No, I’m not talking about quick play or diamond-ranked Overwatch games. At the height of GOATS meta dominance emerged what appeared to be a rebellion against the tank-heavy standard order. It comes in the form of four DPS — quad DPS composition — played with precision specifically to shut down the GOATS comp.
Quad DPS uses the space of wide, open maps to kite around Deathball compositions and pick enemies off with a flurry of burst damage. At a time when GOATS mirror matches were the standard on almost every map, fans loved the sudden inclusion of not one, but four DPS heroes.
It was map 4 of StormQuake’s 2018 Contenders Korea Season 3 match against GC Busan WAVE. Three down already, StormQuake didn’t have much to lose going into Route 66. That’s when it happened. The casters didn’t realize it at first, but they were running Hanzo, Pharah, Widowmaker, Sombra, Wrecking Ball, and Mercy. While the Hanzo later switched to Tracer, they forced GC Busan off GOATS and won the map.
While the comp actually originated from the Chinese team called Team For Victory (TFV) at the LanStory Cup, and O2 Team ran it unsuccessfully the day before, StormQuake’s match brought it to the forefront globally. It’d go on to be played across Overwatch Contenders China and Korea and even Season 2 of the Overwatch League.
Quad DPS of course requires four DPS, with the other two slots being occupied by a tank (usually Wrecking Ball) and a support (usually Mercy). The most common heroes used for the DPS are Hanzo, Pharah, Widowmaker, and Soldier 76. Quad DPS relies on having lots of space and long site lines to kite and poke the enemy Deathball. Having four DPS is just too much damage for GOATS to out-heal, even with the large health pools.
A Tracer can add significantly more burst damage potential to the team, at the expense of poke and arguably survivability. Genji can offer a similar but even more drastic tradeoff, with the main incentive being his Ultimate.
TFV originally ran a Sombra and Doomfist. Doomfist has become renowned as occasionally being played as a tank in the Chinese region, while Sombra’s EMP can completely shut GOATS down.
Some teams have opted to play a Winston or Orisa in place of the Wrecking Ball. Winston offers a more controlled way of isolating players at the expense of a significant amount of damage, while Orisa leans heavily on the poke aspect of the composition.
While quad DPS can be highly effective against GOATS, it falls apart the moment the other team switches to Dive. Spread out, and relying heavily on the other team’s lack of mobility, quad DPS quickly falls to the mobile Dive comp because it specializes in punishing isolation.
With GOATS usage decreasing in Stage 2 of the Overwatch League, quad DPS usage has naturally begun to drop off as well. That said, the composition will remain a check and balance should a tank-heavy comp ever become so dominant again.
I fell in love with Tomb Raider for the PS1 as a 4 year old and have gamed ever since. While I’ve meddled with the pro scenes of a couple games, I only really got invested with Overwatch for which I’ve been a pro player, coach and analyst in the tier 3 scene. Nowadays I mostly just play Overwatch, some Pdx Grand Strategies and R6 Siege but my favourite video game will forever be Star Wars Republic Commando. RIP Sev, you’ll always be remembered.
Disclosure: I’ve been a tournament admin and writer for The NUEL. While I am unlikely to cover the UK collegiate scene I still believe it important to disclose.