North Texas at ‘Mercy’ of Overwatch Teams

The UTD Overwatch teams had to adjust to the new meta this time around, which affected how they played in the tournament. Photo by Minh Nguyen | Mercury Staff

On Sept. 21-22, the UTD Overwatch esports team won second place at the Battle4TX event hosted by the University of Texas at Arlington.

Battle4TX is a tournament between 16 Texan colleges for the title of Champion of Texas in Overwatch, the first ever hosted by UTA. In their playoffs run, UTD beat Texas State University 2-0 in the quarterfinals, and then longtime rivals University of North Texas 2-0 in the semi-finals before losing to UT Austin 3-0. Caster and Dallas Fuel assistant coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy was also at the event and was present with the team.

“It was a really good competition,” UTD Esports coach Greg Adler said. “I think the event was just really well run, so it was just a really good experience overall, and I think that made it pretty special.”

A big factor in the tournament was the new meta that developed since the creation of a 2-2-2 lock, meaning teams are forced to pick 2 characters for each role. This removed the GOATS team composition from the game, which allowed teams of only tanks and healers to slowly wear down the enemy, and was virtually undefeatable. With teams being forced to vary team compositions and have two DPS, or damage-dealing, characters, the meta has shifted to enabling DPS heroes to do the damage. Heroes Sigma and Orisa have risen up to create the Bunker Composition, utilizing the double barriers available to complement other DPS characters. The amount of barriers in the game can make it difficult to play, especially due to Orisa and Sigma’s current power level, senior support and team captain Alan “Toxic” Arce said.

“It’s pretty boring … double shield is not a fun thing to play with or against, with four shields on in any fight at one time. It’s not really meant for a first-person shooter game.” Arce said. “The characters that have the shields are inherently too strong … they have good utility and they’re just busted overall. So you can’t really play anything else.”

Simply put, the new meta has forced more characters into the mix, bringing all sorts of different characters into play, making competitive games more entertaining to watch. During the Battle4TX stream, DPS player and sophomore Kyler “Blank” Marcantel’s Pharah multikills stand out as highlights in the event. The Comets’ coordinated support play of Moira, Lucio, and Mercy, and the Bunker necessities Sigma-Orisa combo, in tandem with Pharah, Reaper, Doomfist and other heroes played were also key in the defeat of Texas State and UNT.

“It makes the competitive scene more exciting because you get to watch DPS heroes instead of just tanks and healers the whole time,” Adler said.

The team is still adjusting to the new meta, and with the large pool of DPS heroes made available and potentially viable, they can still be surprised by different heroes and compositions, such as the Ash played by UT Austin that helped in their defeat.

“They were running an Ash who was very oppressive, just, you know, very high skill player and we didn’t really know how to play around it. So we got a little bit a flustered I guess,” Arce said.

Overall, Adler said the team enjoyed the event and playing against skilled teams.

“The whole event was just a lot of fun,” he said. “It was cool to see 16 unique colleges in one place for Overwatch, and to just to get to meet so many people.”

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