To the average Overwatch player, the Support position may seem like a thankless job. There are rarely giant killstreaks like the DPS, or flashy team wiping ults like the Tanks, but this doesn’t stop Fusion Support player Boombox from feeling like a hero.
It is uncertain what implications the last major patch which nerfed Brigitte once again in addition to a global armor will have on the ever-popular GOATS comps. However, according to various professionals and what has been witnessed at high levels of play, there are definite signs of a meta shift underway with a potential new paradigm for Support players.
With strong finishes in both Overwatch League Season 1 and World Cup, the Fusion's Isaac "Boombox" Charles has been able to experience first-hand the progression of the Support meta at the highest levels competition. I had a chance to sit down with Boombox during the offseason to get his thoughts on the state of the Support class, and his goals for the Overwatch League Season 2.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Adam: What’s the biggest lesson learned from Overwatch League Season 1 and how has it affected your prep for Season 2?
Boombox: The biggest lesson? I would say is to not take anyone lightly. Every opponent can play well. There’s a reason why every team is in the Overwatch League. Even by the end of last season when the Shanghai Dragons weren’t doing their best, but they should have won at least one series. I think they were better than some other teams by the end. I suppose the pressure got to them but they should have beat some of those teams, and that’s why you can’t underestimate anybody.
Adam: Back in Contenders you were known quite well for your Ana play. Now that she’s gaining popularity again, do you think we will see you and others picking her up for Season 2? If so, what does that mean for the state of the Support position going forward?
Boombox: You know, I’m not sure what the Support meta is going to become since we haven't really experiment that much yet. All I know is, Zenyatta is a very powerful hero (laughs). It’s been played for two years straight, and everyone keeps overlooking that, but I like things like damage modifiers, I think it allows for higher skill play. That way you can position as a team and do stuff like, proper focus fire on priority targets with Discord Orb, it’s much more effective.
You can also have a D.Va Defense Matrix on your whole team in a choke, instead of just one. These things make the game a bit more like a MOBA I guess, but that’s good for Overwatch. Overwatch has never been a generic shooter, it’s still an FPS, but it’s got so much more team play than people would think.
Adam: Other than Brigitte and Moira, the Support lineup hasn’t seen significant tweaks to their kits in quite some time. What are your thoughts on this, and are there any changes you feel should be made, but are being overlooked?
Boombox: Honestly I think the main problem is that there are not enough heroes in the game for a diverse meta for Supports. There are always going to be Supports that compliment the meta DPS and Tanks that are being picked.
For example, there used to be the Beyblade meta where Reaper would get Nano Boosted, but if you have Tracer/Sombra, Ana’s Nano Boost will never do as much. I think the significant changes will come in time. Maybe a few years from now there will be enough Supports where the meta will be diverse enough, and you will have multiple options for each comp, instead of just one “best” option.
Adam: Every Support hero that has come out since launch has been more and more aggro focused. Do you think the heightened DPS focus in the Support role instead of passive play is healthy for the game?
Boombox: Yeah, generally, everyone loves seeing Zenyatta at a high level, because he can make plays. If you have a hero like Mercy you can’t really make those. You can get pistol kills, but Mercy doesn’t really make “super” plays.
Heroes like Ana, have the potential to Sleep Dart someone whos ulting so I think Support heroes who have skill shots or can make high skill plays will make people feel rewarded for having good FPS mechanics, while also being a good healer.
Adam: Are there any mechanics you’d like to see added to the Support class?
Boombox: I feel like one of the few things that Supports are lacking is more hitscan or tracking. They could maybe introduce something like that, but who knows, it may be too broken (laughs).
Adam: As one of the original twelve teams, with more than a year of experience under your belt, and a second place overall finish, what do you think Philadelphia's greatest strength will be going into Season 2?
Boombox: I think all teams had issues last year. When you make a new team of players who have never played together, there’s always going to be some conflict in playstyle, or personalities and stuff. After a year, our team is much closer, so if we give criticism or anything, nobody cares. You can say like, “oh you did this, this, and this wrong,” and all you think is, “Oh yeah, what should I have done here?” We are in a way more constructive environment now, and I think that will help us a lot this season.
Last year was kind of weird since we didn’t participate in the preseason due to Visa issues. Some people arrived two days before our first game, which isn’t ideal (laughs). We didn’t really have time to bond in the off-season and joke around, it was always just practice, practice, practice. Then if we lost, everyone would just feel bad since we wouldn’t feel like a team. You blame yourself, you blame others, but now its different. There’s trust, and we dont blame each other anymore. We win and lose as a team.
Adam: Do you have any closing thoughts or goals for the season you’d like to share with our readers?
Boombox: The obvious goal is that we want to succeed where we failed last season, we want to win the entire season. Playing for a team representing an American city can be strange for many of us, except Elk, but the support that the American fans have given us is incredible.
We want to continue making them proud as their representatives and are going to work our hardest to surpass their expectations.