Overwatch screenshot of D.Va, Brigitte and Tracer dancing

Even though it's quite literally the very beginning of the year, we may have just received the most impactful Overwatch PTR update of 2019. Not only has the patch finally addressed the dominance of GOATs compositions (triple tank/triple support), but it has also fundamentally changed what makes extremely tank-heavy lineups so difficult to deal with.

The answer, as some of you may have guessed already, is to reduce armor's damage reduction from -5 to -3. A seemingly inconsequential change, but one that will make a lot of the currently mediocre DPS heroes significantly more viable against tanks, while not really buffing the powerful ones like Hanzo or Widowmaker. For example, Soldier 76 is expected to gain 16% more damage against tanks, which is quite significant when you consider the next change on the list, while someone like Hanzo is going to receive quite literally 2 extra damage. A pretty darn good change, and one that I have been looking forward to for years!

In order to further curb the dominance of GOATs compositions, as well as dethrone her from her perpetual ~100% pickrate in pro matches, the Overwatch devs have now also nerfed D.Va's Defense Matrix by increasing its cooldown from 1 to 2 seconds. Once again, a relatively simple change, but one with gigantic implications as this will give D.Va's opponents a chance to squeeze in their ultimates during the Defense Matrix's downtime. This won't ruin D.Va as a hero given that she is still incredibly versatile, but it will certainly make her less of an omnipresent hero in higher ranks of play.

Screenshot of D.Va from her animated short

D.Va's not going away, but she will be easier to play against

Since Blizzard has decided to push back against GOATs in a major way, it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that this update has also nerfed Brigitte. Her Rally (ultimate) now has a maximum duration of 30 seconds, so you will thankfully no longer have to deal with Zenyattas and Zaryas that have insane amounts of health because their shields keep protecting their armor from chip damage. A fairly small nerf, but combined with the general armor nerf, it should help keep the mass-tank compositions in line, at least for the time being.

The final and slightly hilarious change is the buff to Reaper. Instead of having 30% lifesteal, this update has made that go to 50%! So if you ever let Reaper get into the middle of your team and you don't deal with him immediately, you're going to be in for heaps for trouble! That said, Reaper still has problems actually getting into the fight without being sniped or stunned into oblivion, so I wouldn't worry too much about this making him overpowered.

Halloween Terror screenshot of McCree and Reaper

Reaper will still suffer from stuns, especially now that McCree has been buffed

That's pretty much everything you need to know about this update. It is a small one, but like I said at the very beginning, it's one of the most important balance updates Overwatch has received in quite a while. It's certainly going to be interesting to watch the meta develop over the next few months, especially when the Overwatch League starts again.

And to end all of this on a slightly different note, allow me to leave you with the knowledge that Blizzard has now released Bastet - a short story starring Ana and Soldier, with a guest appearance from Ana's fancy new Eyptian skin. Enjoy!