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Overwatch Support Tier List: Season 18

JusticeLee

JusticeLee

Wed 9th Oct 2019 - 7:21pm

With the end of Role Queue Beta comes a new season in competitive Overwatch, Season 18, and for the second time in as many months, the meta has also shifted. The reason for this shift comes from two main sources: the introduction of Sigma and 2-2-2 Role Lock. Gone are the strength of Bunker and Triple DPS, in their place comes a meta built around the double shield tank combination of Sigma and Orisa. In some instances, you may find teams running a Wrecking Ball/D.Va combination or perhaps a Zarya instead of Orisa. However, Sigma and Orisa are the dominant tank duo. 

In addition to these two tanks being strong in the meta, among the strongest damage heroes include Symmetra (thanks to a bug fix regarding beam damage), Doomfist (for his ability to find value even with multiple enemy shields), Pharah (for the lack of her counters being viable), and Reaper (due to the pressure he can put on a frontline). It is with this context in mind that we will now create a tier list of support heroes for the 18th competitive season in Overwatch. 

*Before we commence the list, it is worth saying that this is perhaps the most balanced supports have been in Overwatch ever, and the rankings will reflect as such. Also, hero order within the tiers matters. Those higher in the tier are better than those lower. 

A-Tier

Ana

Although the meta has changed, Ana retains her spot on top of the support rankings from Season 17. With such a strong emphasis being placed on the frontline, having a support who can consistently commit large amounts of healing resources there is essential. That being said, in this meta, Ana will find herself with much less agency to make plays via Sleep Dart or Biotic Grenade due to the focus she must place on keeping her tanks alive. 

Ana also has among the strongest peeling abilities for her backline as well. This is an important trait in this meta in particular because of the frequency that you will find a Reaper or Doomfist trying to disrupt your backline. Sleep Dart can immediately put a stop to either hero’s attacks and Biotic Grenade can be used to keep yourself alive just long enough for help to arrive. That being said, neither ability is easy to use to successfully escape danger, especially when considering how much easier it is for a Doomfist to land a killing combo than an Ana to hit a Sleep Dart. In order to truly maximize the value of Ana in this meta, it will come down to your mechanical skill in using these vital self-peeling abilities. 

However, it is not just high volume healing and strong peel that make Ana the top support this season. Finally, her Nano Boost also synergizes well with all the meta DPS heroes. Doomfist can have even more kill pressure and survivability when committing onto the enemy, enabling him to take more aggressive plays. Pharah and Reaper can use Nano in much the same way as Doomfist, but can also use it to empower their ultimates, increasing their chances of living during it to maximize value. And finally, Symmetra can essentially run at the enemy when Nano Boosted and melt targets with superior damage. 

Moira

Moira goes from near the bottom of the meta to close to the top, largely thanks to the proliferation of barriers and most support’s inability to find value with them. By contrast, Moira’s Biotic Orb and Coalescence can perform their own respective functions perfectly fine, regardless of how many enemy barriers are in the way. Her team can be in the midst of a fight, behind multiple enemy barriers, and Moira can still provide them with healing. 

A play style that works well in this meta, especially at lower ranks, is to pair Moira with an Ana or Baptiste, which allows the Moira to focus more on dealing damage, taxing the enemy healing resources. Although it has become somewhat of a meme in the Overwatch community, this is really the way to maximize value on Moira. Just like Zenyatta, Moira lacks a lot of utility, but both make up for it with their ability to deal damage. Therefore, in order to optimize a Moira pick, one should not just always be throwing out heal orbs, but use damage orbs whenever possible. 

However, in most compositions, Moira will be relied upon to shoulder the team’s healing burden. She has strong synergy with Lucio, creating a semi-deathball composition, especially with Symmetra or Reaper at DPS. Such a composition can also be incredibly useful for defending tightly confined control points, the combination of area of effect healing and close quarters damage causing major problems for the enemy. 

B-Tier

Lucio

As one could expect in a meta featuring slow, immobile tanks, Lucio turns out to be a good pick in many situations. Speed Boost finds significant value in its ability to help teams quickly reposition, get in and out of engagements and control space. On large maps, like Eichenwald second point or Horizon Lunar Colony first point, being able to deftly move your frontline via Speed Boost from position to position is a great asset. 

Lucio also synergizes well with many of the damage heroes in this meta, specifically Symmetra and Reaper. Having either hero be pocketed by Lucio can help them not only sustain, but also close gaps faster and fight at their optimal range. Once Symmetra ramps up her beam damage, using Lucio to help her take a small flank on the enemy to deal damage can be a play of great value. 

