It finally happened. After an entire season in which Overwatch’s oft-abused queen of holograms was relegated to troll pick (and immediate switch) status, an OWL player finally played Symmetra for real tonight at the league’s second season debut.
It was the second map of Los Angeles Gladiators’ match against Seoul Dynasty. LA had taken the first map, Ilios, but Seoul was looking strong on the second, King’s Row. To begin their attack, LA came storming out the gate with a surprise among their otherwise GOATS-y ranks: Symmetra, as played by Lane “Surefour” Roberts. (GOATS, by the way, refers to a team composition of three tanks and three supports.)
The audience lost its shit. Symmetra has been in the game since launch, but her atypical kit has made her a hard sell for high-level players. This was the first time in Overwatch League history that Symmetra ever dealt hero damage in a match.
It didn’t take long for LA’s strategy to become clear: they placed one of the not-so-recently revamped Symmetra’s portals near the first point of King’s Row and then used it to teleport behind Seoul’s equally GOATS-y defense. The first time they tried this, it didn’t work so well. Seoul took out LA’s supports in the ensuing skirmish, and the team toppled from there.
However, Surefour managed to do enough damage to charge Symmetra’s ult: a giant, nigh-impregnable holographic shield wall. LA regrouped and push onto the point again, and then, like clockwork, Surefour deployed his ult. The shield wall absorbed enough long-range damage to bait an out-of-position Seoul into a close-range melee. With a well-timed Earthshatter ult, LA Reinhardt player Chang-hoon “Roar” Gye busted up Seoul’s frontline, and he and his teammates cleaned up after that. They then took the point, and with it, the payload.
The commentators then pointed out that Symmetra’s kit could be a good counter to a pillar of the dominant tank-and-healer-based GOATS composition—namely, Zarya’s Graviton Surge ultimate, which clumps enemies together and makes them easy pickings for high-damage ults like D.Va’s self-destruct. Theoretically, Symmetra can shield teammates with her ult or teleport them out of it entirely.
Things didn’t work out that way. After LA pushed the payload a short distance down King’s Row’s narrow second section, Seoul’s Zarya launched a Graviton, and the team DPS-ed down Surefour’s Symmetra in seconds. He then switched to Sombra, and that was the end of Symmetra’s triumphant Overwatch League debut.
During a post-match press conference attended by Kotaku, Surefour explained the rationale behind his pick. It happened, in short, because Overwatch ranked play is weird, and Surefour was inspired.
“So there’s this one Symmetra one-trick in ranked, and I made a bunch of weird Symmetra comps during our first week because of stuff that I experienced in ranked,” he said.
Symmetra’s beam cannon does more and more damage the longer it’s connected to enemies, something Surefour sees as especially useful in the current tank-heavy meta. “It works pretty well,” he said. “All you do is hold left click and you get permanent ammo. You just burn Reinhardt shields as much as you want. Since people aren’t more used to it, they’re like ‘What the fuck is going on?’ Then you just build up basically a second fully-charged Zarya.”
Despite the effort, LA did not win the map or the match, but they made a bunch of Symmetra mains’ day. Also history. So, all in all, it was a good three minutes.