The GOAT of Overwatch - Why Orisa Remains a Strong Overall Pick
Mon 4th Nov 2019 - 7:10pm
Orisa first came into the spotlight when the dreaded GOATS composition burst into the competitive scene. Back then, many people complained about the lack of variety in higher level play, as the only real counter to it is itself, and Blizzard's response was to tweak certain heroes that enabled it (such as Brigitte and Lucio). The addition of role queue essentially killed the GOATS meta, but even then, Orisa is still one of, if not the, most picked tanks in the game right now. Let's talk about why she's so dominant right now and some of the ways Blizzard could mix things up if they so desire.
One of the main reasons why Orisa is so powerful right now is because of how much she synergizes with Sigma. Despite slight nerfs to both of them, they still remain two of the most picked tanks across the board. The combination of their barriers is just too much for the majority of DPS heroes to take on right now, forcing players into picking those who can walk through them or deal tons of burst damage instead, such as Reaper and Doomfist. Unfortunately, aside from the shield spam still being too strong, both Sigma and Orisa also excel in close range combat due to their high damage output and abilities, with the latter also acting as a decent counter to Doomfist (who happens to be one of the more popular DPS choices due to the current meta) because of Halt and Fortify. Sigma's barrier can also cover angles that Orisa's can't, denying people who wish to exploit her shield's immobility.
The devs have already shown that they're willing to tweak these two to allow other tanks to strive, but at the moment, it's still unsure whether they'll gut them like they did with Brigitte during the days of GOATS or find a way to balance the current roster to make double barrier weaker, but still viable in certain situations.
Aside from the double barrier synergy, Orisa is currently just a solid hero overall. While a lot of players would say that she's "boring" to play due to her slow playstyle, this doesn't mean that she's weak by any means. Unlike the other tanks, her barrier is on a short cooldown instead of a resource pool that recharges over time. This means she can redeploy it at full HP the second if comes off cooldown and busting it can be very inefficient if there's another barrier backing her up. Even if one can somehow get past these barriers, Orisa herself is a hard target to take down.
Not only does she have 400HP (with half of that being armor), she also has the Fortify ability, which grants her a few seconds of crowd control immunity and 50% damage reduction. This ability alone gives her an edge against heroes that are supposed to counter her and the double barrier strategy. To top it off, her primary fire coupled with Halt (which is also a really good ability as it acts as a sort of mini Graviton Surge and can synergize with team-wiping ults, such as Meteor Strike) can easily take out any flankers that manage to get past the barrier spam.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Currently, aside from running a mirror comp, rushing in seems to be the ideal way to deal with Orisa. Dive could be a very viable counter to her, but heroes such as Reaper and Mei, which are enabled by the current meta, can easily counter those who can make it past the shields, and Orisa herself is a very formidable opponent even if you get close to her. Recent buffs to heroes such as Lucio and D.Va could help knock Orisa off her current spot as the top tank pick, but in my opinion, Blizzard needs to do something about her Fortify ability, which temporarily gives her up to 800 effective HP. As of writing this, Blizzard has only nerfed her by adding another second to her barrier's cooldown, which doesn't seem very significant as people will still continue running Sigma, whose shield is enough to keep Orisa's alive until she can redeploy.
Personally, I believe that the current meta isn't because of the barriers themselves, but because of the heroes that have them. To avoid completely gutting Orisa's kit (or Sigma's) like they did with Brigitte in the past, Blizzard could also look into buffing older heroes such as Reinhardt, who's easily countered by Halt, which can also fly past his shield. It remains to be seen how the devs will ultimately address the current state of the meta and Orisa's pivotal role in shaping it, so in the meantime, players will just have to deal with the fact that running double shields is the safest way to win games in the ladder and heroes such as Soldier 76 and Ashe will continue to be unviable due to their lack of burst damage.
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