Welcome to today’s episode of “Whose Brigitte Is It Anyway?”—the meta where the roles are made up, but the points do matter! I’m your host, CaptainPlanet, and now we’re going to play some guessing games to illustrate how Overwatch League teams used the game’s newest hero, Brigitte, in the opening week of Stage 4.
First off, which team do you think used Brigitte the most?
Dallas used Brigitte for more than 70% of their time played in the first week of Stage 4—more than double the rate of any other team. Unfortunately, this may spoil the answer for the next guessing game: which player used Brigitte the most?
Yes, it was Mickie! The meta ushered in by a combination of Brigitte and Stage 4’s map pool seems to perfectly fit Dallas’ prickly pear style. They excel at playing in a tight group and daring their opponents to try to break through their defenses, then punishing them with a mace to the face. Mickie’s skill on Brigitte cannot be denied: he made a mockery of Shanghai, who have spent the least time on Brigitte so far this stage, and he also piloted the hero superbly in the Fuel’s loss to the Los Angeles Gladiators.
For more Brigitte tips and tricks from Mickie, check out this video, part of Dallas’ “Fuel Pro Tips” series.
Mickie is traditionally a flex tank—his main hero is D.Va—but as we can see, many different roles were getting in on the Brigitte fun. In fact, Brigitte may be Overwatch’s first true role-less hero. This brings us to the next question of the evening: which role adopted Brigitte the most in the first week?
If you guessed support, Brigitte’s actual classification, you’d be wrong! It was actually DPS and flex tanks—D.Va and Zarya players—who primarily filled the Brigitte role. In fact, zero support players played Brigitte this week. When teams were playing Brigitte, they were playing novel triple-support compositions, something rarely seen in the Overwatch League. Let’s look at the most commonly used heroes when Brigitte was present in a lineup:
Brigitte was almost always used alongside the healer duo of Zenyatta and Mercy. This is because Brigitte fills a lot of gaps in team composition without excelling in any specific area.
Best of Her Abilities
Inspire: Brigitte’s passive heals nearby allies at 16 health per second for five seconds each time she successfully hits an enemy with her flail.
Repair Pack: Heals up to 150 health, and provides up to 75 armor over max health. The bonus armor lasts 5 seconds.
While you probably can run her alongside a main healer like Mercy in ranked play, at the Overwatch League level her healing output is dependent upon Inspire, which requires her to damage opponents with her Rocket Flail. If teams played a single support paired with Brigitte, their opponents would play around her effective range to deny her healing. Without Inspire, Brigitte can only spot-heal with Repair Pack once every six seconds, so until an actual fight begins, the team with a single support plus Brigitte is essentially playing with one and a half healers—a juicy proposition for any offensively-minded attacker.
To solve this problem, we need only refer to this 425 HP Zenyatta for guidance. Zenyatta and Brigitte have amazing synergy together, especially in triple-support compositions. Both heroes have similar weaknesses: they don’t heal as much as a main healer, and they don’t usually deal as much damage as a DPS. By combining two heroes that have elements of DPS and support, a team can hide the weaknesses of the individual characters.
Brigitte works as the anti-flanker, close-range DPS/peeler, while the armored-up Zenyatta serves as an artillery cannon blasting the backline of the opposing team. Brigitte can proactively use her ultimate, Rally, before fights to buff up not only Zenyatta but the rest of her team to large, armor-based health pools. Zenyatta is then free to save Transcendence for purely reactive plays. All the while, the Mercy player provides the constant and powerful single-target healing that both Zenyatta and Brigitte lack. It’s a perfect support triple threat, one that has shifted the meta to a certain extent.
To illustrate this, let’s look at Brigitte’s effect on the usage of a few select heroes:
Brigitte has been used only 24% of the time so far in Stage 4, but she seems to have caused Tracer to drop from 77% of time played in Stage 3 to under a third of the time played in Stage 4. Of course, some of this is due to a Tracer-unfriendly map pool as well. However, simply the threat of a swap to Brigitte—Tracer’s first true counter—must be having an impact beyond Brigitte’s modest usage numbers.
There are a couple explanations for this, as well. Some teams are still warming up to the hero—Shanghai, for example, have barely used her at all—but she is also a less-than-ideal pick on certain maps. Can you guess which?
Brigitte was very rarely used on King’s Row and Horizon Lunar Colony for one fundamental reason. The first points of both maps are prime targets for multiple, simultaneous flanks that split the defending team’s attention. On King’s Row, this is executed with a DPS duo of Hanzo and Widowmaker, who attack the defense from opposite sightlines. Reinhardt—and to a lesser extent, Brigitte—can only shield in one direction at a time, so this attack can safely pick apart defenses at ranges that deny Brigitte’s healing and stun capabilities. This strategy is so effective that King’s Row is Hanzo’s best map by a wide margin:
A similar strategy for attacking Horizon Lunar Colony is at play, but it is primarily achieved with Tracer flanks rather than Hanzo, and sometimes accompanied with Sombra. Teams send the flanker duo towards Point B, and they stay there, poking and prodding the defense, as demonstrated by Jay “Sinatraa” Won in this clip:
Meanwhile, their main force attacks from the other side. This dual-direction diving attack is so effective that Reinhardt and Zarya have yet to be used on Horizon Lunar Colony this stage, and Brigitte has less than four minutes of total time played on the map.
We’ve thoroughly described the who, what, when, where, and why of Brigitte, in a meta where her role is made up, but the points do matter. Or do they? Dallas, the team who has used Brigitte the most, defeated Shanghai but were then swept by the Gladiators. On the other hand, the Dragons—who have used Brigitte the least—lost decisively twice last week as well. As with any other team composition, it seems like success in the Brigitte meta still depends on how well the players can execute a strategy.
Ben "CaptainPlanet" Trautman is the statistics producer for the Overwatch League Global Broadcast. Follow him on Twitter!