Overwatch League 2022 opening weekend brings Soldier: 76 meta
Overwatch 2 Soldier: 76
Provided by Activision-Blizzard.

Overwatch League 2022 opening weekend brings Soldier: 76 meta

The opening weekend solidifies an early 5v5 meta

During the opening weekend of Overwatch League season five, the league’s first outing on the Overwatch 2 beta saw a meta unlike anything fans have seen before. Strong heroes like Genji, Ana and Lucio stood at the forefront of the Overwatch League, but Soldier: 76 was the star of the show for the first time since pre-OWL pro play.

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With a patch coming to next week’s games, the original version of the beta led to some interesting plays. From plenty of nano-blade combos, nano-visor combos and even illegal strategies, it’s clear that the start of Overwatch 2 retains some diversity despite some personal pocket picks.

Top picks lead the charge

To put it mildly, the best heroes within the Overwatch 2 beta also happened to be the top picks on OWL’s opening weekend. Starting with the most common pick, Solider: 76 went from a non-option to number one. With 5v5 getting rid of a tank for both teams, Soldier’s capability of flanking, dueling and eliminating enemies is much better now. As one of the few DPS heroes with built-in healing capabilities, he can not only play aggressively but stay alive longer than other DPS heroes.

Just as common as Soldier, Genji also went from a rare pick to a must-have on this opening weekend. Where Soldier does better with fewer barriers in his way, Genji does better with less peel from off-tanks in the game. The typical way to stop Genji from getting value is to stick a tank to him on him. But with only one tank in 5v5, he is freer to harass supports and weak DPS heroes.

As for Ana and Lucio, their high pick rates are for two different reasons. Lucio’s self-healing and peel capabilities make him a must-pick. Meanwhile, Ana’s biotic grenade matters a lot more in 5v5, especially if coordinated well with her team.

All four of these heroes are getting changes for the next week of the league, however, through the recent beta patch.

Variations of the meta

While not as successful as the top picks, some other heroes have not only made their debuts but led to map success. One great example of this was New York Excelsior’s Kim “Yaki” Jun-ki sticking to Echo in the league’s first match of the season. Other teams, such as the Paris Eternal and Vancouver Titans, have also tested Reinhardt on specific maps, like King’s Row. These picks have led to map victories, but running these heroes on all maps led to losses.

One interesting pick that has worked surprisingly well is the new tank, Doomfist — especially when it comes to the Atlanta Reign. Xander “Hawk” Domecq’s play on Doomfist was crucial in the team’s very aggressive, dive style, which got them two series wins.

In terms of strategies, some controversy also rose out of the matchup between the Florida Mayhem and Paris Eternal. On Circuit Royal, a Mei wall with a Symmetra teleport on top of it led to a creative but illegal flank. That was its own fiasco, but the result of the map didn’t change. Aside from that, the standards of brawl compositions and dive compositions have stuck around in Overwatch 2.

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Michael Czar
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.