Symmetra is known for being the most infamous hero in Overwatch. Her kit, including turrets that microwave you to death and a teleporter that seems to bring enemies back faster than you can kill them, can be downright annoying and even frustrating to play against at times. On top of that, her specific abilities—like the photon barrier, a shield she projects out from herself—make her a viable pick in only a few circumstantial scenarios, like defending point A on the map Temple of Anubis or holding the first choke point on King’s Row. Because of this, she is the only character on the roster to not be played in the entirety of the Overwatch League’s inaugural season thus far.
The Overwatch team has made it clear they take into account what the pros think in reworking various heroes’ kits (just look at the Mercy rework from last year based on pros saying she wasn’t fun to play), so it’s not surprising to see Symmetra changes coming on the horizon. Now that the details of her new kit have dropped, various players have voiced their opinions on what this could mean for the League. Houston Outlaws player Jake tweeted that now she “might really have potential to actually fill a damage/utility role in a few defensive situations.” While it doesn’t sound like she’ll be getting tons of playtime right off that bat, this rework could shift the shield-dominated meta (or set of strategies that dominate the game in its current state) that has settled after the newest hero Brigitte’s launch.
Even before talk of the rework, there was a lot of talk within the player base that suggested Symmetra should have been moved to defense sooner. Her old ultimate, either a teleporter to get her team back to the fight more quickly or a shield generator to give her team more health, were abilities of the support variety.
However, the previous state of her kit left her in a bit of a limbo in the meta. A telltale sign of this was that, where two healers are required in basically every situation, teams would have to opt for only one if a Symmetra was selected as the other support. Alternatively, with a Symmetra, there could be two healers, but the team would lose one of its valuable tanks or damage dealers. In her previous state, she simply didn’t provide enough support to be a true support hero, and didn’t deal enough damage to be a true DPS (damage per second) hero.
Now that she does deal more damage, she’s been moved out of the support category entirely, finding her new place in the roster among the defense line-up. This was where she was used most often previously, if at all. Among her new set of abilities is a reduced number of turrets that are thrown from her and stick to surfaces; additionally, the teleporter now functions as a secondary ability that moves teammates 25 meters on the battlefield, and her primary fire changed from a lock-on beam to something more closely resembling Zarya's particle cannon beam. Finally, Symmetra now boasts an ultimate that's a giant 5000 health shield.
Symmetra has always been strong against shield-heavy comps, and with the death of the dive and the rise of Brigitte, she could be the counter we need to a notoriously powerful character in the current meta. If you ask me, we won’t see a ton of playtime on her right away, except for some situational defense points like Hanamura and Volskaya. With Sym going from a troll pick to easily one of the highest skill cap characters in the game, it will be interesting to look out for what she can really do in the hands of the pros.
Images: Blizzard Entertainment