Move Over Reinhardt, There’s a New Protective Barrier-Wielding Tank in Town

Move Over Reinhardt, There’s a New Protective Barrier-Wielding Tank in Town

Overwatch offers a new barrier tank to compete with Reinhardt's massive shield.

Well, Overwatch’s newest hero is here, and they’re not Doomfist. Early this morning, the soothing voice of director Jeff Kaplan graced another Overwatch Developer Update to introduce Overwatch’s highly-anticipated 24th hero. This is our first real glimpse at Orisa, an OR-15 Omnic modified by young robotics genius Efi Oladele (whom was introduced in a blog interview in February) to be a symbol of hope and protection.

Orisa, it seems, is being positioned as an alternative to Reinhardt. Instead of a formidable hammer, she bares a machine gun called a "fusion driver." She wields protective barriers to block damage, and can toss out a Supercharger that boosts the damage of multiple allies at once (similar to Mercy’s boost, except multiplied). She’s also privy to an ability called Halt!, where she shoots a Zarya-style graviton charge that slows nearby enemies (and, Orisa’s charge can detonate). For a brief moment, Orisa can fortify herself, making damage inflicted reduced and nullifying action-impairing effects, seemingly like Ana’s sleep dart. In short, Orisa has a lot of abilities.

A solid team is often built around a Reinhardt (or a very, very good Zarya). According to the current competitive meta, he remains at the top of tier: an essential ally due to his widened shield and powerful hammer. If Orisa, with her multiple protective abilities, remains a strong ally with medium-range weaponry, it’s easy to see Reinhardt being edged out as the essential tank to anchor a team.

But it’s well-known that Overwatch has a tank-meta problem. All too often you’ll come across a team with the winning strategy: three tanks, three supports (with maybe a Soldier 76 thrown in somewhere). With another strong, more support-driven tank to join the ranks, it’ll be interesting to see where she falls not just in accordance to Reinhardt, but the other beefy tanks as well. As the tank-heavy meta has been slowly dropping, thanks to balance changes made to various characters over the months making other classes more viable, Orisa shows potential for complicating things.

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Personally, I’m a tank-y gal. Meaning, I pretty much only play tanks. I main D. Va and Roadhog; I dabble with Winston (easily the weakest tank) and Zarya. But as someone who is, to put it frankly, bad at playing as Reinhardt, I’m wondering if I’ll find more success with the longer-ranged weaponry of Orisa. Or if I don’t, if she’ll just fall to the wayside for other players to master. I guess we’ll see. Also, Orisa is currently in the PTR, available for testing.

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Caty McCarthy

Senior Editor

Caty McCarthy is a former freelance writer whose work has appeared in Kill Screen, VICE, The AV Club, Kotaku, Polygon, and IGN. When she's not blathering into a podcast mic, reading a book, or playing a billion video games at once, she's probably watching Terrace House or something. She is currently USgamer's Senior Editor.

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