Let’s be honest, everyone hates playing against the double shield team composition in every other Overwatch match. Even the pros have shown their distaste for playing this specific group of heroes, especially the main tank Orisa. Myeong-hwan “smurf” Yoo from the San Francisco Shock summed it up best in a recent tweet.
stuck in orisa jail again i am done
— Myeonghwan Yoo (@smurf_ow) July 30, 2020
Clearly constantly playing Orisa is not the most exciting thing a high level Overwatch player could be doing. Unfortunately the value that Orisa brings to the fight when paired with the off-tank Sigma is just too great to ignore if you’re trying to come up with a strong team. This is where the Overwatch term “double shield” comes from, if you couldn’t tell.
Orisa’s stronger yet static shield paired with Sigma’s more mobile shield allow for extremely durable protection and as a result, a very tanky meta. And this is without even mentioning Sigma’s Kinectic Grasp and Orisa’s Fortify which allow for even more damage to be mitigated. I also didn’t even mention how Orisa’s Halt and Sigma’s Accretion combo together so well for almost-guaranteed damage.
For the other four hero slots we have slightly more variability, in the damage pair more-so than the healers. If we look at the recent Countdown Cup Quarterfinals match between the Los Angeles Gladiators and the Philadelphia Fusion, the Fusion ran double shield in all three maps with a number of different dps heroes. Echo, McCree, Junkrat, and Symmetra all got some play time, but we saw Ashe and Genji used the most. Genji with the recent buffs is always a strong pick if you know how to play him, and Ashe is also very useful with consistent mid to long range damage and Dynamite. Both of these specific Overwatch heroes fit very well within the double shield meta, and therefore we see them used quite a lot at the professional level. Healers tend to be Baptiste and Brigitte, Bap for his Immortality Field and amplification matrix, and Brig mainly for her crowd controlling Shield Bash.
As you can see, these comps combine a small number of moving parts into an extremely effective machine. For anyone who has played against a competent double shield team, the bunker seems nigh unbreakable at times. So how the hell do we break it?
How to break the double shield
Keep in mind, this is all based off of high level pro play and more often than not requires a lot of coordination. It would work best if you have a group of friends to play with where you can be more cooperative and vocal about your strategies.
What we need to do is gain map control and cycle our ultimate usage. Ideally this should be done no matter what comp you’re running, but especially this one considering it’s a type of new-age dive comp. By gaining map control and forcing the opposing team to play in a certain area, we can more easily focus fire on selected targets and ideally get some picks off. Once our ults build up, we want to start cycling them and using them in conjunction with each other to keep control of the map, while using the off time to effectively build up more ult charge.
But what ults are we talking about?
Sombra, Genji, Winston, Zarya, Ana, Brigitte
This is a comp that I like to refer to as “new age dive.” It’s very similar to the dive composition that was used in earlier seasons of Overwatch League, but modified a little bit to adjust for newer changes. Our Winston player has the unfortunate duty of being the guinea pig at the beginning of the game, because he needs to get up close and personal with the shields in order to build ult charge and give our Zarya some power.
If the enemy team is playing very close together, it might be tough to get an early pick, but ideally the Genji and Sombra are harassing their back line constantly. If they get lucky and find an early pick off, that’s the cue to move in as a unit. If not, we play the waiting game for our Ana to build up her Nano Boost and apply it to the Winston, not the Genji. If the Winston hasn’t already gotten his ult charge by now, he definitely will when Nano’d.
At this point it’s up to the Winston to decide if they need to pop Primal Rage to further displace the double shield comp. Many Overwatch players dismiss this ult as ineffective in most situations, but against a very durable double shield, moving enemies around and away from each other is exactly what we need. At this point our Genji and Sombra should have been able to find a few kills in the cleanup, and hopefully they’ve charged their ults as well.
Once the point is in complete control, fighting off retake attempts can easily be done with a combo of EMP and Dragonblade. Cleaning up a hacked team will also allow for even more ult charge to be built for Winston, Ana, and Brig, which is where the ult cycling comes into play. Make sure to talk with your team and tell them how you plan to use your ults, because very few of them should be used reactively. As with any team composition, including playing and playing against double shield, planning is very important.
As for the heroes I haven’t mentioned, those being Zarya and Brig, their ult usage can be more flexible. Feel free to combo them in other ways that work better with the skill levels of your teammates. For example, if you have a Genji who doesn’t get a lot of kills normally but can Dragonblade well when supported, try using Brigitte’s Rally armor to give Genji more protection. If you have an enemy who is constantly harassing your back line and Brigitte’s Shield Bash isn’t enough to stop them, you could always commit an entire Graviton Surge to wipe them out and move forward into a six versus five fight. That may be slightly overkill, and you never want to waste a potentially game-winning ultimate, but in the heat of the moment you do what you have to do to win.
So, let’s recap everyone’s role in this composition.
You’re the backbone of this team. If you go down, it’ll be much harder for your team to do anything, so play very safe and only jump into a fight if you know you are well supported and have an escape route. Build your ult as fast as you can and utilize Zarya’s bubbles to stay in the thick of things longer. You’ll also be the target of Ana’s Nano Boosts. Once you get your Primal Rage, use it to displace and disorient. Have your team clean up the rest.
Your job is to support your Winston in his endeavors while also dealing a bit of damage. Save your bubbles for when Winston says he wants to jump in. Always keep an eye out for flankers and if someone starts harassing your Ana, maybe toss them a bubble too. Your Graviton Surge can be used when you see fit, or you can combo it with Ana’s Biotic Grenade to clean up a team easily.
What you need to do is Hack, and Hack a lot. Being an annoyance and building ult charge while doing it is imperative. Communicate a lot with your Genji, because you two will be comboing ults frequently. You can even play in the front lines if you find that you build your EMP faster there.
Play Genji how you are most comfortable playing him, either farming for Dragonblade, or picking off people from the side. In the double shield Overwatch meta however, it’s generally easier to just farm your ult and unleash hell once you get it. If you’re confident in your skills, dive in with your Winston and try to dash through as many people as possible for maximum efficiency.
Your job is only as hard as you make it. Ana will charge her ult very very fast in this comp since she’s the main healer, therefore you can Nano Boost Winston very often. Hit whatever Sleeps you can, and always keep an eye out for opportune Biotic Grenades, especially on the targets Winston dives.
The one word you need to remember is cooldowns. Watch yours and keep track of when you can use your abilities. Send a long range Repair Pack to a Genji who took a little too much damage on the front lines. Whipshot a defenseless healer off the side of the map, or away from a nearby teammate. And especially use your Shield Bash to either escape from danger, or Bash a flanker looking to kill your Ana. Even with the nerfs, Brig is powerful when you know how to use her.
If you need some more example of how these heroes are played, I’d suggest watching the quarter final match between the Seoul Dynasty and the Hangzhou Spark during the Countdown Cup. With their masterful use of the new age dive comp, the Spark were able to easily destroy the Dynasty.