Baptiste is the newest hero in Blizzards first person shooter, Overwatch. As the 30th hero in Blizzard’s already long line-up of diverse characters, Baptiste adds more novelty. With area of effect (AOE) healing, a burst gun, and his Immortality Field, Baptiste brings plenty of unique abilities to the table. But how does this addition affect the current metagame in Overwatch, and does he counter the all-powerful GOATS composition?
The GOATS or 3-3 composition is made up of three predominantly AOE healers and three high health tanks. The composition is heavily focussed on speed and constant healing to all team members while each character charges up their ultimate. The typical combination of characters are as follows: Zarya, Reinhardt, D.Va, Lucio, Brigitte, and Zenyatta. Once each ultimate is charged, Zarya will bubble Reinhardt as he charges in to the opposing team. Lucio will speed boost the remaining team, and they will tightly follow in suit, each playing important roles in picking off their enemies one by one. Zenyatta will discord their target, boosting damage done to them. Brigette will stun, rendering them immobile, while D.Va, defence matrixes the team, protecting it from incoming damage from opposing players. Reinhardt and Zarya quickly kill the target and immediately move on to taking down the others.
The GOATS composition is the current meta in Overwatch. Few counters proven to work against almost unstoppable force that is the dive. The lack of counters is especially notable in the Overwatch League that teams often pick GOATS because it is the safest option and relies on communication rather than luck and well-placed shots. When Baptiste was announced to be coming to the game, players hoped that he would be designed to overthrow GOATS.
Although he may not look like it, Baptiste was built with the current meta in mind. His gun fires a strong three shot burst into enemies, but also fires grenades that heal teammates. In some sense, his AOE healing here can be comparable to Ana’s Biotic Grenade. However, Baptiste’s grenades only heal teammates; they do not heal himself nor do they harm enemies. Baptiste’s first ability is his Regenerative Burst, in which he heals himself and nearby allies for a short amount of time. His next ability is his Immortality Field, in which he puts down a small destroyable drone that prevents allies from going under 40 health for a short amount of time or until the drone is destroyed. Along with his two healing abilities, Baptiste is given a slight mobility boost with his Exo Boots that allow him to jump high into the air, getting a brief aerial view of the battle field. Finally, Baptiste’s ultimate ability is an Amplification Matrix, in which he puts up a small wall that doubles all friendly damage and healing effects that passes through it. Baptiste’s biggest downfalls are his cool down timers, with both his Immortality Field and Regenerative Burst taking upwards of 15 seconds to be used again, which can leave his team open for long amounts of time to damage and potential dives.
Because the GOATS composition is so heavily focussed on AOE healing and mobility, some players believe that Baptiste boosts GOATS rather than nerfing it. However, the current combination of GOATS characters already gives the team more than enough healing, which is why Moira was switched out from the original composition and replaced with Zenyatta. Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord was found more useful than Moira’s extra healing. As such, all of Baptiste’s AOE healing would generally go to waste and he would merely be there to poke damage at the enemy team.
This leaves him to only be useful for his Immortality Field and Amplification Matrix, which are not too helpful either simply because GOATS is designed as a dive team, and do most, if not all, of their damage during the dive. The team keeps moving, chasing down the enemy team in an unstoppable flurry of damage and defence. Both Immortality Field and Amplification Matrix are stationary on the playing field, leaving them to quickly get left behind on the team’s assault. Even then, Amplification Matrix only boosts projectiles making it useless for Reinhardt and Brigitte, and even D.Va who is mostly on defence.
Baptiste does not boost the GOATS composition, so does he combat against it instead?
When his surrounding team is grouped up, Baptiste can do substantial amounts of healing to everyone around him—and, not to mention, keep his team alive through various, deadly ultimates with his Immortality Field. With GOATS being so heavily focussed on attacking on one big group, Baptiste can hold back the deaths of his teammates for a short amount of time. For instance, if Zarya on the opposing team used her Graviton Surge on Baptiste’s team, he could quickly place down his immortality Field, keeping them all alive for the duration of the assault. That is, if they do not destroy his drone first. Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix could also help in fending off the opposing team for a short amount of time, or even killing them quicker than they can heal. In theory, Baptiste could possibly be able to fend off a GOATS dive, at least for a short amount of time. However, he likely will not be able to perform the task alone.
With the introduction of Baptiste, a slow rise in other metas such as Pirate Ship might become apparent, in which a Bastion and Orisa sit behind a shield on the objective, taking down the enemy with frustrating ease. Baptiste’s Amplification Matrix and AOE healing could highly benefit this composition, considering the team is far more steady and based in one spot. Even his Immortality Field could save Bastion from a Reaper or Genji that sneak behind the protective barrier. While the rise of the Pirate Ship meta would not really spell the end of the GOATS composition, it would be a refreshing change.
Despite Baptiste’s AOE healing and Immortality Field, he lacks the mobility and offensive capabilities that the current characters in GOATS all have. He is an unfitting replacement to anyone on the team and will likely not be used in the higher tiers of competitive. Baptiste is not a perfect counter either and would require a team built around his abilities to stand a chance against GOATS’ deadly dives. However, other metas have a chance to rise once Baptiste enters competitive play, the most obvious being the Pirate Ship composition.
Baptiste appears to be neither a counter or buff to the GOATS composition, and instead might encourage new metas to appear within the lower tiers of competitive.