Hero Versatility in OWL Season 1

2018-07-11 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

In the Inaugural Season of the Overwatch League, we saw just how versatile some players were at flexing to different heroes. On the flip side, the league MVP, Jjonak, showed us the value of being the absolute best at a single hero with little flexibility.


Reddit user u/serrapaladin released a graphic recently illuminating the disparity in hero versatility across the league. Below is a snapshot of the top section of the chart.

Hero Versatility in OWL Season 1

Image Courtesy of u/serrapaladin

The chart can be understood as follows, according to u/serrapaladin. “The diversity measure shown here gives the “effective” number of different heroes a player has used throughout the season. If a player has used 5 heroes equally, they would get a score of 5. If a player has used 1 hero for 99% of their playtime, and 4 other heroes for a few minutes each, they would get a score just marginally higher than 1.”

This chart does not necessarily show how well teams adapted to the drastic change in the meta across the season. What it does show is the value of players like TviQ and EQO. In the case of EQO and the Fusion, their diversity and ability to throw different things at their opponent is a lot of what made them great. As we saw in the playoffs especially, versatility and the ability to switch comps with speed and efficiency was often the difference between victory and defeat.

2018-05-24 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

This may have been one of the reasons we saw the NYXL and Valiant struggle late in the season. Each team only has one player on the top section of this list – Libero and Agilities, respectively. Early in the season, when the dive meta was prevalent, this was not a problem. Running dive requires precision and timing with little need for versatility.

Stage 4 and the playoffs were a totally different animal. Teams were forced to flex mid-game and we saw players like EQO begin to shine. In the playoffs, we watched both NYXL and Valiant struggle to adapt and each fell in their semi-final matches. Correlation does not imply causation, but this is still an interesting observation and something these two teams may need to address in the off-season.

As the Overwatch meta moves away from strictly dive comps (Winston, D.Va, Genji, Tracer, etc.) the premium is going to increase for players that can play several different heroes effectively. Perhaps there is something to be said about stacking a team with players that can throw several different heroes at an opponent. With the introduction of Wrecking Ball in Season 2 of the OWL, who knows what kinds of composition diversity we may see!

Connor's passion for Esports began in 2010 as he qualified for Pokemon VGC nationals and has since transitioned to covering Overwatch. He provides an analytical yet creative perspective in his coverage of the Overwatch League and hopes to continue developing as an Esports writer. Check him out on Twitter here.
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