Console Hero Selection
Ana (despite her recent nerf) continues to be very popular in the “meta”… console players should bear in mind that the meta focuses on PC play, and Ana won’t (and shouldn’t) get as much play on console because snipe aiming is just tougher. So the really interesting question is… who inherits the Ana slot space on console? And the longer I play, the more I’m convinced the answer is Mercy, with a little bit of Zenyatta.
- Lucio is still generally the best choice for Control maps (especially ones where his knockback can throw people off the map), but if you end up with a team of all flankers, Lucio doesn’t help you much.
- If the party already has a Lucio, Mercy is also definitely the second healer choice far more often than Ana is.
- Zenyatta inherits some of the Ana play on Offense.
Which brings us to…
Is Zenyatta still good?
I find Zenyatta less and less of a Healer as time goes on, and more of an offensive Support (kind of like an inverted Symmetra, Torby, or Bastion). The reason is, when it comes to healing, speed really matters. It takes Mercy 7-8 seconds to completely heal a D. Va, but she can also sustain that D.Va for an additional 2-3 seconds, even if that D. Va is getting focus fire from everywhere. The Orb of Harmony just can’t do that. If everyone is sticking close, Lucio is better at healing than Zen. If everyone is spread out, Mercy is better than Zen, and her damage buff and Ultimate balances pretty well against his. All told, everyone loves Lucio (including me), and I’ll take Mercy over Zen and Ana on console.
Where Zenyatta really shines is against tanks and self-healers, and sometimes against flankers, depending on how much help you get. So, Zen is really good at softening the D. Vas, Roadhogs, and less often, the Winstons of the world. Reinhardt is slightly different because his shield is a defense against the Discord Orb and also largely negates its effects after the fact.
I’ve played more games with Zenyatta than anyone except Rein, but I don’t love Zenyatta quite as much these days. All of this to say, Ana and Zen have often been lumped together as support Healers, but as of today, I would describe Zenyatta as strictly a disrupting Support with some healing capabilities. In other words, he shouldn’t be your team’s only Healer, and I think nowadays he’s more of a niche pick as a secondary Healer when your team really needs DPS buffing (to shore up a weak DPS or to buff tank damage if your DPS slots are largely flankers).
Why Torb and Bastion win a lot (despite the hate)
As soon as we see a Torbjorn or a Bastion (and especially a Bastion/Reinhardt combo), we moan and groan. And then we proceed to get shot to pieces by them.
However, the reason this doesn’t happen at the highest levels of team play is because players on the best teams understand something very important: maximizing team success sometimes comes at the opportunity cost of individual performance. In some cases it comes at the direct expense of individual performance. This is never more true than when dealing with a Torb or Bastion.
Because of the nature of these guys, it almost always requires two heroes to kill them, one to draw fire and one to take them out. There are several ways to do this (shields and environmental structures being the most obvious things to use), but it usually takes two. The only heroes that can 1v1 a Bastion from a distance are Widow and Genji (with a deflect), and maybe Ana but probably not. Widow, Pharah, and Ana can 1v1 a Torb turret. If you don’t have an Ana or one of these other niche heroes, it takes coordination to frag these guys.
A lot of folks in solo queue are out to play hero ball, try to 1v1 everybody, get the best E/D, etc, but it’s more than that. It’s also the fact that if you spot a turret or especially a Bastion, getting rid of it has to be your first priority. Otherwise it’s going to chew your tanks to pieces and even kill your Healer if you’re not careful.