Over the past couple of months, Overwatch players may have noticed that the game’s most prolific healer, Mercy, has been enjoying a dominating pickrate in virtually every single match in both normal gameplay and in the Overwatch League. As it turns out, being able to instantly revive two teammates while simultaneously keeping the other three members of the team alive from most normal sources of damage for 20 seconds is far more annoying and exponentially more powerful than being able to undo the occasional Team Kill, so Blizzard took action and decided to nerf Mercy…again.

As of the latest Overwatch balancing update, Mercy’s Ultimate ability, Valkyrie, only lasts for 15 seconds (down from 20 seconds) and the speed boost that it provides to Guardian Angel has been reduced by 50%. Furthermore, Valkyrie will no longer grant an extra Resurrect charge, nor will it negate Resurrect’s casting time. Junkrat also received a relatively minor nerf in that his Concussion Mine will have damage falloff; Mines must now detonate closer to a target to deal the full 120 points of damage.

It should be noted that while the Valkyrie changes were available on Overwatch’s PTR server for the past month or so, reception to the update may still be a bit mixed. On the one hand, it does release Mercy’s stranglehold on the game. However, some people have claimed that the nerf goes too far as Resurrect’s significant casting time (which leaves Mercy quite vulnerable) makes it excessively dangerous to use during the now shortened duration of Valkyrie. Curiously enough, despite such feedback from the PTR, Blizzard evidently went ahead and implemented the nerfs in their entirety.

Quick Take

Given how powerful Valkyrie was, Overwatch’s latest update is a literal game-changer. Since Mercy can no longer instantly undo up to two deaths, teammates must be more careful with their positioning and be far more wary of whether or not the other team’s Ultimate abilities are ready. In addition, this means that a secondary healer like Zenyatta or Lucio may as well be a must-have if you intend to win as it is simply impractical to expect any team to be able to dodge every single Ultimate ability; if Team Kills can no longer be outright undone, the next best course of action is to prevent such a thing from happening in the first place. Mercy’s pickrate will likely drop from the oppressive level that it is at now, but she is still Overwatch’s best single-target healer and the only Hero in the game who can revive people at all so it’s all but guaranteed that she will still see a fair amount of play, especially at lower Competitive ranking brackets.

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Anson Chan

Staff Writer

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