Situational Viability: A Few Off-Meta Picks to Consider



Tue 11th Jul 2017 - 11:01am

Have you ever had that sudden urge to want to try a certain hero, but then you immediately ditch that idea because of the potential backlash from your teammates? Surely most of us have had that feeling. In almost every competitive match, people will expect you to choose a hero that either complements the current meta or just works well with any team composition in general (looking at you, Lucio).

While it isn’t necessarily a crime to choose off-meta heroes, you should still immediately let your intentions be known to your teammates. Doing this will usually help ease some of the tension that may arise. Besides, you wouldn’t want people accusing you of being a troll, right? Anyway, let’s go over a couple of oddball heroes you should consider.


Ah, everyone’s favorite hacker. Recently, Sombra’s been making waves in the Korean pro scene and has also been played a few times in the West. Not only is she a very capable flanker, her utility allows her to make some very interesting plays.

Due to her ability to hack health packs, she can act as a pseudo-healer on certain maps. Take note that using hacked health packs can also charge Sombra’s ultimate by a significant amount, making it one of the fastest ultimates to fill up. The key to a successful Sombra is communication. Her ability to shut anybody down for six seconds can open up a lot of opportunities for your team, so don’t forget to tell your teammates whenever you’ve hacked someone or when you’re about to use your EMP!

Generally, you should pick her in maps where your team has easy access to health packs. A good example of this would be Temple of Anubis. Both points give the defenders access to around three or more health packs, which can easily be used as an excuse to have her as a second healer on defense. This can also frustrate enemy flankers as they’d have no way to heal themselves if they attempt to attack your backline.


Orisa is an odd one since she tries to be a few other heroes at once. Though she can put down barriers every few seconds, she’s still essentially a less mobile Reinhardt. That doesn’t mean she’s completely useless though. Think of her as a brick wall with a pocket Nano Boost that affects the whole team.

A good Orisa can effectively lock down a chokepoint by constantly popping Protective Barrier on cooldown, making her a viable pick on assault maps. Unlike Reinhardt, she doesn’t need to put her shield down to recharge whenever it’s out. Even with her barrier down, she can use her Fortify ability coupled with her large hitbox to block a lot of damage with her body.

On offense, she can still prove very useful, though you’ll have to be smart with your barrier placement as your team will have to play around it. Since Orisa isn’t an anchor tank like Reinhardt, you’ll have to constantly let your teammates know whenever you’re planning on pushing forward. The last thing your teammates would want is to have their cover suddenly disappear with no prior warning.

You should also frequently use your Halt ability. Use it to displace key targets and leave them in vulnerable positions where you and/or your DPS can finish them off. A well-placed graviton charge can easily turn the tides of a team fight, especially when you’re going against enemies camping on high ground (e.g. the first two points of Dorado).


The go-to hero for those desperate overtime plays. Mei is a deceptively strong DPS who’s regarded as one of the least fun heroes to play against due to her ability to slow and freeze enemies. The utility she provides can help create a lot of space for her team while also wreaking havoc on her own terms.

When playing as Mei, try to get used to her secondary fire. Many players tend to underestimate the amount of damage Mei can do with her icicles. A single headshot can deal up to 150 damage, which means she can kill most heroes in two to three hits. As for her primary fire, it’s worth noting that it isn’t affected by Genji’s deflect and D.Va’s defense matrix, so keep that in mind when you’re facing the dreaded dive comp.

Mei is perfect on defense since her ice wall can easily split attackers up. A well-placed ice wall can leave half of the attackers behind, which will usually consist of the healers. Of course, this also requires a bit of coordination to avoid trapping teammates behind enemy lines. Mei is also a decent pick on Control/King of the Hill. With her ultimate, Mei can easily give her team control over the point by forcing enemies to scatter and run for safety.


This refers to both Symmetra and Torbjorn. There’s not much to say about them since they’ve always been a fairly decent pick on defense, as they should be. Let’s quickly go through both of them.

Torbjorn is great at holding down chokepoints with his turret. Try to set it down on high ground or behind walls. Doing this will make it harder for your enemies to destroy it from a distance. Generally, you want to be on the move to collect scrap and give armor packs to your teammates.

Don’t rely on your turret too much as the other team can and will play around it the second they figure out what’s going on. Your real strength comes from your gun. Learn how to hit with his primary fire because it deals a surprising amount of damage with zero falloff.

Symmetra is best used on assault and hybrid maps. As cliché as this may sound, you should put individual turrets in places where people are less likely to expect them. Don’t pile them up at a single entrance, this is a rookie mistake that will result in all of your turrets getting destroyed almost instantly.

At chokepoints, spam fully charged energy balls at the general direction of your enemies and occasionally use Photon Barrier to provide cover for your teammates. Try to stay alive long enough to fully charge your ult. It’s up to you to decide which ultimate is more appropriate to use. Usually though, the Teleporter is only good for the first point if your team is struggling to stay alive.


The heroes mentioned above have the potential to do well against the current season’s dominant dive comp. At higher ranks, I’d personally suggest you stay away from Symmetra as she’s easily countered by a good Winston player coupled with a Genji/Tracer. Most, if not all of these heroes, require a lot of coordination to actually pull off in a competitive environment. For example, while Orisa can easily shred barriers and poses a legitimate threat to Winston, she’s extremely vulnerable to flankers and will need her team to constantly watch her back.

Funnily enough, the best counter to the dive comp is still itself. Mixing it up by choosing off-meta heroes can catch people off-guard, but don’t expect it to always work in your favor. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss off-meta picks as “troll picks” though. I’ve personally seen a Grandmaster Torbjorn force an entire team to switch to a deathball comp, so anything can happen!

What do you think? Are there any other heroes you had in mind? Let us know in the comments section below!

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