Interview with DIG LiNkzr on Overwatch Hero Changes, the Meta and more



Tue 25th Apr 2017 - 4:23pm

Following his recent performance in the Overwatch PIT Championship Europe, we’ve caught up with our DPS Overwatch player Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin! While most recently he’s secured 3rd place in the PIT Major, LiNkzr’s recent Overwatch achievements include landing top four while representing Finland in the Overwatch World Cup 2016, and 2nd place in the Overwatch XTRA Cup in January.  

We’ve spoken with LiNkzr to answer some questions regarding his thoughts on the state of Overwatch, including meta trends, buffs, nerfs, and more!


How do you feel about the current competitive meta, in regards to hero pick and composition diversity?

LiNkzr: I think right now meta is nicely diverse. I don't know how much diversity you can achieve in a game like Overwatch, but you can see teams having preferences and maps, which affects the heroes that are picked - so far so good!

As of late, high-mobility DPS picks like Tracer and Genji have grown especially popular. Is the current pool of DPS heroes well-balanced, or are some of these heroes proving too strong?

LiNkzr: There are a couple of DPS heroes like McCree and Reaper which are getting overshadowed a bit. McCree not as much but you can see teams preferring Soldier who is more mobile than those two if hitscan is needed. Genji and Tracer are in a class of their own overall because they enable you to change your overall game-plan way more, I don't necessarily think they overshadow other DPS characters though.

McCree and Soldier 76 fulfill similar purposes within a composition, but 76 is the more popular pick. In what contexts is McCree more favourable, and how do you feel about the state of each in comparison to one another?

LiNkzr: McCree should definitely be more favourable against dive comps, since Flashbang is a good CC ability and he does more burst damage. On paper, at least you should see McCree more. The problem for him lies in the fact that when dive heroes like Genji, Tracer, Winston, or Pharah engage on you, you can't really defend yourself in any way, so McCree tends to be punished more heavily than Soldier. McCree is a riskier pick but it can pay off. If the pace of the game slows down and dive isn't that meta anymore, I can see comps which revolve around protecting him or just have him to deal with a stray Tracer or the like.

Over the last couple of patches, Sombra has received a handful of small buffs and tweaks, most recently a reduction to her Translocator’s cooldown. Are these changes a step in the right direction, or are other factors holding her back from seeing play?

LiNkzr: Sombra is a niche pick right now, mostly due to her damage lacking a lot. Some teams use her here and there and players can have good performances on her, but she doesn't offer enough in my opinion. Every small change is going to affect how people view her in a competitive setting, but it will take a while before people are ready to include Sombra in their gameplan on a larger scale.

Now that the latest set of Roadhog changes have been in place for over a month now, what do you think of the ‘Hook 3.0’ changes to Chain Hook and Scrap Gun?

LiNkzr: Roadhog feels still a bit overwhelming, but not too much at least. The hook cooldown increase was a good change overall but he can still surprise you with how much damage he can put out. I don't see him being too big of an issue though.

Orisa has been out for 4 weeks now, and she’s gradually seeing more and more tournament play. She’s also had her notably large headshot hitbox reduced. What’re your thoughts on Orisa, and what she brings to a team composition?

LiNkzr: In tank vs tank lineups, Orisa could be considered a goddess. She provides shields, disturbs enemy positions and engages, and then provides massive damage output from the ultimate to chew through the shields. I think Orisa is a sleeper pick right now, and if a buff or two come her way, we will see her a lot more.

Only recently, a new tracking system has been implemented on Assault and Assault/Capture maps, determining wins in tie scenarios based on percentage progress made towards capturing the point. Do you feel like this is the right way to decide close matches?

LiNkzr: I liked the old system and didn't mind playing too many ties in KotH, but it's shaping up to be alright compared to what it was before. The new patch where it's 33% instead of 1% will allow teams a bit more breathing room and can make the games interesting while still having a possibility of a tie / win for the team that is defending the point.

Dive compositions have grown popular lately, with high-mobility, aggressive hero compositions featuring heroes like Winston and Genji. Is this kind of composition proving too powerful, and are there adequate counters to this playstyle?

LiNkzr: I think dive comps by nature can sometimes seem overwhelming, but there are definitely things you can do against dive. On some maps a triple tank composition can be a wall that dive can't overcome. The biggest differences with dive though comes when you are watching two teams that are not even in skill and the dive comp can look like impossible to stop. Individual skill in dive compositions can also shine brighter than in your more typical 2-2-2 or tank compositions because it's more chaotic. To sum it up, I think triple tank or some variation of 2-2-2 comps (or dive itself) can counter the full-on aggressive dive comp depending on map and point.

Reaper has seen very little play since the Nanoboost + Death Blossom ‘Beyblade’ meta. What changes to Reaper or otherwise would bring him into play again?

LiNkzr: I would just give him some more base movement speed. He can't be played as a flanker anymore at all with the new Lucio, as he is too easily punished and his cooldowns are a bit too long. I would like him to have a bit more freedom of movement on ground level to be able to take engages.

Blizzard has made a number of adjustments to Ana and Lucio, looking to lower their essentialness. Do you think the latest round of Ana nerfs were enough, and how’re you finding the latest Lucio changes?

LiNkzr: Right now we are adjusting to the changes ourselves and I don't have a definite opinion of it, but so far it's been good. Ana doesn't feel too overwhelming and she's a bit easier to punish, Lucio on the other hand can be more elusive and can give you a harder time with the new boop and increased damage, but you can definitely feel the impact Lucio players can have more so than before.

The Defense hero pool has some niche heroes that don’t see much competitive play beyond the occasional Mei, Torbjorn and Symmetra picks. Do Defense heroes deserve further changes, or are they adequate, albeit situational picks?

LiNkzr: Mostly situational picks. I think Torbjorn and Symmetra are a bit too easy to deal with and I would like to see their utility bonuses increased a bit. Mei in my opinion could be really scary if played well again, but people are kind of forgetting about her since dive is so popular.

While little has been said regarding his identity thus far, what kind of features would you like to see in Doomfist’s design?

LiNkzr: Just bang, bang, melee, bang bang BOOM, you know.

Is there anyone who you’d like to give a thanks or shoutout to?

LiNkzr: Doritos, my teammates, all the people who support me, I love them all! Special shoutout to all of our sponsors for making this happen.

A huge thanks for LiNkzr for his time. If you’d like to stay tuned with LiNkzr, you can follow him on Twitter and Twitch!