For the 27th hero in the Overwatch roster, Jeff Kaplan, vice-president of Blizzard, promised something big. He said that the hero would be “meta changing,” and something that “we’ve never seen before.”
Upon first inspection, Brigitte, who was released to the PTR on February 28, seems to fit that vision: she’s a hybrid support/tank who provides her team with healing, armor, and strong crowd control, but will she shake up the meta the way that the developers think she will? Let’s dive in!
In case you haven’t had a look at her hero page, let’s take a quick look at her abilities:
Left-Click: Rocket Flail – A melee attack with a shorter side-to-side range than Reinhardt’s hammer, but a longer frontal range.
Right-Click: Barrier Shield – A much thinner version of Reinhardt’s shield, this is really only suitable for shielding Brigitte herself. It has 600 health, and has the same properties as all of the other barriers in the game.
Left-Click while Barrier Shield is active: Shield Bash – A short-range dash attack that stuns any enemies hit by it. Note that this is a full stun, just like McCree’s flashbang – it WILL cancel ultimate abilities that are channeled, like Reaper’s Death Blossom or McCree’s High Noon.
Left Shift: Whip Shot – A long-range inverted Roadhog hook. Rather than drawing an enemy in, this shot will do a small amount of damage and knock the character back from Brigitte. Note that this is NOT a stun.
E: Repair Pack – This is Brigitte’s main source of ‘burst’ healing. It will heal for 150 health on a 5 second cooldown, but if a target is at maximum health, it will instead give them 75 armor temporarily.
Ultimate: Rally – Brigitte gets a movement speed bonus, and then applies a stacking, permanent armor bonus to anyone near her over the duration of the ability. When fully stacked, this ability can give nearby heroes 150 armor that doesn’t go away until they lose it in a fight – that’s 300 health on Tracer, 400 on Reaper, or a whopping 750 on Roadhog!
Finally, her Passive ability gives anyone within 20 meters of her 80 health over 5 seconds (which is the exact same rate of healing as Lucio’s passive healing aura) whenever she hits an enemy with her left-click. This is where the bulk of Brigitte’s healing will come from.
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A Solution to the Problem?
If you take an in-depth look at this kit, it might seem incongruous at first – you have a melee support hero, who’s biggest source of healing comes from hitting things, and her only ‘on demand’ healing is not that big; beyond that, she only really has a personal barrier and some crowd control. Where does she fit?
Brigitte’s fit is true to what Jeff promised us: she will help define a completely new meta for Overwatch. From the very beginning of the game until now, “Dive comp” – a team of heroes built specifically around the idea of diving into the enemy backline, killing the supports, and moving very quickly onto objectives – has been one of the foundations of competitive play.
A perfect example of a ‘Dive Comp’ team would be: D.va, Winston, Genji, Tracer, Zenyatta, and Lucio. This composition is so strong because of its ability to have four extremely mobile heroes suddenly appear next to the enemy supports, and kill them as a group before the enemy really has a chance to react. D.va, Winston, and Genji do the jumping, Tracer helps clean up everyone else, and the healers support from a distance – Zenyatta with his harmony orbs, and Lucio moving right along with the divers. Unless you know this kind of attack is coming (and sometimes even if you do), there’s virtually nothing you can do to defend it.
This is where Brigitte comes in handy. Her kit will look very familiar to MOBA players. She is similar to common peel-supports who make their living by babysitting ADCs in the bottom lane in League of Legends. With her Whip Shot and her shield bash, she’s uniquely equipped to repel just about any dive coming towards her fellow support/DPS players. Beyond that, her ability to give teammates armor through her repair pack and her ultimate will make it more difficult to kill her team in the unlikely event that divers do get to them in the first place.
Brigitte’s not immune to damage, though. As you would expect, she’s extremely weak to ranged attacks. Although she has a shield, it only has 600 health, and if she has to deal with someone like Junkrat, Pharah, or even a Soldier 76 by herself for any amount of time, she’ll be in a bad place. Moreover, if she’s not actively hitting things, that means she isn’t passively healing the team, either. However, given how heavily her kit incentivizes playing around your team closely, and engaging all together, I suspect that good Brigitte players won’t have a hard time mitigating this.
The New Meta
My humble prediction is that Brigitte is going to bring a lot of power back to a composition known as ‘The Deathball’ – a team involving Reinhardt, Zarya, two ‘vulnerable’ DPS characters (like Junkrat and McCree, for instance), and more heavy-throughput healers like Mercy or Moira.
By adding Brigitte into this team, you get area healing from her passive that will be more likely to affect everyone (since the team will be together, playing behind the Reinhardt’s shield), and you get very strong protection from diving heroes like Winston or Genji – she can stun them, knock them away, and give armor/direct healing to the target of their assault.
All in all, I predict that Brigitte will be a very big buff to teams that play close together. From my time playing her on the PTR, she was a lot of fun, and I personally can’t wait to see how she impacts the competitive scene!