(Spoiler alert) With Zenyatta being a non-meta pick at the moment, Lucio becomes a more important support because of his ultimate, Sound Barrier. It’s ability to help sustain an entire team through heavy enemy crowd control, like Graviton Surge or Gravitic Flux, makes it a useful resource to have. However, it is worth noting that should the enemy team not have a Zarya, saving Sound Barrier for Gravitic Flux is not a must because it is a relatively easy ultimate to avoid. That being said, Lucio can then look to use his ultimate in more proactive ways than reactive, helping his team actively make plays. 

Mercy

Mercy takes a small tumble in the rankings due to the prioritization of large volume healing heroes like Ana and Moira in the current meta. However, a long lost combination of heroes has returned, helping to balloon Mercy’s rank this season. The pairing of Pharah and Mercy, colloquially known as Pharmercy, has once again risen to prominence in the Overwatch scene. With heroes such as Doomfist, Symmetra, and Reaper dominating the DPS meta it should come as no surprise that Pharmercy can be viable again. Until heroes such as Widowmaker and Ashe become strong picks again, Pharmercys should be relatively unpressured and able to get good value. 

Another reason Mercy ranks here is due to the strength of Hanzo and, in some situations, double sniper. If a team is not running a Double Shield composition, they will likely be on some form of Dive, typically a combination of Winston, D.Va and Wrecking Ball. Hanzo and his Storm Bow act as a strong counter to any combination of these three heroes and can get the most value by having a Mercy pocket. 

Valkyrie hasn’t been a strong ultimate since the double resurrection days and still is relatively weak in the current meta. Perhaps the only new synergy that might provide a little extra value would be to combo it with your Orisa’s Supercharger, stacking the damage boosts that they provide. Otherwise, Valkyrie could be used to support aggressive dives by your Doomfist or Reaper, or to just generally help sustain your team through fights. 

Baptiste:

Baptiste is not a weak pick in this meta by any means, but he is also not a great one either. Although he can certainly keep up with the healing capabilities of Ana and Moira, his susceptibility to Doomfist and inability to find consistent ways to deal damage makes him a weaker pick than either of the two. In addition, he lacks the synergy with other meta heroes that Lucio and Mercy have, making him the bottom of the B-Tier. 

All that in mind, Baptiste can act as a decent Ana replacement for those players who find difficulties landing healing shots as Ana. Amplification Matrix also can find good value in certain situations and if used in coordination with your tanks. Using this ultimate can be one of the few ways in this meta where you could completely clear enemy shields for a decent window of time, allowing your team to deal damage. 

The strongest aspect of Baptiste in this meta is his ability to counter Gravitic Flux with his Immortality Field. When Sigma picks up your team, you can throw down Immortality Field just before you are slammed down (to ensure it will not be destroyed by the enemy before your team can use it), and then survive an otherwise fatal ultimate. 

C-Tier

Zenyatta

This is perhaps the weakest we have seen Zenyatta in Overwatch ever. Interestingly enough, no balancing changes have come to the Omnic monk for awhile, it is instead the way heroes have changed around him that place him at this spot on the tier list for Season 18. 

Zenyatta finds the most value when he can deal damage via spamming frontlines or looking for flanks. The problem is that you will almost never be able to break the barriers of a Double Shield setup for longer than a couple seconds at a time, thus allowing Zenyatta to deal spam damage, and the flanks are constantly being controlled by damage heroes such as Reaper and Doomfist who can consistently win duels against you. Therefore, the windows for Zenyatta to deal damage and find value are nonexistent to small in the current state of the game. 

Perhaps on maps with tight chokes and fewer Doomfist flanking options, like King’s Row, Zenyatta can find more opportunities to get value. However, for the most part, there are better options at support that you could take. If there would be one silver lining though for picking Zenyatta, it can be that Transcendence is still a strong counter to Graviton Surge and Gravitic Flux. 

Brigitte

For the second consecutive season, Brigitte finds herself at (or near) the bottom of our support tier list. Granted, her mini-rework has allowed her to output more healing in general, but the brawling scenarios that let Brigitte maximize her healing output are few and far between in the current state of the game. In a Double Shield mirror match, it is typically too risky for a Brigitte to push forward through enemy shields to proc her Inspire, meaning that she must play more conservatively, lessening her impact. 

Brigitte finds some value through Shield Bash, which acts as a good deterrent to meta heroes like Doomfist, Reaper and Wrecking Ball. However, with so little backline support, even if Brigitte does manage to stun them, it is relatively easy for them to escape, unpunished. 

Finally, Rally is among the weakest support ultimates this meta. The hyper-aggressive, forward pushing play style that Rally wants to utilize simply will not be found in your typical ladder game as long as Double Shield stays in vogue.

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