS and Support already bolstered by Sombra and Ana the likelihood of a new tank being added seems high. Coupled with this the name Doomfist has been known to fans since the marketing of Overwatch began. His face and gauntlet already appear Numbani and most recently rumors began that Terry Crews may be being tested for voice-work for the character; the fires of which were stoked by Crews’ personal support for the idea. It is not too hard to imagine these pieces forming a melee-tank mold for Doomfist perhaps with an Iron Man-esque ranged attack from the palm. However, unless the gameplay between Reinhardt and Doomfist feels distinct, there is no place for him in the current selection and Doomfist may remain a legend of the extended universe.

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