On March 20th 2018, the Overwatch community was stunned, knocked back and armored as the newest mace wielding engineer took her spot on the battlefield. The introduction of Blizzard’s newest creation has caused the most controversy for a hero release that we’ve seen to date. Accompanied with the release were many split judgements on whether or not she’s overpowered. Today I’ll be analyzing just that, whether the shield-making maiden is busted or balanced.
Patch History – Healing
On patch 1.23, which was the patch immediately after Brigitte was released, we were able to collect some meaningful data regarding the analysis of the meta. When matched up with other healers in the healing department, Brigitte is nothing special. As numbers would dictate, she is barely healing more than Zenyatta as shown below.
Chart credits: Omnicmeta
While this may make her seem somewhat balanced, it doesn’t account for all means of healing, which includes armor. The values for all means of healing are listed below. While all values represented are from patch 1.23, her healing potential was only recently changed (permanent armor given during ultimate decreased to 100 from 150) and remains a significant aspect of her kit.
As you can see from the chart, we are given the details on how much of an impact she’s really able to have across the board. If the numbers weren’t enough to show you that she’s got what it takes to compete with every main healer in the game, consider the fact that she’s the only support able to give armor to those in need, which counts as effective HP with an added damage reduction benefit.
Function Over Fashion
Healing aside, she’s not to be outdone in the realm of utility. While other supports have the benefit of tools like a speed boost or a damage increasing marker, Brigitte comes equipped with a 600HP shield which allows you to stun someone by dashing 6m forward every 6 seconds and a 5-10m knockback available every 4 seconds. Her shield bash ability is one of two instant stuns in the game. The other being McCree’s flashbang which clocks in at a 10 second cooldown. It’s quite plain to see that if her healing potential wasn’t enough, her utility is also top tier. With all these strengths, where is the line to be drawn between being overpowered and just doing her job?
The Death of Dive
Brigitte was introduced to the game as a soft counter to the ongoing dive meta. While not everyone is very welcoming of her induction, no one can say that she doesn’t do her job well. Through analyzing pick rates over the last 6 months, it is clear to see that dive compositions frequency is declining. That is not to say that it’s dying necessarily, but the changes are definitely not in its favor. Either way, with the previous dominance of dive meta, this can be taken as a good change. It makes room for new and more complex strategies to blossom.
Over the past 6 months, Winston and D.va have been the main ingredients to a successful dive composition. They were able to enjoy pick rates of 6.66% and 9.09% respectively which dominated tank play across the board. Comparatively, we now have Brigitte to keep them more or less in check. Her induction was paired with a few minor nerfs to D.va’s damage potential while Winston has remained untouched. From then to now, the pick rates of both Winston and D.va have plummeted to 1.52% and 1.29% respectively. In addition to this, Reinhardt and Zarya have taken the title at 14.32% and 13.36% respectively.
This is all enabled by our friendly neighborhood engineer who sits atop her throne at a 57.07% winrate and 23.70% match time spent on fire, currently the highest in game for both stats. Brigitte’s impact on tank play can be attributed to the fact that she is able to create space for her tanks with her armor and utility, which immensely benefits tanks like Reinhardt and Zarya. She achieves this while removing space and efficiency from their diving counterparts.
Balanced or Busted?
While no one can say with complete certainty whether or not Brigitte is in a detrimental spot, according to the stats, she may need the extra time and care to bring her back down to the level of other supports. Blizzard has recently issued a nerf to Brigitte, which as mentioned previously has raised the cooldown of her stun by 1 second and lowered the amount of armor she can provide during her ultimate by 50. Only time will tell whether these changes are enough, but with a 57.07% win rate along with all of the utility and healing she provides, I think it’s safe to say she’s erring on the side of busted.
Hope for the future
A few changes that I would personally like to see would be to make her slightly more susceptible to hitscan heroes like McCree and Soldier 76. Currently, hitscan players are not being treated well by the meta at all. This is due to the recent rise of shields and barriers in every game. My suggested changes would be to lower either the HP of her shield, or the distance traveled by shield bash. This would make it so that hitscan heroes who have a tough time repositioning as well as a tough time breaking past shields would be under less threat from what is currently a very aggressive playstyle performed by slow push compositions, but more specifically, by Brigitte in particular.
Note: Since a nerf has recently been issued, the effects of such should be reviewed before issuing any further changes.
It is with little controversy that I can say Brigitte may be a little more powerful than she should be. I believe that she has had the most positive effect on meta in the history of the game. In ghosts of Overwatch past, we have always been able to see a single composition barrel over all the rest at any given time, whether that be death ball, slambulance, or even beyblade. Currently with our armored heroine, we are able to see far more compositions, with respect to certain map restrictions. This creates an environment where very few particular heroes are explicitly terrible, a state not yet seen by the game. The world could always use more heroes and with the impact of Blizzard’s newest hero, we got them.