Overwatch may finally be approaching the end of the GOATS era, but it’s possible that the replacement might prove even less popular.
GOATS has been the subject of much criticism during its reign as the dominant strategy at the highest level of Overwatch, and both fans and players alike have long been calling for the end of the prevailing meta.
Now, it’s starting to look like GOATS might finally be dethroned – but Overwatch fans might not be too thrilled by what could be replacing it.
If you’ve been paying any attention to professional Overwatch this year you’ll almost certainly be familiar with the GOATS composition, but if you’ve somehow missed it, the term refers to a composition popularized by, and named for, the GOATS Overwatch Contenders team.
The composition features a three-tank, three-support line-up, most commonly Reinhardt, Zarya, and D.Va in the former positions and Brigitte, Lúcio and either Zenyatta or, though not as common more recently, Moira in the latter.
The composition has been a largely dominant strategy for most of the second half of 2018 and through 2019, drawing plenty of criticism from players and fans alike for a number of reasons.
While the prevailing meta always draws a certain degree of criticism after a certain period of time, particular criticisms of GOATS have been that it’s not a particularly interesting line-up to play or watch, as it makes no space for the typically flashier DPS characters, and also that its sheer dominance on many maps limits the games diversity.
Blizzard has, by now, made several attempts to reduce the composition’s power with some targeted nerfs, and it seems now that, while the line-up is still powerful, there is space for alternatives.
With GOATS losing its grip on the throne, however, there’s increasing room for a new dominant strategy, and players and fans might not be so pleased with the potential replacement.
In recent weeks of the Overwatch League, a new composition has begun to rise to popularity, but it might turn out to be even less popular than GOATS was.
The classic “bunker” composition makes use of the static shield of Orisa and the sheer damage output of Bastion to set up a well-defended location that can be very hard for attacking teams to break. At the highest level, however, the level of coordination teams have in attacking static locations has usually meant that the bunker composition hasn’t been viable.
With the release of Baptiste, however, the strategy is experiencing a revival. As well as being able to pump out AOE healing – ideal for compositions that remain largely grouped up – Baptiste’s Immortality Field adds a whole new element for attacking teams to deal with when facing a bunker composition.
Breaking a “bunker” requires a swift, coordinated attack, but with Immortality Field to prevent the defending team from dying, unless the offense is able to identify and destroy it extremely quickly it can be very hard to wipe out the bunker before the defenders can bring their own damage to bear.
Unfortunately, while it may be the composition that finally “kills” GOATS, it’s very possible that the Bunker strategy might prove even less popular than its predecessor, as the static approach that the line-up necessitates typically makes games less interesting both to play and watch.