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With every new competitive season of Overwatch, a new meta is seemingly spawned. This season, the go-to team composition that everyone is talking about is the dive comp, which focuses on using high mobility Heroes to basically blitz the other team into submission on both defense and offense. Quick, aggressive, and decisive action is key, though it sometimes can devolve into the equivalent of a bar brawl. However, dive comps require a lot of coordination and competence from teammates for it to actually work, and this is clearly demonstrated during the Overwatch World Cup.

At its core, the dive comp revolves around Winston, Tracer, and Lucio, who have enjoyed a virtual 100% pick rate during opening days of the qualifying rounds. Usually, you can then add Genji, Soldier: 76, D.Va, Zenyatta, an occasional Ana, Sombra, and even more rarely, Pharah, to this mix, resulting in a team comp that can engage and disengage at will. The fact that you can dictate where and when to start a firefight is already a huge advantage over slower team comps. In addition, due to the extreme mobility and potential damage of dive comp, firefights can end in just a few seconds, depending on who dies first, how important they were at the time, and whether or not the rest of the team can capitalize on the brief numerical advantage. Finally, almost every single one of Overwatch’s more traditional dive comp Heroes can contribute a reasonable amount of damage to a fight without having to depend on another Hero to assist.

Compared to team comps that revolve around a slow, measured, and seemingly unstoppable advance with Heroes like Reinhardt, the dive comp can pick where they want to fight, who to isolate, and when they want to retreat if needed. A real world historical comparison would be to think of Reinhardt/Zarya-centric comps as the equivalent of the Roman Legion’s testudo formation, just without many of the actual benefits of said formation due to the nature of the abilities in Overwatch. If, for example, a team turtles behind Reinhardt’s shield, then they become easy prey for D.Va and Winston who have the health and defensive abilities to crash into the formation and push people away, but if a team were to spread out a bit more in an attempt to provide overlapping fields of fire from range, then they are going to be at the mercy of Genji and Tracer who can pick them off with relative impunity.

Evidence of dive comp’s effectiveness can be seen in the Japan Vs. Spain qualifier match on King’s Row, whereby the Japanese team identified a weakness in Spain’s defensive line, isolated Soldier: 76 and killed him within 20 seconds, looped back around onto the point to scatter Spain’s attempt to regroup, and then finished off the rest of the team to capture Point A within 48 seconds of the spawn doors’ opening. On Nepal, there was a minute and a half long brawl before Spain could capture the first point because both teams could just keep throwing people onto the point thanks to the team comp’s inherit speed. On Volskaya Industries, the attacking Japanese team could move their whole team onto the high ground within 15 seconds and deny Spain the advantage of positioning, kill Tracer 15 seconds later, kill the rest of Spain’s team in another 30 seconds, and capture Point A within two minutes of the start of the round. For context, these are the Overwatch equivalents of being half done with a test using only a quarter of the time that is given to you.

Tracer

Conspiracy theory time: Blizzard actually likes dive comps due to their heavy reliance on Tracer, Overwatch’s (sometimes literal) poster child and mascot.

Of course, there were some (rare) instances during the Overwatch World Cup where a team wasn’t running a copy paste dive comp and actually won. One notable case was during the Finland Vs. Vietnam game on Numbani where the Finns brought out Reinhardt to replace Winston to great effect during their offensive push, though it required the rest of the Finnish team to protect Reinhardt and scatter any Vietnamese attempts to pick him off. Widowmaker also saw play on Illios by the Finns to basically murder half the Vietnamese team before their close range weapons could do too much damage. McCree was yet another notable substitute, especially for the Japanese during their game against Spain on Dorado, shutting down Genji’s Dragonblade with a rather humbling headshot. Even Mercy saw some very small amount of action, showing that she too can help despite such hectic battlefield conditions. All that being said, these are, once again, what are effectively statistical anomalies in terms of Hero choices.

Obviously, the teams at the Overwatch World Cup are highly skilled and highly coordinated compared to your average player, meaning that you can’t expect to emulate the same success that the top 1% of the top 1% have when running dive comps in Competitive mode. However, it is rather telling that the best of the best have apparently all settled on dive as their team comp of choice, and such an impression does have a trickle down effect as anyone with a sharp eye can tell that the mechanics behind the dive comp still work if executed properly against an evenly skilled or unprepared team.

It also raises multiple questions regarding Blizzard’s balancing decisions, the most notable of which may be “Why is such a relatively small portion of the game’s roster being consistently picked at this level of play?” or “Why is there no comp that can effectively counter dive other than another dive comp?” After all, you’d think that with so many highly skilled players and teams at the Overwatch World Cup, there will be at least one guy or girl who miraculously and or accidentally stumbles upon the hard counter to dive, if such a thing exists, which in turn is countered by something else, and so on and so forth, but that’s apparently not the case. There is no doubt that, eventually, another comp will be the hot new flavor of the season, but until then, it may be best to ponder the evidently delicate nature of Overwatch’s Hero balancing.

What do you think of the dive comp’s use in the Overwatch World Cup? How do you think the Overwatch World Cup has been going overall?

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Anson Chan

Staff Writer

You ever wonder why we're here? It's one of life's greatest mysteries, isn't it? Good thing games exist so that we don't have to think about it. Or at least I don't have to think about it. Instead, I'll just play Halo or something.