All eyes are on the top-ranked Vancouver Titans, as new “role lock” character restrictions may put them at a disadvantage.
Major changes are coming to the Overwatch League (OWL) that will effectively end the triple-tank, triple-support meta that has dominated the league since Stage 1 of this season.
Last week, Jeff Kaplan, Game Director and Vice President at Blizzard Entertainment, announced in a developer’s update that Overwatch is switching to a 2-2-2 role lock method for character selection in games. What does that mean? Previously, teams could choose from 30 playable characters to build their teams (barring duplicates), but as we enter Stage 4, role lock will restrict teams to choosing two damage heroes (DPS), two tanks, and two supports.
“We believe that this is the best thing for long-term health of the game,” Kaplan said in the update.
While this feature will benefit many aspects of the OWL, it may pose an issue for the Vancouver Titans, who have typically relied on the triple-tank, triple-support composition (also known as GOATs) throughout stages 1 to 3. This carried them through the regular season with 20 wins and only 2 lost.
The new role lock system will ultimately show whether the Titans will still be a top-tier team if they are unable to play their iconic GOATs lineup. Aside from the odd map, the Titans rarely branched out from the GOATs composition, despite their roster featuring talented DPS players like Haksal and Stitch.
The Vancouver Titans were eliminated from Stage 3 playoffs after a 4-1 upset victory by the Shanghai Dragons. The Dragons played a DPS-heavy composition and although the Titans switched their tactics ever-so-slightly, they still clung to their bread-and-butter and played a variation of classic triple-tank, triple-support for most of the match.
On July 25, the Titans will have a chance for revenge against the Dragons in their first game of Stage 4. This game will also demonstrate whether they can adapt to the 2-2-2 role lock or drop from their current spot at number 1.
Jonathan is a video game enthusiast and fan of the Overwatch League esports scene. By day, he’s a graphic designer and communications specialist in Burnaby, but at night he plays main tank as Orisa in Overwatch.