How will the Genji changes impact the Overwatch meta?

Genji is getting some changes in Overwatch, and while not back to his old self, these nerfs may be enough to drastically change the meta going forward. Since June 16, nearly every part of Genji’s kit has been significantly buffed and as a result he has been a big presence in both regular competitive matches and high level Overwatch League matches.

In fact, the Genji changes came at the perfect time for the Paris Eternal, who had just signed an up and coming Genji specialist in Yeong-han “SP9RK1E” Kim. This signing and the timing of these changes were so perfect for the Eternal that it allowed them to complete the underdog run all the way to the championship of the Summer Showdown tournament. They were even able to upset teams like the San Francisco Shock and the Philadelphia Fusion, all thanks to SP9RK1E’s insane Genji plays.

Now that some of these changes are being reversed, we have to wonder if Genji will still be in the meta, and if a team like the Paris Eternal can still retain their top spot in the league. Let’s take a look at the patchnotes first. The June 16 Overwatch update saw a number of Genji changes make their way through, including the following:

  • Shuriken damage increased form 28 to 30
  • Secondary fire spread reduced from 12 to 9
  • Deflect duration increased from 1.5 to 2 seconds
  • Deflect can now be manually cancelled

These changes were frankly enormous, especially considering there haven’t been any major Genji changes like this in a very long time. The biggest Genji buff before this one was back in December, 2019, when Blizzard increased his ammo slightly. With all these changes at once, and the fact that Genji is a fan-favorite character, it’s no wonder his pick rate has shot through the roof over the past month.

Overwatch Genji

Pros were quick to pick up on how powerful the new Genji was, and he instantly made his way into the Overwatch League meta. As a spectator, watching high-level Genji play is substantially more entertaining than watching something like a double shield meta. The finals of the Summer Showdown were easily the most hyped and exciting matches to watch in recent memory, all thanks to these Genji buffs.

Genji today

As teams and players slowly began to get used to the Genji changes, counter compositions spung up to deal with them. As a result, while Genji is still played quite often, a Nano-blade isn’t quite the death sentence it was a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, nerfs are incoming, and they have definitely sparked some conversation.

  • Shuriken damage decreased from 30 to 28
  • Secondary fire recovery increased from 0.65 to 0.75

At first glance these changes don’t seem too bad; the damage is back to what is was, and the secondary fire recovery is actually reverted back to what it used to be a few months ago. Back in April when it was decreased, Genji’s pick rate didn’t see a huge increase, so we can conclude that’s not what brought him back into favor.

The damage might change a few things, but two of the biggest changes from June 16 remained: the increase to the Deflect duration, and the ability to cancel it. The Deflect buff allows Genji some protection when diving backlines. Previously, if you accidentally Deflected during a Dragonblade, you would have lost 1.5 valuable seconds of ultimate time. Now that’s no longer a problem.

Taking all of this into account, I still think we’ll see a lot of Genji moving forward, both in the higher competitive ladder, and on the Overwatch League stage.

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Stephen Lillis

Writer and Engineer from New Jersey who claims to be good at Lucio and Ana in Overwatch. Spends pretty much every weekend binging Overwatch League. Also a huge Persona/Metal Gear Solid/Silent Hill/Yakuza nerd. Will some day get the world record speedrun for P.T. I swear.
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