New support hero Baptiste could shake up ‘Goats’ for good
The 30th hero of popular esport Overwatch has been announced and his name is Baptiste. He’s now available on the test server, and after the recent addition of DPS Ashe, Baptiste is a healer type. As is often the case, his abilities are a bit broken at the moment. There will still be some adjustments of course, before he is ready to join the proper line-up in the main game. This isn’t unusual – later additions to the game have always needed balancing, and some of them remained unfairly weak or strong for some time before they really became competitive options.
Although he is a healer, Baptiste can also do a decent amount of damage at range, along with his healing grenade. He can also heal himself and others for a short period of time, and his ulti creates a see-through wall not unlike the shield created by Symmetra, except that friendly projectiles travelling through it get a damage buff. Well-placed, this can have a significant impact on already high-damage attacks, especially as far as tanks are concerned for example.
The perhaps most interesting ability of them all though, is a shield that surrounds him and protects friends from death – anyone under it can’t be killed. This is a powerful counter-point to abilities that punish groups sticking together, such as Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, Zarya’s Graviton Surge or even Junkrat’s Rip Tire.
Since this shield isn’t his ulti, he can use it relatively often, making it very useful in preventing kills, overall. This could be a problem for DPS heavy teams, and it could drastically reduce the amount of kills we will see in pro games as well – well-used (and after balancing) this shield could easily upset the ever-popular goats team setups that feature three or even four tanks on one team. With Baptiste potentially protecting them, even low-health high-damage heroes could last significantly longer and thus get more of a chance to wreak havoc on the enemy team.
The shield isn’t invulnerable though – it has a generator that CAN be destroyed by enemies before they launch abilities like Dragonstrike or Rip Tire, and enemies can also booted out from behind the shield, leaving them vulnerable again, but that requires some pretty good teamwork and a lot can go wrong, causing ultis to go to waste entirely. Naturally this is always a risk, but Baptiste could really mess up existing dynamics.
All in all it’s still difficult to say exactly how things will go as at the moment Baptiste isn’t balanced yet and it will take several adjustments before he is ready for competitive play, but all in all, the possibility for an upset at pro esports levels is definitely there with him – much like Ashe caused quite the change and immediately surged up in popularity among mid-tier players who enjoyed her B.O.B. ulti and sniper/shotgun combo.